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Health Services


Magdaline Aagard


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a form of developmental disability that affects many children in the U.S. and abroad. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has indicated that 1 out of every 68 children is diagnosed with ASD in the United States. However, there was limited literature about the attitudinal dispositions of Nigerian mothers toward children with ASD and their lived experiences with a child with autism. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the attitudes of Nigerian mothers toward their children with autism. The theoretical foundation of this study was the variation of the social relational understanding of disability propounded by Carol Thomas. The research questions that guided this study focused on the attitudes of Nigerian mothers toward their children with ASD and the lived experience of a Nigerian mother living with a child with autism. This study utilized the hermeneutic phenomenological approach to explore the lived experiences of 8 Nigerian mothers with children with autism. Semi-structured interviews were used to gather data from the participants. Data was coded, categorized and themes were identified through qualitative data analysis. Significant findings of this study included that ASD is a developmental disability and there was positive relationship between children with autism and their families. As such, the knowledge about ASD as a developmental disability and the warm relationship among families with children with autism should be extended to members of the community to increase awareness about ASD. This study's implication for social change is that it can assist governmental agencies and important stakeholders develop better programs and services that will help to increase awareness and strengthen positive dispositions toward children with autism.