Kalumba Hellen Chalwe, Joseph Mandyata, Sophie Kasonde-Ng’andu


Parenting a child is a challenging experience let alone parenting a child with a disability. The nature of the disability in a child goes with its complexity and it often puts parenting skills to the test. This study explores the experiences on social interactions of parents with Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in selected compounds of Lusaka, Zambia. The study used an interpretative phenomenological framework supported by qualitative approach. In-depth interviews were used to collect data. Non-probability criterion purposive sampling procedure was used to select participants. The sample size comprised of 10 parents with children with ASD. Qualitative data was analyzed thematically. The study revealed that parents had unique experiences in raising their children with ASD. These included; inadequate information on ASD; lack of support services; miscommunications between parents and children with ASD; stigmatization; lack of adequate sleeping time and negative attitude towards parents and their children with ASD. It was evident from the study that parents require supportive services including counselling to enable them to deal with the complexities that emanate from parenting children with ASD. In view of these the study recommended increased awareness on ASD; development, promotion and regular evaluation of intervention strategies parents use aimed at improving the daily lives of parents and their children with ASD in the study sites.


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social interaction; parents; autistic spectrum disorder; lived experiences

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