Reactions, Challenges and Coping Mechanisms of Mothers Raising Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): the Case of Addis Ababa City

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Addis Ababa University


Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex neurological disorder which causes impairments in multiple areas of development including social interaction, communication, and behavior. There is clear evidence that parents of children with autism face many challenges in dealing with their children‟s difficult behaviors that can lead to negative psychological outcomes, including exhaustion, stress and depression. Moreover, it is evident that parents encounter social challenges such as problems on family relationship and lack of understanding attached to the disorder by society that lead to discrimination not only of the autistic child but also of the family as a whole. However, despite the many challenges parents of children with autism usually identify coping strategies that will work for them. This study therefore aims to explore the lived experiences of mothers raising children diagnosed with autism on the psychological and social challenges they faced as well as coping mechanisms they found effective in dealing with those challenges. A qualitative phenomenological research design guided the data collection and analysis which included six deep interviews that were recorded. The results that were conceptualized under the four research questions containing fourteen themes indicate that raising a child with autism is characterized by many psychological and social challenges such as mothers lack of information and support during the time of diagnosis, worry about child‟s future, stress from managing a child with autism, not having a time for oneself, effect on family, difficulty finding education and treatment for their children and lack of understanding followed by negative comments from the society



Addis Ababa City