The experiences of mothers of children with autism: Managing multiple roles
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Background: Mothers of children with autism experience poorer health and wellbeing compared to mothers of children with other disabilities or typically-developing children. This qualitative phenomenological study aimed to explore the daily life experiences of mothers of children with autism, and the strategies they use to manage their roles, their emotions, and their child’s behaviours. Method: In-depth interviews were conducted with 7 mothers and the data were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Results: Findings revealed that the mothers were challenged by the demands of their multiple roles while dealing with the paradox of accepting their child for who they were, and at the same time also desiring their typical growth and development. However, the mothers reported various strategies they used to manage their roles, their emotions, and their child’s behaviours. Conclusions: The findings indicate that health professionals working with these families must support mothers in managing various aspects of their lives, including those not directly related to their child with autism.
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