Original Research

Lived experiences of caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder in Kenya

Lizahn G. Cloete, Evans O. Obaigwa
African Journal of Disability | Vol 8 | a435 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v8i0.435 | © 2019 Lizahn G. Cloete, Evans O. Obaigwa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 September 2017 | Published: 25 April 2019

About the author(s)

Lizahn G. Cloete, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Evans O. Obaigwa, Department of Interdisciplinary Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, Kenya


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Abstract

Background: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a global public health concern. In African countries such as Kenya, there is a greater need for establishing support services for developmental disorders such as ASD. The emotional, social and economic burden of ASD on caregivers is unknown because of a number of challenges. Citizens of Kenya have a unique view of disability and inclusion.

Objectives: To explore the perspectives of caregivers who are responsible for caring for both family and children living with ASD and to highlight the needs of children with ASD as well as the needs of their caregivers.

Method: A qualitative, descriptive phenomenological study utilising focus group discussions (FGDs) was conducted. Verbatim transcription was used. QSR N ’Vivo 10 was used to organise and analyse the data. Content analysis was used to identify important ideas and concepts.

Results: One theme, namely ‘the burden of caring for children with ASD’, was identified. Children with ASD and their caregivers experience isolation and stigmatisation.

Conclusion: Occupational therapists in Kenya should collaborate with the relevant national and global stakeholders for the promotion of the inclusion of children with ASD and their families. Responsive and context-appropriate occupational therapy interventions may begin to address service barriers.


Keywords

autism spectrum disorder; children; needs of caregivers; context-appropriate services

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