How Is Family Life Affected by a Kid with Autism?

Receiving the news that their son/daughter suffers ASD causes a great impact and shock not only to the parents but also to the rest of the family members. This first stage causes anxiety and tension due to its multiple repercussions on family life and the social environment.

Having a child with autism entails a series of additional tasks and responsibilities that add to  existing ones. The fulfillment of therapy schedules, expensive treatments, job responsibilities and social commitments increase the levels of family stress progressively affecting married life.

Concern about covering the expenses related to therapy sessions, as well as necessary medication, deepen the difficulties of this challenging stage that the family must face from the moment of diagnosis.

This is when the family must urge everyone to work together to address the situation, leading in many cases to the emergence of fears, irritations, uneasiness, tensions and concerns that can disturb the harmony and stability of the family circle in several ways.

The parents of autistic children must meet the needs of all their children and that of the family. However, this stage is crucial since it can strengthen or weaken the family bond. Once the situation is addressed, it is necessary to create a system of support and to work hard to try to overcome the situation.

How does an ASD diagnosis affect families?

Emotional impact

The diagnosis of an ASD child involves the adoption of a series of typical changes linked to the disorder, thereby generating emotional disorders in the family before and after the diagnosis, indefinitely.

A child with autism consequently brings a significant burden of stress and concern to family members because they have to assume all the elements intrinsic to the condition, that is, everything that it implies.

Family members of people with autism suffer more emotional disorders compared to the rest of the population. In addition to the accumulation of emotions, relatives of children with autism may feel the following:

  • Discomfort due to the behavior of their children in public
  • Social isolation
  • Feeling frustrated at not having the parental experience they expected
  • Feeling guilty for feeling responsible for what their children must overcome
  • Concern and burden for autism being an incurable disorder
  • Irritability and discomfort towards themselves, the specialist, and spouse
  • Impotence for not being able to resolve their child’s condition

Marital impact

The news affects marriage-  causing high levels of stress for many reasons. The parents of a child with autism come to accept the diagnosis in various ways. This can cause problems between the couple since both can perceive and assimilate the situation differently.

Sharing as a couple becomes somewhat complicated due to the commitments and schedules of each one. Usually, getting a person to take care of a child with autism is a somewhat complicated task, since private child care does not have specialists who can cope with this condition.

Children with autism require special attention, therapy, and appropriate treatment. This causes financial depression that alters the family budget and that could bring problems between couples.

Impact on siblings

A child with autism may have neurotypical siblings that are also affected by the restlessness and anguish of the family environment.

They may even feel neglected because the parents cannot provide all the support they require since they’re busy and overwhelmed, trying to meet the needs of their child with autism.

This can cause jealousy and rivalries between siblings. A child with autism demands an investment of time and special attention; often, his/her siblings feel excluded, causing resentment towards them.

However, many families have managed to overcome this stage by detecting and controlling the causes of stress.

Financial impact

The parents of a child with autism should plan their family budget and include additional expenses in consultations, therapies, and treatments prescribed by doctors and autism specialists.

The financial burden that the condition implies can alter and reduce family income. Furthermore, most private insurers do not cover these needs and are very expensive.

The co-payment system can help to level the budget and to cover expenses for the purchase of medicines and frequent office visits that increase the financial debt of the parents, but for this to happen, the parents must have a full-time job.

Full-time work is difficult because one of the parents must resign to devote more time and pay attention to the child with autism, which prevents them from enjoying good health insurance.

The family has to face a large number of expenses that alter their financial situation despite having a limited budget.

The first step that a family should take with a child with ASD is to assimilate and internalize that their life changed. Understanding how this affects them allows them to overcome problems and improve interfamilial relationships.

Going to places where guidance and family counseling is received can be very useful and helpful for parents of children with ASD, especially to improve marital communication between couples, while psychotherapy is used to treat the emotional and psychological part.

Another alternative is support group meetings that you can attend to learn about other experiences of parents with children with autism, who can propose solutions to many of the family’s problems.

It is good to keep in mind that parents must take care of themselves and maintain a comprehensive balance in order to take care of their children with ASD.

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family hands

Family is important no matter what, but an autism diagnosis will present challenges and changes that together you must face.

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Things That a Kid with Autism Wants to Tell You

Autism spectrum disorder is not considered a psychosis, but rather a generalized developmental disorder. Kids with autism present some difficulties that make life in society a little more complex.

Deficiencies associated with the disorder generally include: language and communication difficulties, problems interacting socially, and lack of empathy. They feel more comfortable when they are part of a repetitive routine, unlike typical people who do not understand these attitudes or behaviors.

Another impediment of a kid with autism is his/her limitations with motor coordination and the processing of incoming sensory information. Each case is different. Each individual with autism is unique.

There are things that a kid with autism would like to tell you, especially if you are his/her father or mother, teacher, partner, or are related to him/her.

