Living and Dealing with Autistic Children: A Case Study of a Nigerian Family in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Pauline Ann Baba


Autism persists in isolated enclaves in many regions of the world.  It is a vexing and tenacious problem, but one that has generally been overlooked.  When brought to public attention, the disorder has usually been misdiagnosed, and the families with the autistic children have been held responsible for what is really society’s illness.  In seeking to understand the problem and its tenacity, we can derive important perspectives from the family and children who actually make up the category labeled “Autism Spectrum Disorder.” The purpose of this study is to examine how a Nigerian family is coping with Autistic Children.  Participant observation and semi-structured interviews were used to collect data.  The findings show seven key parental concerns and feelings: social stigma, readjustment of family plans, financial burden, and feeling of helplessness, fear of the future for children, fight for a cure, and a vision to create of an Autism Family Center. Contrary to expectations, I did not find much shame in the family. Implications of the findings for policy and future research are presented.


KEYWORDS: Autism, Autistic Child, Nigerian, Shame, Stigma, ASD

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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