Special Challenges Faced by Mothers with ASD

Filmed at ACT’s 14th Annual Focus on Research Conference – April 4, 2018

This panel presentation and discussion provides a rare opportunity to better understand the perspective of autistic mothers who also have children with autism. These three mothers were each diagnosed as adults, after their children were diagnosed.

This presentation is introduced and moderated by Dr. Grace Iarocci, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Lab at Simon Fraser University. In addition, Julia Rose, a Child and Youth with Special Needs consultant, explains some of the resources available to families bringing up children with autism in British Columbia.

About the Panelists

blank Jennifer Branston is the mother of two children, a 24-year-old daughter and a 9-year-old son whom, until recently, she home-schooled. Jennifer received a diagnosis of ASD less than two years after her son was diagnosed.

blankKristy Tremblay discovered information about women on the spectrum when she was researching strategies to help support her son who had received a diagnosis. Ms. Tremblay was diagnosed in 2016. She lives in tkemlups (Kamloops), on unceded Secwepemc territory.

blankPam Palmer is a mother of four children, two of whom have a diagnosis of autism. She also received a formal diagnosis of autism after her children were diagnosed.

blank Julia Rose is a Children and Youth with Special Needs Consultant for Vancouver Island, with the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development. She has been in her position for the past 11 years and has prior experience in autism policy and front line social work. The role also involves advising the ministry’s provincial office; the autism funding branch, policy, practice and operations.

Part 1: Introduction by Dr. Grace Iarocci


Part 2: Jennifer Branston


Part 3: Kristy Tremblay


Part 4: Pam Palmer


Part 5: Julia Rose


Part 6: Question & Answer period

  • 01:30 – 03:39 : What can social and peer groups for children with autism do to help parents with autism enjoy those groups? 
  • 03:40 – 04:55: As a mother, have  you felt like you were treated differently because of your autism? 
  • 04:57 – 08:35: Did you find that your autistic characteristics came out more after having a child?   
  • 08:35 – 11:50 :  Where did you seek ASD diagnosis for yourself and what did that process look like?