Barriers and facilitators to accessibility, continuity, validity, flexibility, and provider-family relationship along the diagnostic pathway in developmental disabilities

Mélina Rivard, Marjorie Morin, Corinne Rochefort, Diane Morin, Catherine Mello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parents of children with developmental disabilities must navigate a complex network to obtain a diagnosis and interventions for their child. However, their subjective experience of this journey has yet to be analyzed through the lens of a theorical framework that could support research, organizational program evaluation, and facilitate providers’ reflection on how to enhance families’ diagnostic services trajectory. Aims: This study sought to examine the diagnostic journey as experienced by 77 parents whose children were recently diagnosed with developmental disabilities (e.g., autism, intellectual disability) in the metropolitan area of Montréal, Québec (Canada). Methods and procedures: A mixed qualitative content analysis approach was used to describe their perspective on barriers and facilitators in reference to the five dimensions of the Evaluation of the Trajectory Autism for Parents (ETAP) model (Rivard et al., 2020): accessibility, continuity, validity, flexibility, and provider-family relationship. Outcomes and results: The barriers and facilitators related to systemic factors identified by parents were consistent with the five dimensions outlined by the ETAP model. However, beyond these characteristics of the service delivery system, parents additionally identified their own, personal facilitators Conclusions and implications: This study supports the relevance of the ETAP framework to understanding the experience of families seeking a diagnosis. It also reinforces the potential contributions of this model to organize extant and future research as well as structure program evaluation and improvements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104570
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Aug 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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