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Monday, May 20, 2024

Parents of Autistic Adults

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss the day-to-day challenges facing autistic people and their families.

Marsack-Topolewski, C.N., Samuel, P.S. Experiences of Parental Caregivers of Adults with Autism in Navigating the World of Employment. J Autism Dev Disord (2024).  Abstract:
Purposeparticularly for parent particularly for parents of loved ones with disabilities or health challenges, who need and/or want to be employed. This study describes the employment experiences of aging parents as they continue to balance engagement in the paid workforce with the ongoing provision of care for their adult children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The purpose of this study was to examine the lived experiences of parents of adult children with ASD in the context of balancing career and caregiving responsibilities.

The current study uses a qualitative phenomenological research approach to describe the lived experiences of 51 parents who were caring for an adult child with ASD. The parents participated in telephone interviews to obtain information about their career experiences while providing care and support to their adult children with ASD.

Three caregiving themes emerged including: (a) difficulty balancing caregiving with work responsibilities, (b) reasons for working, not working, or working intermittently, and (c) work as an escape or wanting to work more.

As more individuals with ASD reach adulthood, often relying to varying extents on their families for daily support, parental employment will continue to be impacted as they juggle their career with caregiving responsibilities. Economically, one or more family members typically need to work to sustain the family’s needs and employment support should be considered. As a society, families often need to make choices even with an adult child with ASD of who will work, how, and when.