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Parents’ use of complementary health approaches (CHA) for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are common despite the uncertain evidence of its benefit. Parents often adopt CHA due to dissatisfaction with conventional treatment. This study aimed to examine parents’ satisfaction with ASD treatment and their perception of progress in their child’s development. Parents’ use of CHA among children with ASD and the factors related were also evaluated.
Self-administered questionnaires were completed by 48 parents of children with ASD at a single tertiary referral hospital in Malaysia. Correlation analysis was used to explore associations between parental satisfaction scores, perception of progress scores and use of CHA.
Use of CHA was reported by parents for 35.4% of children with ASD in the sample. Parents who were less satisfied with conventional treatment and parents who perceived poorer progress in their child’s development were more likely to use CHA. Strong positive relationship was found between parent satisfaction with ASD treatment scores and parent perception of progress scores, which indicates that parents who were satisfied with treatment were more likely to perceive greater progress in their child’s development. Improvement in child’s progress was most appreciated by parents in their child’s behavior (85.5%), social skills (83.3%) and motor skills (77.1%).
The use of CHA was common among children with ASD. Parents were more likely to practice CHA when they were less satisfied with conventional treatment and perceived poorer progress. A larger multicenter study is required to further explore the practice of CHA among children with ASD throughout Malaysia.