Parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are nothing short of superheroes!
In addition to being the child’s support system, they also maneuver through the challenges that come with ensuring that their little one receives all the opportunities and prospects that a typically growing child would.
Apart from the difficulties associated with social communication, children with autism tend to have restricted interests and display repetitive mannerisms. However, it can be problematic or even embarrassing for parents when their child demonstrates unusual behaviors, especially in a public setting. These may include spinning around, showing extreme displays of affection (or the opposite), flapping of hands, invading others’ personal space, and inappropriate touching.
In this case, frustration and anger are some of the most common emotions experienced by parents. These feelings may also emerge when others fail to understand how or to what degree ASD impacts a child – leading to outsiders judging both the parent and the child unfairly. Guilty feelings can also arise when parents wrongly blame themselves for their child’s condition or when they feel that they are not doing enough for their little one.
How Can Parents Overcome These Challenges?
During such times, patiently teaching your child about inappropriate behaviors while showing them what a better, much healthier reaction looks like can help a great deal. Here, discovering the medium of communication that appeals to your child the most, including videos, photos, or even taping and viewing step-by-step instructions to reinforce the message consistently until new behavior patterns are formed, is also a great solution.
You can also carry a bunch of stress relievers or your kid’s favorite toys whenever in a public setting. This can help distract them and divert their attention from a stressful, overwhelming stimulus or major sensory overload. It is also advisable that parents, as well as caregivers, ignore the stares of onlookers and calmly focus only on the child and his or her needs. Although disregarding strangers’ constant eyes on you and choosing to remain calm sounds rather difficult, this approach can greatly help reduce the stress experienced by the child and the parent.
Some families also experience the strain of long-term expenses when it comes to raising a child on the autism spectrum. For example, parents may have to use personal vehicles instead of public transportation for commuting with their child or even hire a full- or part-time caregiver, which increases the overall financial burden. On the other hand, nuclear families and single parents may feel the added stress of taking care of their child on their own without any assistance or support from their extended family members. Consequently, without the support of caregivers or relatives, parents may also find it highly challenging to juggle responsibilities at home, the workplace, and taking care of the child. While this leaves parents with little to no time for their own needs, it could also lead to limited opportunities for socializing with others, indulging in interests and hobbies, or even receiving adequate rest.
Moreover, bringing up a child with autism can be challenging, especially when others do not understand the problems and instead resort to stigmatizing the condition altogether. Here, an effective way to break the stigma surrounding autism spectrum disorder is to raise awareness about the condition. In order to achieve this, open discussions and conversations associated with ASD must always be encouraged. When relatives and friends begin talking about autism and acknowledging its impact on parents and families alike, the chances of misunderstanding and unwarranted judgments are significantly reduced. Besides, your loved ones would also have the opportunity to understand how to support you on a deeper and more practical level!
What’s My Next Best Step?
Parenting a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can indeed be stressful, and taking care of a child with special needs requires a unique set of skills built over time. However, it is important to remember that a surge of negative emotions when overwhelmed is absolutely normal, and in case the stress of parenting becomes a bit too much to deal with, speaking to a professional can prove to be highly advantageous.
If parents feel that they are unable to cope with their child’s special needs, they even risk putting their own health in danger. Hence, it is essential that parents address their own needs, while also catering to their child’s needs – in this way, you will definitely be able to help and be there for your kid a lot more. Moreover, talking openly with relatives, as well as friends, can play an integral role in helping others empathize and understand your child’s condition better. It may also encourage them to provide added support and appreciate what your child can do instead of focusing on their shortcomings.
According to experts, parent-mediated intervention, especially during preschool years, can significantly enhance the life skills of children with ASD and also heighten their chances of leading an improved quality of life. And for the best results, make sure you choose India’s finest autism service provider for your child by partnering with Early Autism Services (EAS)!
Contact us now and request a free consultation here.