Coping Strategies of Parents of Children with Autism

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This is part of my research, though it is still in the process of editing and completing the entire chapter 1.

COPING MECHANISMS OF PARENTS OF CHILD A DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM: BASIS FOR COUNSELING PROGRAM Researcher: Aracelli C Legarda
INTRODUCTION

Parenting is a highly stressful job. Everyday is a challenge. Some days are easy and others are hard. However still, this is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs parents will ever face. It is therefore critical to know how parents cope when having a child with autism.

Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and organize; how this occurs is not well understood. It is one of three recognized disorders in the autism spectrum (ASD).[1]

In the first years after autism was described, parents were blamed for causing autism and hesitant to educate their children. Approaches to work with parents of children with autism have changed; parents are now more involved in the therapy of their child. Parents are now recognized as partners in the therapy of their child.

When the child is diagnosed with autism, family life changes. Parents are more likely to experience depression and stress than other parents of regular children. Parents feel they can never do enough for their children; they are likely to suffer from depression. Coping means trying to reduce the consequences of stress, which are often unpleasant. (2)  Evaluations should be conducted in order to learn the levels of stress experienced by single parents as well as the strategies used for adapting with stress.

The project will investigate if parents use coping mechanisms to survive the daily challenges and how they start their day. The research aims to discover how parents face these realities and learn from them their own customized processes and protocols once they have passed acceptance.

The research is not meant to discredit and judge actions but to learn from them and find ways to improve them. This will aid in the learning process to understand and find in ourselves to share the values of what experience teaches through these parents.

The project aims to share ways of how parents handle their special children. Principles can change. Norms may be modified. For those parents who are new to this, we would like to share what you may find interesting and helpful in your process of adjustments to the reality that you may now be facing. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Autism is a developmental disorder affecting the brain and usually characterized by a set of symptoms ranging from withdrawal from one’s social environment to aggressive behavior which may lead to inflicting pain on oneself.

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how an individual interprets what he sees, hears, and touches, thereby impairing his understanding and use of language and his adaptation to his environment. Autism is not curable but is treatable. When a child is diagnosed and receives intervention early in life; given the appropriate education and therapy; they can become self-reliant and productive members of society.

The number of people with autism among countries is on the rise and the Philippines is not spared as an upward trend has been observed across the globe. There are, however, no accurate statistics exist in the Philippines. Government and non-government organizations have been working hand in hand to spread awareness of autism in many parts of the county. Presidential Proclamation No. 711 or Autism Consciousness Week, mandated in 1996 by former President Fidel V. Ramos, aims to promote awareness on autism and the provision of appropriate social services to persons with autism.

Caring for a child with...
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