Edith Cowan University
Autism is a complex developmental disorder that currently affects 1 in every 110 Australian children. Research indicates that raising an individual with such a disorder can be very psychologically and physically demanding and that parents need to be fully supported during this time. Despite such evidence however, it would appear that very limited studies have been conducted to determine whether this support is actually being provided. This purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions of parents raising an adolescent with low-functioning autism with regards to the support which they currently received from a.) The government and b.) The school in which their child is enrolled. Results suggested that for many parents, support from the government in particular was virtually non-existent and that this did indeed take its toll on their well-being. Results also indicated that a lack of financial assistance and information often left parents feeling isolated, guilty, and fearful, resulting in identity issues. The importance of hope at the onset of diagnosis was also considered, with implications being found for the ability of parents to cope and hence how they approached their role as a carer.