The purpose of this qualitative research study was to understand a family’s experiences negotiating family daily life and the meanings they ascribed to these experiences when they had a child with severe autism. In-depth, semistructured interviews were conducted with five family units. The interviews explored the meaning of the family’s participation in daily life activities. The transcribed interviews were analyzed with a phenomenological method. The results emerging from this study indicate that families with children with severe autism may experience difficulty engaging in daily activities that hold positive meaning and rely on stringent patterns of routines that revolve around the child with autism to meet the demands of daily life.

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