1. I strive to make friends

A kid with autism finds it difficult to have relationships with others, but that does not mean he/she doesn’t like having friends or making friends. However, these children face several types of social interaction deficiencies.

  • Distant: their behavior is indifferent. They act as if the other person does not exist.
  • Passive: accept social approaches but do not initiate them.
  • Active but odd: they try to establish social contact but in a particular way.
  • Formal or artificial: they do not adapt to social norms and their behavior is not the most appropriate.

Although he/she seems distant or disinterested in playing with other children, he/she simply does not know how to start a conversation or enter the game. You should teach him/her to join the game with other children and encourage them to invite him/her to the game.

The best games for children with autism are those that have a clear structure (a beginning and an end), that is, games without surprises or last-minute changes.

2. I interpret language literally

Double meanings, sarcasm, or puns are things that children with autism cannot understand. Other elements of communication, such as metaphors, allusions, or nuances, are complicated for people with this disorder because they interpret all information as it is presented. If you talk to a kid with autism this way, you will confuse him/her.

3. Sometimes I use different intonation from other people

Kids with autism sometimes use different intonation to communicate. The tone of voice can be heard mechanically and even robotic. This is common in children with autism.

4. Even if I have trouble communicating, I like to be heard

Depending on the degree of the disorder, some children with autism learn to speak late in relation to children of the same age, while others never learn to speak.

However, we should not interpret these communicative limitations with not wanting to be heard. A kid with autism will always want to be understood and heard, so we must be attentive to each of his/her signals and value their feelings despite their difficulties in developing expressive language.

5. I don’t like symbolic play

Spontaneous games without a fixed structure are not fun or enjoyable for children with autism. Games where imagination and surprises are part of the rules do not encourage those who suffer from the autistic spectrum.

Children with ASD love predictable, repetitive, and routine games, where they previously know what will happen. What can be something entertaining for neurotypical children, can be unpleasant or annoying for children with ASD.

Since now you know a little more about what children with ASD think, you can create a better environment to contribute to their development, but this is not everything. Maybe you would like to propose other ideas or share them with us? Leave us your comments.

group of kids

These kids just want to say lots of things, but they struggle with it.

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5 Benefits of Encouraging Reading in Children with ASD

Readings is usually one of the best ways to learn about anything. It also helps to improve communication at general levels, as well as spelling: two things that we know can be hard to learn for children with autism. This is one of the reasons why encouraging reading in children within the spectrum is nothing but a great idea. Here, we’ve prepared a short list with 5 of the more essential benefits this practice provides.

Benefits of reading

Reading with frequency is a very healthy activity. By doing it, we can learn about a lot of different things, and it can also be fun since it is an entertainment medium. Long story short, it is a beneficial and practical habit, and therefore, a recommended one.

Improves creativity

Creativity is crucial for every child since the development of it makes the child more cunning; plus, it influences them quick thoughts and ideas in a productive way, as well as the resolution of problems at a general level. Readings can not only be very informative, but they also allow the children’s imagination to flow in the right way, contributing significantly to their creativity.

Improves concentration

Reading is an activity that requires a lot of attention, the simple action of reading forces the child to focus on the text; this, of course, to concentrate. This concentration is not only beneficial at the time of reading since it can help the child’s reading speed and understanding of the story, but it can also be useful to the kid in different areas, significantly improving their performance in various activities that require high levels of concentration.

Acquire vocabulary

This is one of the main reasons why encouraging reading in children with ASD is so important; It is no secret that children with ASD tend to have a hard time expressing themselves in a way that others can understand them, reading helps to expand their vocabulary, giving them a more significant number of words to use, and, therefore, more possibilities to express themselves in a better way.

Children with ASD often get frustrated because they feel like they are not able to express their feelings in a way that other people can understand them, as said before, acquiring vocabulary improves the way the child shows themselves, decreasing the frustration they may feel at certain times.

Improves social skills

In the vast majority of books that tell a story, especially the ones that are addressing to kids, we continuously find characters conducting any social activity; from actions as essential as talking or playing to details as small as the gestures of some characters. All of these details are very important since they can help the child to have a better understanding of social relationships, which can facilitate interaction with other people, cooperation that many children with autism usually find difficult.

Improves intelligence

Despite what some people tend to think, being on the autism spectrum does not make you less smart than others, in fact, many people recognized because of their talent, or for their outstanding skills, have shown strong signs of autism, so a person within the autistic spectrum can be brilliant.

Encouraging reading in children with ASD helps them to reason quickly and efficiently, this added to all the previously mentioned aspects, has as a consequence a very remarkable improvement in the intelligence of the child, so encouraging a child with autism to read is highly recommended.

Reading constantly has a large number of benefits; it is a recommended activity for everyone. However, children with autism often hide extraordinary abilities behind their apparent shyness, so encouraging them to read can exploit these hidden skills, showing us amazing results that can potentially be very beneficial for their future.

Children reading

Establish a reading routine at home!

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