The experiences of Hispanic families of children with autism spectrum disorder regarding physical activity

Luis Columna, Genesis Felizola, Laura Prieto, Beth Myers, Denzil Streete, Anita Lightburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Researchers seldom focus on the services needed for Hispanic children with ASD, especially in regard to physical activity (PA). Purpose: The purpose of this study was: (a) to explore why Hispanic families with children with ASD seek out and participate in PA, and (b) to describe the strategies and supports needed by Hispanic families of children with ASD to improve PA participation. Methods: Participants in this descriptive-qualitative study were Hispanic parents of children with ASD (n = 9) who participated in one-on-one semi-structured telephone interviews. Interviews were transcribed and then analyzed using thematic line-by-line analysis. Results: Two major themes emerged from the data: 1) Personal Responsibility and 2) “Every Day is a Different Challenge”. Parents were motivated to engage in PA because of perceived health benefits for themselves and their children. Parents faced famililal and external barriers that impacted their participation. Participants commented on the role of culture (e.g., customs, lack of family support after immigration) in the context of these barriers. Implications: Further research is needed regarding culturally responsive PA interventions for Hispanic families with children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103785
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Diversity
  • Hispanic families
  • Parents
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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