Although stigma related to developmental disorders (DD) has been associated with poor mental health among caregivers, an in-depth understanding of factors that influence internalisation of stigma by caregivers is missing. The aim of our study was to explore perceptions and experiences of stigma among parents of children with DD in Ethiopia and examine the contributing and protective factors for internalised stigma based on the perspectives of the parents themselves. We conducted in-depth interviews with eighteen parents (fourteen mothers, four fathers) in Addis Ababa (between December 25, 2017 and January 8, 2018) and the rural town of Butajira (between August 08, 2018 and August 16, 2018). We analysed the data using thematic analysis. Parents perceived and experienced different forms of stigma that were directed towards their child (public stigma) and themselves (courtesy stigma). Some parents also described how they isolated themselves and their child from social life (affiliate stigma). Parents perceived the negative consequence of stigma on the lives of their child with DD, siblings and themselves. Most parents also described examples of positive reactions and support from their own family and the community. Participants' accounts suggested supportive contributions and positive responses from the general public came primarily from those who had better awareness of DD. Not all parents in our study internalised the stigma that was directed at them. Whilst perceived family support and acceptance and increased awareness about DD appeared to help some parents not to internalise stigma, the perceived lack of social support and acceptance made some parents vulnerable to internalised stigma. These findings can inform anti-stigma intervention priorities. Awareness-raising activities targeting the community as a whole as well as interventions targeting parents themselves are likely to be beneficial. Interventions should consider the wellbeing of the whole family unit rather than focus on individuals alone.