Making visible the lived experiences of mothers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Year: 2019

Author: Baird-Bate, Kirsten

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Purpose: This research explored the lived experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the effectiveness of photographic journaling as a reflective tool.

Method: Five mothers of children with ASD participated in this visual narrative study, each capturing daily photographs and engaging in a semi-structure interview. Both photographic and narrative data were thematically analysed. This is the first time this methodology has been used with this group.

Results:Child health/behaviour significantly influenced the maternal lived experience within the family; external systems; and the mothers’ own experience of wellness. Although maternal vulnerabilities were prevalent, the mothers showed agency.

Discussion: Nuanced insights from this research contribute towards understanding of ASD, provide strength-based perspectives on caregiving, and highlight the importance of family-centric policies.