The Thorn in the Dyad: A Vision on Parent-Child Relationship in Autism Spectrum Disorder


  • Teresa Del Bianco
  • Yagmur Ozturk
  • Ilaria Basadonne
  • Noemi Mazzoni
  • Paola Venuti


Parents and children form a family: their characteristics balance personal and family well-being with healthy levels of stress. Research on parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) demonstrated that higher levels of parental stress are associated with communication impairment, a core symptom of ASD. The aim of this article is to discuss the connection between non-verbal communication impairment and parental psychological distress, in families with children with ASD. The interaction between atypical communication and distress of parents likely determines a cascade effect on the parent-child dyad; in fact, it decreases the quality and frequency of interactions, preventing the establishment of a healthy parent-child relationship and leading to a series of collateral problems. To this perspective, guiding the parents to reframe their children’s atypical communicative behaviour can relieve parental stress and re-program the interactional routine. This observation stresses the importance of interventions centred on the dyad, especially during early development and soon after the diagnosis, when the communicative impairment may be extremely severe.