Parents who care for children with a disability often result in stressful experiences. The families, in some cases become overwhelmed to the point that it affects the home and leads the family into serious crisis. This chapter will explore the lives of three (3) Jamaican families who have children diagnosed with autism. The chapter will also highlight the background to the study the rationale and research questions that guided the study. This chapter will conclude with the significant of the study and definition of important terms.
According to an online article entitled Effects of Autism on the Individual and their Family (2017) ‘parents with children who have a disability may experience more stress than parents of naturally developing children.’ The article further stated individuals with autism and their families are sometimes faced with a myriad of problems such as ‘loneliness, lack of friends, emptiness, few social activities, and little support are among the most common problems’ that they encounter. Some individuals on the autism spectrum (ASD) are also faced with challenges, including feeling accepted. Some of the challenges experienced by children with autism include the frustration of not being able to express how they feel, to having daily crippling anxiety and tantrum because they find it difficult to make sense of their environment. ‘While other individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families cope well with the additional challenges that autism brings, for many others the impact can be devastating.’
The article further stated that ‘children with autism commonly develop stress-reducing behaviours that can make them appear strange or unruly and they are judged by others for behaving ‘oddly’. In addition, the article stated that autism can ‘impact the family in a negative way,’ so that, the parents shun taking their children out to public spaces rather than having to deal with the reactions from people who are unaware to their situation. ‘This may not only cause children with autism but also their family to become confined to their home and isolated, which has a great effect on their social and emotional wellbeing.’
Download: Article on Autism by Jamaican Researcher