Experiences of Family Members of Children with Autism

The Open Nursing Journal 15 December 2021 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874434602115010367



Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by the change in the behavior-interaction-communication, with different levels of impairment.


This study aims to describe the experiences of family members of children with autism and discuss strategies to improve the quality of life of family members.


A descriptive, exploratory study with a qualitative approach was carried out in a self-help association for autism, located in the city of Teresina/PI, Brazil. Data collection took place in September and October 2019 through the application of a semi-structured interview. Eighteen (18) family members of children with autism in the Association of Friends of Autistic Individuals (AMA) participated in the study. Bardin’s content analysis was the technique used for data analysis.


The results showed experiences of negative feelings on the part of family members who lived with autistic children, such as frustration and pain, but also positive feelings of affection and dedication and state of neutrality. The daily life of family members involved the experience of difficulties due to the care of the autistic children, in addition to the lack of information regarding different cases of autism. Therefore, it is necessary to include family members and children in support networks with the objective of making them a part of society with the help of the multidisciplinary team.


The present research showed that the experiences of family members of children with autism are difficult at first, but with daily learning and interaction, they become rewarding. The study also reinforces the importance of team in the care of autistic children and highlighted the relevance of improving the family’s quality of life, which can also reflect on the quality of care of that individual.

Keywords: Autism, Family relations, Nursing, Autistic individuals, Autism spectrum disorder, Hypotheses.
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