Families Living With a Child Diagnosed With Autism: Challenges And Coping Mechanisms

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Addis Ababa University


Families are facing a number of challenges in raising a child with developmental di sability. Though there are di fferent types of developmental di sabilities, auti sm is one of the most important developmental di sabilities to be studied. The fun ctional family system is experiencing a challenging situation due caring a child with auti sm whi ch fu rther affects family members an d the community at large. The main objective of th is study is to understand the challenges in re lation to psychological, social, economic, marital and sibling aspects and coping mechani sm of fa milies living with a child diagnosed with auti sm. A qualitative approach parti cularly a case study was used in thi s study. The tool for collecting primary data was in depth interview to gather deta il information about family challenges. Six families whose children are enrolled at Joy Center for Children with Auti sm and Related Developmenta l Disorder were involved in the stud y. Finding of the study was analyzed using fin ding of case study with thematic areas. The finding from the study confirm ed that study participant famili es living with a child di agnosed with autism are fac ing psychological, social, and economi c challenges. Stress, anxiety, soc ial iso lation, discrimination, limitation in labor market participation and financial burdens are the main challenges. Families have employed various coping mechani sms to minimize the magnitude of these challenges. In addition, the result of the find ing has implication to social work practice. Prov ision of psychosocial support and awareness creation has to be addressed with different stakeholders in health and social sector. In addition, research works in the area of di sabilities particul arl y auti sm has to be encouraged. Key words: Challenges, Coping Mechani sms, Families, Psychosocial support



Challenges, Coping Mechani sms, Families, Psychosocial support