Background: There has been a dramatic increase of Autism Spectrum Disorder around the world. However, little is known about the challenges of the parenting as a result of caring for autistic children. Greater knowledge is needed to understand the life experiences of parents with autistic children.
Methods: This study utilized a phenomenological methodology to explore experiences and challenge of parents with their autistic children in Nehemiah Autism Center, Addis Ababa. Data were captured using voice recorders, and field notes were transcribed verbatim from the Amharic languages into English language. A thematic analysis was used to extract common themes from the data collected.
Results: This study revealed the main challenges from pre-designed six themes and four emerged sub-themes. The themes are psychological, social, sibling, economical, marital and coping mechanism and sub-themes are stressed over the future of the child, Autism and financial crisis, parents as an intentional prisoner and we for each other.
Conclusion: This study revealed that the presence of an autistic child in a family has adverse effects. Parents having autistic children experience deep sadness, guilt, self-blame and depression. While others experience anger, helplessness and feelings of inadequacy. The financial resources required for the medical and therapeutic intervention lays heavy financial burden on families in several different ways.
Keywords: Autism, Parental Experience, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia