Abstract. Qualitative studies that involved the parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders tend to focus on the adaptation efforts of parents after learning of the diagnosis and their experiences at the time. Identifying experiences that are associated with their child’s ASD and the factors that affect their experiences are important to determine the needs of parents who have children with ASD. The present study uses a meta-synthesis method in a review of qualitative studies to investigate the experiences of parents of children with ASD, with the aim to identify common conclusions. The present study makes a review of 18 studies, selected from national and international literature and published between 2008 and 2017, that met the criteria of the study. All of the studies adopted a phenomenology pattern as a qualitative research method to investigate the life experiences of parents of children with ASD, and an overall assessment of the reviewed studies revealed the following four salient themes: the effects of cultural differences on experiences, coping strategies, labeling and advocacy. Further research may focus on such factors as culture and advocacy, both of which influence the parental experience.
Keywords: Autism spectrum disorder, family, life experience, phenomenology, meta-synthesis.