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Table 1 A brief overview of SOLACE

From: Stigma of living as an autism carer: a brief psycho-social support intervention (SOLACE). Study protocol for a randomised controlled feasibility study

Number Topic Theme Aim
1 Introduction Exploration of autism and autism stigma. Autism myths and stereotypes will be challenged through psychoeducation and a group discussion about common stereotypes. To make introductions and provide an overview of the sessions.
To increase knowledge about autism.
To reduce feelings of self-blame and increase self-esteem.
2 Coping with autism stigma Group discussions of experiences of stigma using quotes from other parents.
“How would you treat a friend” exercise.
To develop skills how to recognise and cope with stigma and to prevent internalising stigma.
3 Positive meaning of caregiving Video clips of parents of autistic children showing how having an autistic child has changed them. Group discussion based on that.
Free sharing time.
To increase the positive meaning associated with the caregiving role and increase self-compassion.
4 Resilience & self-esteem Group task to work together to find “key phrases and responses” to stigmatising situations. To increase resilience and increase self-esteem.
To reduce social isolation and increase feeling of belonging.
5 Social support Stress the importance of social support and discuss together how social support could be utilised and or improved. To stress the importance of social support to help reduce social isolation.
6 Compassion & acceptance Discuss the importance of self-care and self-compassion as well as acceptance of the child.
Use video clips of how other parents have achieved this.
To increase feelings of self-compassion and acceptance.
7 Coping with autism stigma part 2. Discuss the automatic thought cycle (self-fulfilling prophecy).
Group discussion on how we can break this cycle.
To further develop skills how to recognise and cope with stigma and prevent internalisation of stigma
8 Next steps Group discussions on how to disclose the diagnosis to others and to provide list of support for future. To further increase self-esteem and reduce social isolation To conclude the sessions and provide “next steps” for future reference
9 Focus group Group discussion evaluating SOLACE To evaluate the acceptability and practicality of SOLACE and the outcome measures.