The Challenges in Raising Autistic Children: The Voices of Mothers

Hazlina Abdullah, Ratnawati Mohd-Asraf, Myra Aidrin Mohd Ali, Nursyuhada' Ab Wahab, Dini Farhana Baharudin


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is defined as a lifetime developmental disorder usually identified by social interaction impairment, communication deficits, and repetitive behaviour. The cases of children detected with ASD are rising globally, and this includes Malaysia. Parents, as the prime caregiver to these children, face numerous challenges due to what is entailed in taking care of their children. This paper describes a case study where we examined the views of three mothers, each of whom has an ASD child. Their insights were gained through face-to-face semi-structured interviews, after which the data were transcribed and analysed using the thematic analysis method. The mothers narrated that the challenges they encountered include the difficulty they had in initially accepting their child’s diagnosis; labelling and discrimination; phase-based temporal challenges; endless physical, emotional, and mental sacrifices; finding the strength and patience to deal with the situation; academic vs. non-academic struggles, and their own coping mechanisms. This paper concludes with implications for programmes and support for parents—specifically mothers—to enable them to overcome their challenges and allow them to focus on the development of their autistic children.


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); Autistic; mothers; challenges; problems


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