It’s always a challenge to make new friends. The process of making friends involves reading certain situations, body language, and at the same time, facial expressions. While this is tricky enough to navigate for most people, it is even more of a challenge for a child with autism.
Most kids experience anxiety as part of their development, but for children and teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the anxious feelings and coping behaviors can be even more intense than what other children experience. Recognizing the symptoms of an anxiety attack can be helpful in managing these feelings.
Many things can change a marriage. Some of these are for the better while some are for the worse. The changes that may come in your married life can affect the marital union only if you allow them to. This is why it is essential to have the proper mindset when it comes to handling these changes. Keep in mind that these are inevitable, which means that there is nothing that you could do to prevent it from happening. As such, you now must see to it that you are prepared for whatever may come your way.
Having a child with an autism spectrum disorder or ASD can be stressful for both the husband and wife. In fact, this kind of mental condition may lead to turmoil in the marital union. According to a recent study, one of the many reasons why marriages end up in divorce is because of the failure of the parents to settle conflicts or indifferences arising from the mental health of their children. Just because it is happening it doesn’t mean that you will also be a part of this number. Luckily, you still have a chance to make your marriage last despite the existence of your child’s ASD.
Parenting is a complete struggle, especially if you have a child who has a mental condition such as autism spectrum disorder. It is difficult to balance your work at home and your work in the office. At the same time, it is also challenging to handle the tantrums and other effects brought by the disorder. One of the reasons why you are probably experiencing difficulty in raising your child is the lack of the essential information about his condition. Unfortunately, there are a significant number of parents who have not fully understood what autism means and how it can affect the lives of their kids.
One of the several issues concerning kids with autism is their education. A common misconception is that these kids are incapable of going to school. The truth is contrary to this because autistic individuals are more in need of going to an educational institution. They have to learn in a special school, most importantly when it comes to proper behavior and the use of languages for communication. A lot of therapists recommend parents to ensure that their kids with autism should attend academic classes. These are the reasons why you must send your child to school notwithstanding his autism:
It Can Help Him Develop Their Interpersonal Skills
At this point, you are probably well aware that your little one struggles in building relationships with others. The reason behind this is that he has low interpersonal skills, usually brought about by his disorder. Sending him to a school wherein his classmates also have special needs will help your child improve the way he looks at relationships. He will feel more comfortable in connecting with others, once he realizes that many other kids are just like him. “Rather than focusing on weaknesses, find ways to assist your child in developing to his or her full potential. When encouraged, children will acquire talents to compensate for any deficiencies.” Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT explains.
His Teachers Can Teach Him A Lot Of Lessons
It is a fact that you can teach your child without the assistance of others. You can simply find the books or materials for your lectures. However, you also need to accept the fact that you are not equipped with the necessary skills on how to engage in special education. As such, you may experience several challenges when it comes to teaching your kid about the things they need to know. Save yourself from some trouble by enrolling him in a school for children with mental conditions.
You Can Save More Time
Another advantage of sending your beloved kid to a special school is that you get to spend more time with yourself. Take note that you also need to prioritize your well-being. Learn how to take a break by trusting your kid’s teacher that he can provide care for your little one while he is within the school facility. While your kid is at the school, you can go to work with peace of mind or attend special events with some friends. Remember that all teachers in special needs schools are equipped with knowledge and expertise in dealing with kids who are diagnosed with certain mental conditions. But of course, Francyne Zeltser, Psy.D. still insists that “what’s more important than the quantity of time you spend with your kids is the quality of the time you do have together.”
“You know your children best. Doctors, teachers, therapists are all fantastic resources but if you don’t feel like you’re being heard, or your child’s needs are being met, it’s very reasonable to get a second opinion. Don’t be afraid to fight for your child and their needs. While the professionals are experts in their areas, you are the expert on your child.” Dr. Darla Clayton, PsyD said. Your kid deserves to learn new things and to get out of the house once in a while. Let him attend classes. It will be highly beneficial for his condition.
Dealing with autism can be difficult on your part, especially if you are not familiar with the proper ways on how to do it. You will experience a lot of challenges and demands when it comes to making your child understand certain things and allowing him to function in society. This is the reason why you need to get some help and assistance from medical professionals. You cannot just rely on your knowledge and skills about autism spectrum disorder. It is also necessary to find a psychiatrist who could look into your kids’ mental condition.
