Parents of Children with Autism
Problems faced when raising an autistic child
When thinking of an autistic child, you may think they have the roughest time in life. However, the parents of the child have an even bigger problem. Raising an autistic child is mainly very difficult because of the lack of communication, the parents want to help the child but the child doesn't take instruction as well as a normal child. This is not the only problem faced as there are many similar frustrations when raising the child. For example...
What are the difficulties with raising an autistic child?
- Coping with the diagnosis - many express an array of emotions (anger, sadness, denial...)
- Risk of divorce - many parents are unable to fulfill the shared responsibility with raising an autistic child (approximately 80% divorce rate)
- Communication - the main difficulty as the child has a difficult time responding to and understanding emotion. (explained in the novel when Christopher uses face symbols to identify emotions)
- Obtaining support - When in denial, parents tend to alienate people who try to help the child's growth (doctors, therapists, teacher...etc.)
- Safety - Autistic children do not take instruction well, which may, in turn, lead them into dangerous scenarios
Why do a majority of parents separate and how does this affect the child?
Most couples do not last as the divorce rate for ASD parents is approximately 80%. This is due to the fact that one parent tends to cave under the pressure. This is not surprising because raising an autistic child is about double the amount of stress as opposed raising a non-autistic child. There is a certain amount of teamwork needed because the child does not comprehend many simple skills. For instance, in the situation of an argument, the child would not understand what had been happening. Treatment costs are an added stress as it is somewhat necessary. The child is affected greatly by the divorce as well. The child takes the divorce hard because they do not seem to understand the emotional components. With all this being said, no child, autistic or not, deserves to lose a parent for any reason.
How does the diagnosis impact the family inside and outside of the home?
The parents would undergo a lot of stress and issues. They would have to make their child's life a top priority, over work, paying bills...etc. Parents would be stressed because they will be working extra hard just to keep things sane in the family. It would be difficult to pay for all the treatments and shifting most of their resources and time to their child. As the stress piles on, the relationship between the parents gets harder to maintain. As mentioned previously this usually ends in divorce. When the parents relationship has ended this also puts the child's relationship with one parent in jeopardy. One problem faced outside of the school is public acceptance. Not all people can be accepting of somebody who is as significantly different like someone with ASD. Having an autistic child may also ruin the reputation of the family. For example, different rumours may spread about the family (they gave birth to a defective child..etc). Extended family on the other hand, will show sympathy but really be pity the family. Although, all of this may not be positive, not all people would show compassion for a family with an ASD child.
Autism rates for 1970-2013
The autism awareness ribbon, worn to raise awareness of ASD, similar to the pink ribbon for breast cancer.
It is not only a term for race, it can be placed in any type of context celebrating individuality and acceptance.
What kinds of sacrifices does a parent need to make for their child?
- Time - Parents have to make a lot of room in their schedules just for their child. The child doesn't develop regular skills as fast as they are supposed to, they depend on their parents.
- Money - Treatment costs, its almost necessary to have treatments and therapy, Although ASD is not curable, it is possible to prevent the symptoms.
- Family - Once again, the divorce rate is high. Having an autistic child may jeopardize the family.
- Success - A parent may have to put their success on hold to care for the child. This happens frequently and though it is bad for multiple reasons, it is not something the parent has control over.
photos obtatined from flickr®