The family of an autistic child

The family of an autistic child

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The autism it is a complex pathology of the brain that involves social, behavioral and language problems. Autism does not distinguish between social class or economic status. Any child can be affected by autism, an illness that impacts the family in many ways.

Autism is a disturbing enigma that affects both the child and the entire family. The care that an autistic child requires is very demanding on the child's family. Parents are exposed to multiple challenges, which have a strong impact on the family through emotional, economic and cultural level. Professional support can help deal with a child with autism. Experts can help parents manage behaviors. Caring for a child with autism can be comprehensive and frustrating. Unfortunately, not all families of an autistic child have access to these professional services, either due to lack of knowledge or financial resources.

The impact that the arrival of an autistic child has on the family is very great and has great consequences:

1. Mental health. Parents sometimes get depressed by the feeling of helplessness because we don't know where to turn.

2. Special education. Children with autism need special education and there are not always specialized centers that consider autism within the general guidelines of the educational system. This type of special education is best suited to help our children.

3. Expenses. Derived from invoices related to consultations with doctors, psychiatrists and speech therapists. Children with autism need a variety of language, physical, and occupational therapies to improve their independence and to develop their social patterns.

4. Medicines. Although there are medicines to treat autism, some drugs are used to help control symptoms.

5. Relationship with siblings. Siblings of children with autism suffer a lot because sometimes they feel like they are left out.

6. Relationship. Relationships go through severe tests and the result is a high divorce rate.

Autism affects the whole family. When parents try to describe their life with a child with autism, they use different terms such as: painful, annoying, difficult, normal, complicated, matures, disappointing and traumatic are some of the most common. The truth is that each family and within it, each member of the family, is affected by the autistic member in a different way.

The impact that autism produces, in addition to varying in families, and in the individuals that form them, changes according to the stage in which each one is. The effect of autism is similar to that of any other permanent disability in a family member, so there are aspects that are common to other disabilities.

Certainly having an autistic child can be one of the most devastating experiences for parents in particular, but also for other children. It subjects the family to serious stress and many of those who have managed to overcome it are now part of support groups where they share their experiences to help others face the greatest source of concern, which is the fear of the unknown.

Parents often feel bad about the diversity, intensity, and contradiction in their feelings about their autistic child and the situation in which they live. With effective help, these feelings can be channeled to assume them.

Each family faces this challenge in its own style. However, there are common elements that are worth highlighting, and that are usually presented at different stages. These are the four critical transition periods through which all families pass:

- Upon receiving the diagnosis
- During the school years
- In adolescence
- At maturity

Article submitted by:
Maria Theresa Abinader

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