Abstract: The number of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased dramatically over the past few decades in North America. Research suggests that parents of children with ASD have significantly higher levels of stress as compared to parents of children with other disabilities or parents of children with normal development. This article explores the parents’ stressors related especially to the diagnostic process revealed in four literature reviews, and the role of local churches in supporting these families to cope with the challenges and to find hope in their Christian faith.
Dr. Irene Cheung is the Consulting Pastor of Young Life Development Ministry in Richmond Hill Christian Community Church in Toronto, Canada. Having been Pastor-in-charge of this YLD Ministry for children and youth since 1997, she is now taking up the role as Director of Special Needs Ministry.