Parenting and Educating Children with Autism: Lived Experiences of Lusaka Parents - Zambia

  • Lillian Wonani Kwame Nkrumah University, Kabwe; Zambia
  • Kenneth Kapalu Muzata The University of Zambia, School of Education, Department of Educational Psychology, Sociology and Special Education
Keywords: Autism, Parents, Learners, Children, Roles, Lived experiences


This study sought to establish lived experiences and roles of Lusaka parents in the education of their children with autism. The study employed the qualitative paradigm and the research design used was Phenomenology. The objectives of this study were; to establish parents’ lived experiences in the education of their children with autism, to establish teachers’ views about parents’ participation in the education of their children with autism and to find out parents’ roles in the education of their children with autism. The sample for this study comprised of 20 participants, consisting of 10 parents of children with autism and 10 teachers. Parents were the main target sample while teachers complemented the sample as informers to enrich the data in this study. Purposive sampling procedure was used to select the participants. The study established different experiences of parents of children with autism. Parents suffered frustration, stigmatization, embarrassment and psychological stress in the upbringing of their children with autism. It was also revealed that with support from the community, experiences of parents in educating their children would be seen to be less stressful and encouraging. Further, the study reveals that some parents did not actively participate in the education of their children with autism, limiting their roles to helping in homework, taking their children to school and buying the children books. A few parents that were engaged in the education of their children gained confidence and satisfaction of their role. Based on the study findings it was recommended that, schools should link parents to support groups where they acquire knowledge and skills to manage unusual behaviors of their children with autism, community sensitization about the negative attitudes towards parents and children with autism needs to be carried out, thus emphasis on laws against stigmatization should be made clear to members of the community and that the Ministry of General Education in Zambia through schools with learners with autism should embark on sensitization of parents about the roles in the education of their children with autism.


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