Autism Spectrum Disorder and Maternal Employment Barriers: A Comprehensive Gender-Based Inquiry

  • Kimberly Maich
  • Adam W.J. Davies
  • Tayebeh Sohrabi

Abstract

This paper presents a systematic literature review of the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and maternal employment disruption in order to explore what mothers of these children do using a critical lens. Although a broad range of peer-reviewed scholarly publications exist on many topics related to ASD, specific family issues such as the potential employment challenges of the maternal employment of children with ASD, have been explored in less detail until recently. ASD has generated much discussion and research. We report the most recent data over the last decade.Through a comprehensive literature review, we identify a range of papers on the topic of ASD and parental employment disruption. This project, then, highlights relevant international Canadian and internationals research findings, including the United States, China, the United Kingdom (UK) and Sweden. The review and its critical commentary show how structures which act to exclude children with ASD cause parents to seek employment adjustments in order to manage their complex situations. Parents, especially mothers of children with ASD, have fewer employment opportunities. This situation has substantial economic impact on families. This trend extends beyond preschool child care as obtaining capable and reliable child care support is an ongoing issue that exists well into the school years—and beyond. Supportive, accommodating, and especially flexible employment situations make employment possible, at times, for mothers of children with ASD.

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