“Sometimes a child with ADD may be incorrectly diagnosed with a behavioral problem or a developmental disorder. It is vital that in the first step of treatment, your child or teen receives a reliable diagnosis from a child mental health specialist, such as a child psychologist or child psychiatrist.” –John M. Grohol, Psy.D
The next inquiry to ask is when is the right time to bring your kid to a psychiatrist is? Is there a specific set of events that must occur first before seeking professional help? Should you wait for a certain number of years before visiting the office of a health practitioner? Below are some of the red flags that indicate the need to get with a psychiatrist as soon as possible:
- Constant Loss Of Control. Once you notice that your child with autism starts to have increased episodes wherein he loses control, the right thing to do is to set an appointment with a doctor. This is ideal so that the doctor could look into the factors causing the episodes and how to treat them.
- Development Of Aggression Against Others. “People with ASD can have problems controlling their aggression and says it is not uncommon for these clients, sometimes including adults, to pull her hair or scratch her arms.” Stephanie Smigiel, LPC said. Do not wait for your child to hurt his friends or family members. If you notice that your kid has turned aggressive, be sure to call a psychiatrist right away. The longer you prolong the meeting with the doctor, the more dangerous it is on the part of your kid.
- Verbal Escalation. When your child has begun to act strangely by making uncontrollable screams, the next step to do is to seek help from a medical professional. Always remember that being verbally abusive and inappropriate is not healthy for the child. With the help of a psychiatrist, you can teach the child how to decrease his screams.
- Influx Of Concerns From Teachers. Sending your child to school is good for his condition. Make sure that you are in constant communication with the teacher to monitor your child’s performance or behavior at school. If the teachers have raised concerns and problems with your kids at home, do not hesitate to contact a psychiatrist. Keep in mind that further help may be required to handle the situation.
- Increased Fears. “Fear makes us feel alive and know we are stepping outside our comfort zones, which is exciting,” says Steve Orma, PsyD, a clinical psychologist. But if your beloved child starts to act weird because of his fears for things or people, find a way to address it immediately. Do not wait for the situation to get worse. Contact a psychiatrist in the local community so that you can discuss the condition of your child. The earlier you do this, the better it is for your child’s mental health.
Whether you like it or not, the help and assistance of a medical doctor or psychiatrist are essential for the well being of your child. Learn how to find the right health practitioner who will handle the case of your kid. As much as possible, avoid switching doctors to prevent a mix-up of records and errors in treatment plans.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a mental health condition characterized by difficulty with communication and social behavior. This article discusses common misconceptions about it, what are its causes, and whether or not autism can be treated. Also, let’s understand other forms of treatments for autism.
Discussion About Treatments For Autism
One common misconception is that people with autism are unable to perform a lot of functions. This is wrong. Individuals with autism have different limitations. Because of this, it is essential to have therapies for ASD on a case-to-case basis.
When the condition was presented in 1940, Hans Asperger, a Viennese pediatrician described it as having a mild autism-like disorder characterized by social and communication difficulties most commonly affected are boys having average intellectual skills and speech development.
From DSM-IV TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition (Text Revision), the condition was accepted as a standalone diagnosis for children with problems in nonverbal behaviors, specifically the eye-to-eye connection, facial expression, body positioning to promote social interaction. Came the present DSM-5 and the new description of Asperger’s is now highlighted as Social Communication Disorder.
“It is important to note that the intention is to first understand the person with autism, to join with them, and then to help them modify their communication in a way so that repetitive restrictive behaviors can become channeled, the nervous system can settle, and social engagement can begin.” –Christina Devereaux Ph.D, BC-DMT
In the most common layman’s term, children with Asperger’s are called “geeks” due to the high-level functioning of their IQ. This quality is sometimes considered a detrimental factor rather than an asset to some school environment as evidenced by increased rates of bullying.
People with this kind of condition have normal to a superior range of IQ, unlike persons with autism who have manifested delays in intellectual skill as early as the age of 2.
The Autism Society mentioned that there had not been a delay in language development in people with Asperger’s Syndrome. The struggle of establishing a social connection is not due to delayed language development being socially withdrawn. Instead, they become socially awkward due to becoming hesitant about how to connect with the people around them. They have the interest to be part of their social circle. However, they are having significant difficulties in doing it.
“Traditionally, intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has focused upon reducing interfering behavior and teaching language, academic and self-help skills.” –Marlene Driscoll, MA, LMFT
Having this behavior sets them as “weird” and “eccentric” from the rest of the crowd. With our present society, being “weird” is not so socially accepted. Thus, the problems arise such as bullying, discrimination, and labeling with negative connotations. These can lead to psychological setbacks as the child understands what is going on around them.
The film Temple Grandin is an inspiring true-to-life story of a girl with Asperger’s syndrome who successfully became an expert in her field of study. Temple Grandin also became an inspiration to parents whose children have autism spectrum disorder not to lose hope and to continue loving and helping their children survive.
