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Process Evaluation Sample: Autism Support for Parents

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Develop a process evaluation plan for a Autism Spectrum Disorders caregivers support group that includes the minimal elements listed below. Review the resource "Workbook for Designing a Process Evaluation" (Attached). The response should include peer reviewed references.

◦A description of the key program elements
◦A description of the strategies that the program uses to produce change
◦A description of the needs of the target population
◦An explanation of why a process evaluation is important for the program
◦A plan for building relationships with the staff and management
◦Broad questions to be answered by the process evaluation
◦Specific questions to be answered by the process evaluation
◦A plan for gathering and analyzing the information

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Process Evaluation Plan: Island Autism Moms and Dads & TACA

The Island Autism Moms and Dads (IAM), according to their blog (IAM, 2015), "is a group of Moms and Dads from Bainbridge Island, Washington, coming together to focus on hope, inspiration, perseverance, and support towards progress and recovery of our children with Autism. Our group was formed in October 2007. We meet once a month to talk, listen, learn, laugh and nurture hope." They are a local organization in the state of Washington associated with Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) which is an NGO (TACA, 2015), " dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism." Like TACA, IAM is a support group for aimed at helping families who have just recieved the diagnosis of autism for one or more of their children, to help them cope with the challenges as well as to help them find means and resources to cope with and speed up effective treatments. Additionally, they are also a source of support for families living with autism as through them, they connect families and professionals who can provide help and support by encouraging discourse, sharing of experiences and information aimed at bettering the quality of life not just for members of families suffering from autism but for their family members too.

IAM local blog - www.islandautismmoms.blogspot.com
TACA website - http://talkaboutcuringautism.org/

Program Elements and Strategies

This process evaluation plan, to get to the functionality of this particular framework of autism support will be looking at IAM as a local iteration of the support groups encouraged by, as well as embedded within the framework of TACA. This is because TACA's success at instigating relationships between parents of autistic children and organizations and resources that can help them is only successful if it reaches at grassroots level. In this case, it is the families either newly recieved with the diagnosis or families living with autism. Both these families need the support that TACA provides but is only achievable through self-organization in their local communities. In this way, the support that TACA provides is invigilated, spread, practiced and made available within their local organization so that they become a community that supports each of their members. In this manner, they can look to each for advice, assistance, advocacy, knowledge and access to resources for the varied challenges that they face as families living with autism and as parents caregiving for children with autism.

IAM is essentially a local affiliate that through TACA's support is able to access a world of resources. While IAM's program is simple enough - to gather monthly meetings for parents to talk and discuss their experiences (essentially, an iteration of group therapy)within their local area, by associating with TACA, they have access to all the resources TACA offers. These include Parent education events like Autism Learning Seminars, Special Education Law Lectures and Clinics and National TACA Autism Conferences (where topics like advocacy, medicine and treatment are talked about) which feature expert guest speakers from around the US. Through TACA, IAM also has access to a myriad of publications like the invaluable 'Autism Journey Guide' which is available to all new families within TACA (and subsequently IAM because they are affiliated), for free. This guide is essential as parents learn about autism intervention, therapies and ...

Solution Summary

The solution provides information, assistance and advise in tackling the task (see above) on the subject of process evaluation with a focus on autism support groups for families. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic.