Autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) is a group of developmental disorders characterized by significant challenges in socialization, communication, and behaviour. Unlike many other chronic illnesses, ASD proves to be a difficult disorder for parents to cope with. Nonetheless not many studies have been conducted in the area, particularly focusing on single parents. This study aimed to add to this limited literature by extending the exploration to include experiences of all types of single parents in raising children diagnosed with autism in a South African context, specifically in Pretoria. A semi-structured interview schedule was used to collect data from six purposefully sampled mothers, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. The results revealed that participants were unaware of what the diagnosis of ASD meant for their children, and thus took it upon themselves to research and understand. Some of the challenges that single parents have had to face are the financial implications, behavioural problems as well as stigma. The single parents in this study showed resilience, as they were able to use resources that are available to them. Being a single parent to a child diagnosed with ASD has caused parents to adjust their lives to ensure that their child is given the biggest priority.
Mini Dissertation (MA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.