Kirsten Baird-Bate

Making visible the lived experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Purpose: This research explored the lived experiences of mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the effectiveness of photographic journaling as a reflective tool.

Methods: 5 mothers of children with ASD participated in this visual narrative study, each capturing daily photographs and engaging in a semi-structure interview. Both photographic and narrative data were thematically analysed.

Results: Child health/behaviour significantly influenced the maternal lived experience within the family; external systems; and the mothers’ own experience of wellness. Although maternal vulnerabilities are prevalent, the mothers showed agency. Nuanced insights from this research contribute towards understanding of ASD, provide strength-based perspectives on caregiving, and highlight the importance of family-centric policies.

Principal Supervisor: Dr Lyndal O’Gorman

Associate Supervisor: A/Prof Beth Saggers