Listening and hearing the voices of parents with children with autism : a phenomenological study

Nicole Perez, California State University, Monterey Bay

Thesis (M.A.) Teacher Education Department


This study describes the experiences of parents who have a child with autism. Four themes emerged from a thematic analysis of in depth interviews with eight parents. All the parents interviewed experienced a sense of isolation which often manifested itself in a reluctance to participate in social events. Also, the advent of having a child with autism impacted families in different ways, however variably all the parents described feeling overwhelmed due to the demands associated with services and care for their child. Lack of support from family, friends and school districts was noted. The study points out that it is necessary to provide continuous opportunities for parents to engage with others who have experienced the same phenomenon in order to share experiences and feel connected to one another.