The Problem and Its Background
Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder that affects the brain’s development of social and communication skills and said to be a behaviorally-defined condition. (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) a person with autism has to deal with great consequences due to the different adjustments they have to follow. Along with the stress felt by the autistic person, their families are the ones who should handle the responsibilities in raising their autistic children. Since they have to raise the children with a disability, a big burden corresponds to the adjustment they have to initiate to their autistic child and for the whole family as well. Their responsibility is even more difficult since there are expenses due to the special needs that should be provided in raising their children with autism. The families’ responsibility for their education along with daily care and acquisition of other resources and assistance is very demanding in every way. Along with the material burdens inherent in raising a child with such disabilities, families deal with emotional and social conflicts as well. Behavior associated with autism may be a great stressor on the family, and have been associated with poor understanding among the parents and the siblings. At most times, the siblings experience anxieties from adapting to their autistic siblings because it creates great emotional stress from coping with the unusual behaviors exhibited by the children with autism. The parents are the ones who are primarily affected by this situation, they have to deal with how they can provide their autistic children their special needs and another burden for them is teaching their other children to fully understand the condition of their sibling with autism and how can they fully adapt to the changes and the effects of raising an autistic child to each of their children and for the whole family in order to be well-adjusted in raising their children with autism for them to live normally as possible. This study seeks to know the ways of a family in raising an autistic child. The researcher is curious on how different families adapt to the effects of autism to their child and to the family. She also wants to know how they are coping to life and what kind of changes they have to undergo for them to provide the needs of the child and for the family and each members to function well and be well adjusted.
Statement of the Problem
The researcher would like to know the different coping strategies of families with autistic children. The researcher seeks to answer the following questions:
Number of the members of the family
Age, gender and birth order of the siblings
Socio-economic status/monthly income
Type of autism
What are the problems encountered in raising the autistic child? 3.
What are the effects of autism to the family?
What are the ways does the family adapt to the different situations concerning the autistic child? Theoretical Framework
This research used the Family-Systems Theory by Dr. Murray Bowen. According to Bowen, the family is an emotional unit and uses systems to describe the interaction among the unit and uses systems to describe among the unit. It emphasizes the interdependency of the family members rather than focusing on individuals in isolation. Several principles from Family-Systems Theory appear to apply to autism as it develops within the family. They must create their family life cycle because the child is embedded within multiple systems which interact in direct and indirect ways to influence behavior. Among the systems involved in this interaction, the most important is the family structure which includes the parent-child subsystems, marital relationship and sibling subsystem and the consecutive roles of each. It is more recognized more and more that consideration must be given to the family system in planning interventions with the autistic...
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