A Family Making Miracles
St. Ambrose University
A Family Making Miracles
When understanding what a family goes through with having a child with special needs such as Autism it is important to know the fundamental facts about Autism. Autism is a rare disease that has been recognized for centuries. In the past decade, Autism has reached a peak of being recognized The purest form of autism occurs in about one in 2,000 people, which would be what we consider autism in the DSM-5 ; researchers are currently narrowing down the criteria so that fewer children with milder symptoms are labeled as autism. Autism is found in every race, ethnic group, nation, and social standing, although males outnumber females by four or five times.
Autism is a broad range of disorders that stretch from mild to severe. There are many theories on the cause of autism, but no definite solution. Because of the broadness of the disorder, the types and different categories, it makes dealing with the disorder extremely difficult. Since the causes for this disorder remain unknown, there are no specific treatments that can cure autism (Campbell), which only increases the level of frustrating for some primary and secondary caregivers.
The first signs of autism are seen within the first three years of life. Parents will notice that the child is distant and does not respond to many things such as playing with other children and social ques. As an infant many people would be surprised to know that infants can respond clearly to social ques. The baby usually doesn't develop any bonds with his/her mother or caregiver. When parents go to pick up an autistic child, he/she may either seem rigid or limp, which is usually a result of their muscle tone. Autistic children are usually developmentally behind and as a result do not exhibit usual characteristics as other children. Example, a child with Autism may not reach out for their parents as they approach them. Another symptom is little to no eye contact. Knowing all theses facts about autism, it can be imagined that having a loved on in your family with autism or being a parent to someone with Autism can be quite the challenge.
There is no question that autism affects the whole family. What studies have been trying to prove for the past few decades is exactly how the child with autism and his family affect each other. Every relationship in the family changes once a child with autism enters the picture. Problems occur because of increased stress levels in the household. For example husbands and wives fight, parents and children are at odds with each other, and siblings must learn how to interact with with a new edition to the family.
Most parents are not prepared to deal with the stress that come with caring for a child with a disability. Mothers of children with autism have reported higher stress levels than parents of children with other developmental disabilities like Down syndrome. In fact, both parents of autistic children reported the highest levels of stress compared to parents of children with other developmental disabilities, but because most of the parenting falls to the mothers, they are also at an increased risk for depression. Parents are likely to feel an increase in stress with the potential for long-term care of children who have more severe cognitive limitations. Mothers were also likely to feel significant levels of stress if their autistic children had severe behavioral problems. The stress in these situations can be higher because the families often find themselves publicly embarrassed. Autism can cause the mother to seek support which doesn't always ease the stress, but when it is not available, the result is often higher levels of stress and depression. One form of support that has been found to be helpful is training for early intervention in sibling relationships. This can help children with autism better interact with their...
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