The Parents’ Role
Once again, the role of the parents is critical in the lives of children with Asperger’s syndrome. “The autism diagnosis itself is often traumatic for parents. It can be a grueling process that may take up to a year or more, with multiple visits to several different professionals.” Janeen Herskovitz, MA, LMHC said. What parents can do can be summarized in the following:
- Be Honest. Never camouflage the condition of your child. Some parents, because of the stigma it represents, would try to sugarcoat the situation when people ask them about the real condition of their children. Hey, tell them she has Asperger’s, and it’s not contagious! Perhaps this way, they will start looking at the disorder with much respect other than treating it as a communicable disease.
- Create Awareness. The moment you become honest, it is time to start educating the people around you about Asperger’s syndrome. Becoming aware is the first step to remove the veil of misunderstanding.
- Be There For Your Child. Some parents would say, “I’m supportive of my child.” However, they are still not emotionally present and available when needed. Asperger’s syndrome will have more demands on your time and attention. You need to anticipate this in the future.
- Have Other Family Members Get Involved. You cannot do this alone. You are not a superhero. Be realistic – you need help from your family and other resources. At present, many online support groups can offer some tips and recommendations on how to handle the problems that will come your way.
Parenting is both a privilege and a responsibility. Anyone can attest that it is one of the excitements that life could offer. It is a joy beyond compare for parents to see their children grow up with a healthy life. There is nothing that parents would not do for their children.
But what happens when parents feel something is wrong with their child, wondering why he has bizarre behaviors compared with other children? When all of a sudden, their child is diagnosed as having Autism Spectrum Disorder, how are they going to face this challenge?
The Emotional Roller Coaster Ride.
Denial, disappointment, sadness, pain, fear, shame, stress, depression, anger and whatever negative emotions we may think of, are the feelings that parents usually go through upon knowing their child’s condition. As human people, these reactions are all normal. Just like any emotional pain people go through, parents of ASD children will experience these emotions at first before they wholeheartedly accept their child’s condition. Having a child with a chronic disorder like ASD, there is no other way of dealing with it but to acknowledge and accept the fact that their child is with ASD. Parents are the first support system for a child, and a terrible call for parents to take in, but then again there should be no backing out. If there is a person who should remain calm and secure for a child with ASD, they are the parents. No matter how hard the struggle parents are required to be a stronghold of determination, courage, and hope that everything will get by.
“Growing up in an environment where you potentially had little control over your caregiver’s emotions — and potentially lots of emotional turmoil — can lead to you needing control and structure in adulthood. This coping mechanism is a way to “bring order to the chaos.” –Forrest Talley, a California-based clinical psychologist
We’re All In This Together.
According to Teresa Bolick, Ph.D. “Whether new to the world of ASD, facing a life transition for a son or daughter or struggling to determine a course of treatment, parents often express overwhelming confusion.” The complexity of ASD is a challenging journey for both the parents and the child. We always take focus on the child as the most affected person, notwithstanding the role the parents play in this battle. Parents also require support and care to come from other members of the family and social circle. As life continues for this family, parents will experience a saturation point or exhaustion period, and this can lead to adverse outcomes. The sources of fear and depression can arise from a foreseeable crisis of rejection and discrimination that society may have for their child of their family. At times, there will be a point that each parent may ask or blame each other for why this happened to their child.
Education is the first step to understand the situation entirely. The more you are aware of what is happening to your child, the more you are equipped with the necessary steps on how to counteract it and face the obstacles undoubtedly. Get information from your pediatrician, child psychiatrist, or counselor. These are reliable health professionals that can provide substantial information concerning the condition of your child.
Another mode of getting support is by joining a group of parents who are also going through the same experience. You have one common denominator in this situation – a child who needs constant support from parents. If a parent is new to this challenge, there are also those who have come a long way and dealt with every pressure and problem. For sure, their vast experience can give you some insights on how to handle yours.
A novel way to get support or answers is through joining online chat rooms or answering forum questions. Here the parents share and answer some questions coming from other parents who have some queries about their child and ASD in general. This can also be an excellent opportunity for parents to meet and form social relationships with other parents. “Traditionally, intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has focused upon reducing interfering behavior and teaching language, academic and self-help skills.” Marlene Driscoll, MA, LMFT said.
Lastly, don’t forget to make time for yourself. Take a breather for a while. If possible, have someone look over your child and spend some quality with each other. We know this can be a handful, but putting yourself first will not endanger your child. This can be done once a month – just to buy some time to recharge and be well again.
As the arising challenges in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues, finding effective means of addressing these problems has also been a priority of the medical and healthcare sectors. There is no known cure for ASD, but there is a range of unique behavioral and educational programs that can help control the symptoms of it. Various alternative treatments have been developed through the collaboration of the diverse group of medical and healthcare systems, practices, and products to replace conventional treatments and help treat the overall health and possible behavioral problems of autism.