The Lived Experiences of Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
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This study examines the lived experience of parents who have a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The rise in the number of children diagnosed with ASD means that more parents may be adversely affected. This study chose a descriptive phenomenological design to study the phenomena around the lived experiences of these parents. This study recruited ten Canadian participants. Inclusion criteria for being selected were that the participant needed to be over the age of eighteen and the child needed to have a formal diagnosis of ASD by a health care professional. The researcher collected data through a semi-structured interview, in which participants were audio recorded. The data were processed through the software NVivo to generate transcripts. Four themes emerged from the data: participants felt a lack of support from informal and formal supports; grief over their child’s diagnosis; the stigma around the diagnosis; and poor mental health. This study is important as it can aid clinicians, social workers, and other health professionals to better support parents who have children with ASD, as the research provides deeper insight into the lived experience of parents who have children diagnosed with ASD.