RAISING AN AUTISTIC CHILD: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY OF PAKISTANI MOTHERS

Main Article Content

Sadia Mushtaq
Sadaf Arif
Farheen Anjum
Rabia Mir
Kamran Shahzad
Mehwish Siddiqui

Keywords

Autism, Parenting, Challenges, Diagnosis, Treatment, Behavioral issues

Abstract

Parenting a kid with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex set of challenges for women, including concerns about behavioral and mental issues, and social stigma. The prevalence of ASD is widespread in Pakistan and its management is mostly overlooked. This phenomenological study seeks to investigate and comprehend the daily life experiences of mothers raising children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The data is collected using semi-structured interviews. The sample size (N=10) is determined by achieving of saturation. The finding highlight four main themes, includes, Pre-Diagnosis Concerns, Reaction after Diagnosis, Challenges of Parenting, and Positive Aspect of Pakistani Culture. The theme of Pre-Diagnosis Concerns encompasses three distinct subthemes consisting of Pre-Diagnosis Maternal Recognition, Behavioral Observations and Knowledge Gaps. This theme explores the interplay between maternal instincts, observable behaviors of child with ASD, and the gaps in understanding the diagnosis process, offering valuable insights into early detection and intervention strategies. The second theme “Reaction towards Diagnosis” incudes subthemes of Delay in Diagnosis, Reaction to Diagnosis and Hunting for Management Assistance. This aspect explains the reactions and behaviors of parental of children with ASD engage in after receiving a diagnosis, illuminating the proactive, emotional, and temporal aspects of the diagnostic process. The third theme “Challenges of Parenting” includes Sacrifices and Struggles of Mothers, Financial Strain, Treatment Services, Social Stigma, Rejection from Family, Treatment services, and Positive Aspect of Pakistani Culture. This theme describes the range of obstacles encountered by parents of child with ASD. The forth theme “Positive Aspect of Pakistani Culture” include subthemes of Support from family members and Support from Spouse. This highlights deeply embedded Pakistani society norms and shed light on the strong networks of family and spouse that is a great support and encourage resiliency and unity in the face of adversity. Pakistani mothers who have children with ASD experience a variety of problems, including physical, psychological, emotional, and social difficulties, as well as a lack of specialist resources. Identifying their specific issues and requirements is critical for assisting them, providing appropriate services and resources, and developing rules and guidelines for culturally competent quality services.

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