Autism does not only affect the individual who gets a diagnosis because it also impacts the family profoundly. Usually, the unit seems unprepared for the diagnosis of autism. That’s because it changes the direction of the family’s life in a way that they somehow can’t handle and imagine.
While there’s no substitute for professional, high-quality early intervention, we know that parent involvement is critical to ensuring that children with autism achieve their potential. In other words, there’s a lot you can do to help your child. — Lauren Elder, Ph.D.
Common Challenges For Families Affected By Autism
Strain On The Marriage – Assisting someone with autism can put pressure on a marriage because of its unusual state to live in. There are times that couples tend to experience exhaustion at the same time that leads to stress and depression. With those factors, both partners end up having a miscommunication, losing cooperation, and start blaming each other for the situation.
Balancing Attention With Siblings – Taking care of kids is not an easy task. And knowing that someone needs more attention than the other can sometimes become very frustrating. That’s because an autistic child can grow very aggressive towards his siblings. From there, parents have to control physical and emotional impacts that the behavior might provide. An autistic child doesn’t put attention on what they are doing, and even if they try and hurt someone, it’s never going to be their fault.
After you say his name, quickly tap him on his shoulder or gently lift his head to face you. I recommend against requiring direct eye contact, as it can be truly uncomfortable for some people affected by autism. — Kenneth Shamlian, Psy.D.
Interaction Problem In The Family – An autistic child needs support regarding communication. Sometimes, it becomes hard to develop a relationship with other siblings because of not having anything in common. In some unfortunate events, some families hesitate on taking part in the autistic child’s life. They don’t seem to like partaking on leisure and family activities such as community outings or going to the beach. Sometimes, even going to the grocery store becomes an issue due to an embarrassing behavior that is part of having an autistic child.
Lots Of New Responsibilities – Having an autistic child, a family suffers from tons of responsibilities and appointments it needs to juggle. The whole unit might get overwhelmed with the new and ever-changing information they have to discover and learn each day. There are difficult choices they have to make, adjustments they have no control over with, and behaviors they need to consider. Since most families see autism as a puzzle, everything feels like putting pieces all together even if it does not fit and seems impossible to handle.
Sensitivity Issues – Working positively with family members is vital in assisting a child with autism. Because sometimes the smallest issue turns out big due to over sensitivity. Most families become focus on looking at the imperfections of raising an autistic child. It becomes a problem for all the members of the unit, especially if other people point at the condition. And since the family needs to deal with the situation 24/7, it impacts aspects such as relationship, responsibilities, priorities, engagements, and communication, and social interaction.
With autism prevalence increasing, it’s clearer than ever that our nation as a whole needs to become engaged in overcoming obstacles to vital services that can improve outcomes. — Michael Rosanoff, M.P.H.
A Valued Assistance – A family needs assistance in handling an autistic child. But sometimes, it’s not that easy to have it. The help they can get is temporarily part of their lives, but the situation they are at is going to be part of them forever. With that, the unit still handles everything and continues to care for the child seven days a week. The weight of the challenges and responsibilities for the family with is often irresistible that they require professional assistance.
Emotional And Mental Instability – Families who take so much responsibility in dealing with an autistic child becomes emotionally and mentally unstable. For them, the bad days of their lives grow over the top. Though frequent bad behavioral encounter sometimes makes the family get used to the situation, there are still some instances that they almost want to give up. In some unfortunate events, the bad circumstances outweigh the good ones.
Not Everyone Understands The Situation – Yes, a family may get used to doing the things they need to do every day considering their situation. However, not all members of the family can easily understand it. Couples may see it as a determining factor of responsibility and priority, while others don’t seem to care. Some family members might not cooperate, and it may lead to severe unit dysfunction. With that, the whole point of taking care of an autistic child becomes more weary and depressing.
Societal Judgment – Though in some instances the problem gets resolved in many ways, there are still some parts of the society that doesn’t want to deal with the situation directly. That’s because in other people’s point of view, assisting an autistic child is depressing due to its life-long responsibilities. They somehow feel scared and hesitant to get attached to their situation.
The love and care of the family overcome the many challenges they take. Many of them also find help, hope, and acceptance in the situation of having an autistic child. The unit embraces and accepts the differences in their lives because they know they are still blessed. And even if there are only limited choices, most families’ wouldn’t trade their situation for anything in the world.