Chinese caregivers’ attitudes towards ABA-based interventions for their autistic children: a qualitative exploration

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Objectives: Interventions based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are increasingly used for autistic children in China. However, there is limited knowledge about the attitudes of Chinese caregivers towards ABA-based interventions and their lived experiences. This study aims to preliminarily investigate caregiver experience and perceptions regarding ABA-based interventions through a phenomenological approach. Methods: Eight Chinese caregivers of autistic children were interviewed to understand their attitudes towards and experiences of ABA-based interventions. Half of the caregivers’ autistic children were receiving ABA-based interventions, while the other half’s autistic children previously received ABA-based interventions. Results: Five major themes were identified through analysis: 1) The beginning and termination of ABA-based interventions; 2) Mixed experiences of ABA-based interventions; 3) The high cost of ABA-based interventions; 4) The involvement of caregivers in ABA-based interventions; 5) Thoughts regarding ideal ABA-based interventions in future China. Both caregiver groups shared positive and negative experiences related to ABA-based interventions. Caregivers expressed concern regarding the quality, accessibility, and sustainability of ABA-based interventions in their communities and the country. Conclusions: Implications for policymakers, service providers, and caregivers are discussed: 1) Enhancing the professional workforce for ABA-based interventions; 2) Empowering advocacy and navigating culture; 3) Optimizing the distribution of ABA resources in China; 4) Developing caregiver training and family-centered ABA-based interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Disabilities
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The British Society of Developmental Disabilities.


  • Chinese caregivers
  • applied behavior analysis
  • autism
  • intervention


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