In case you don’t know what the word autistic means, I’ll give you the meaning but first, let’s know what the word autism means. It describes what an autistic person goes through. Parents of autistic children tend to work extra hard in taking care of their children.
One thing that truly hurts and challenges so much is seeing their children go through tantrums, become aggressive, injure themselves, and refuse to comply with requests. Here are just a few common challenges parents face all around the globe while raising autistic children;
Discomfort & Anxiety
Due to characteristic communication difficulties, an autistic person may have severe anxiety issues but undergo a decreased ability to express it.The inability of people with autism to communicate feelings of disturbance, anxiety or distress can also mean that it is often very difficult to diagnose depressing states.
Society may affect them in some of the following ways;
* Social phobias.
* Obsessive behavior.
* Excessive worry/rumination.
* Avoiding behaviors.
* Rigid routines and resistance to change,
* Self-injurious behaviors.
* Controlling behaviors like oppositional defance.
* Going through a lot of meltdowns.
* Always shutting down
Their parents too undergo the same and they are the ones mostly affected because they feel embarassed and uncofortable when they see their autistic children act in unusual behaviors like;
* Invading other people’s space especially those who say it’s okay just to make you feel better but deep inside, they are pissed off.
* Flipping hands or spinning around in a quiet place.
* Being fascinated with a particular item and you didn’t have enough cash to buy it at that moment.
You’ll find many parents bathing in tears in the bathroom for more than 2 hours from the stress. Let me give you some of the ways parents should cope with such unusual behaviors:
* Teaching the child about inappropriate behaviors as occasions arise, and showing them what a better reaction looks like.
* Finding out what the medium of communication appeals to the child, and using it to teach them. These could be photos, video, or a recording of step-by-step instructions.
* Repeating and reinforcing the message consistently, until the new behavior takes root.
Dealing with changes
Many people on the autism spectrum often prefer a familiar environments with a predictable routine because they see change a stressful activity. Repeatiteive interests, sensory processing differences and heightened anxiety too can make even small changes stressful.It’s important to plan changes in everyday routines and activities early.
Keep in mind that autistic children have some of these characteristics; confusing, silent and difficult to interact with people, places, sounds and sights.
Parents should set particular routines and rituals that help get order into an unbearable chaotic lifestyle of an autistic child. Keeping the same process all day, every day, reduces some of the terrible fears between an autistic child and their parents especially their mother’s.
Pain, stress & Misdiagnosis
Many parents fight a lot of pain and stress while raising autistic children because they don’t know how to help them. Studies have shown that early diagnosis and intervention can have a positive impact on life outcomes for children with autism.
One study showed that 13 percent of children diagnosed with autism lost their diagnosis when they got older leading to doctors writing it off as a misdiagnosis. To avoid this, one is advised to seek a special diagnosis fast because the more reliable the diagnosis, the more suitable the intervention will be.
Always feeling alone as a parent
“My son goes to a mainstream pre-school and the hardest part for me is how alone I feel as a parent especially when I’m being accused of my kid’s bad behaviors in school. He sometimes can get aggressive and shout or beat other kids. Lots of parents find it hard for their kids to cope with mine because he is different thus telling their children to avoid interacting with my autistic son. Some even go to the school board and demand my son’s expulsion, calling him a threat to their kids and their learning environment.” These statements from a parent’s experience really pinch you hard especially when even your own extended family pushes you away.
Handling autistic children is not as easy as you think
You might find a way of handling your autistic child through your own unique ways that help you handle each day at a time pretty well. This doesn’t mean it’s as easy as 123, with autism. Social-emotional skills are a huge hurdle and one has to be in tune with them so as to understand them.
If he or she needs to sleep, leave everything your doing and co-sleep with him/her. Don’t let your child feel frantic. Their comfort should be your first priority even if it means canceling important life events just to keep him/her comfortable.
This is actually a major challenge that almost every parent with an autistic child faces. Buying medicine, taking them for therapy, traveling to different states looking for better healthcare, food and almost everything else tends to get a bit more expensive with an autistic child. Some parents have been forced to sell all their properties just to provide a better life for their autistic children which sometimes leads to them losing focus and support to other children in the household.
These are just a few challenges that parents of autistic children go through. There are so many more problems parents face but not many parents even know how to handle such challenges because they think that they are always alone.
Finally, like the football team known as Liverpool’s motto says, “Never walk alone”, as a parent with an autistic child, you should always know that you’re not on this journey alone.