Autism Spectrum Disorder has several symptoms, including behavioural, emotional, and social-communication challenges. Apart from the child experiencing such issues, it is also the family life that may get impacted. Raising a child diagnosed with ASD can be quite an overwhelming journey for the parents and caregivers. Moreover, not just one but several areas are impacted due to it. Some of the significant impacts that can be generally experienced while raising a child diagnosed with ASD are described below in detail.
Increase in Financial Expenditure
Children having Autism may require several therapies, depending upon their symptoms and severity of the challenges experienced by them. Ideally, a child psychologist, clinical psychologist, occupational therapist, special educator, a speech therapist can together help the child in encouraging holistic development. With the therapy sessions being scheduled regularly, at least once a week, the per session cost results in a considerable rise in monthly financial expenses.
Moreover, these children are prone to a higher risk of having other medical conditions. Some who exhibit stimming such as head banging, hand flapping, etc are at a higher risk of getting themselves hurt. This result in a greater number of visits to the podiatrist or general physician, thus increasing the overall expenses. Further, to raise a child with ASD, close supervision is required. And so, in most of the cases, one parent, usually the mother, leaves their job, further resulting in greater financial constraints.
For any parent, it is difficult to believe that their child is a special one and may not be able to develop as other children do. With an ASD diagnosis of a child, several ups and downs are witnessed by the child’s family. Post the stress of believing that their child is different than others, the tension of finding the best possible ways to improve his/her condition builds up. Also, considering the stigma attached to mental illness, a lot of societal pressure is witnessed by the parents.
For instance, they may feel embarrassed by the child’s behaviour exhibited at a social gathering or may stop to attend events and events, resulting in feeling isolated. Additionally, a parent may experience high levels of anger, guilt, and frustration and may hold themselves or the spouse responsible for the development of the disorder in the child. As a result of these emotions, deterioration in mental health is experienced by several parents, which may further require some professional help.
In continuation of the factor that a lot of stress and tension is experienced by the child’s family, raising a child with ASD can also take a toll on the marital relationship of their parents. A study suggests that parents of such children had a 9.7% chance of getting divorced than the rest of their peers. Marital stressors may include a lot of factors.
The parents may accept the diagnosis of their child at different times, thus resulting in tension and conflict between the two. Also, one of the partners may hold their spouse responsible for the development of a disorder in their child, which may lead to disputes. Spending quality time together may become challenging as many needs of the child need to be adjusted in the schedule. Also, the emotional and financial stress in the family can further leave an impact on the marital relationship of the child’s parents.
Often children who have a sibling who is diagnosed with Autism, or any mental health disorder may feel embarrassed among their peer groups or may even experience bullying at school. Adding on to the stress, they may feel neglected as; obviously, the child diagnosed with the disorder may get greater time and attention by the family members. Moreover, children diagnosed with Autism are comfortable at expressing themselves. And so, sibling bonding may become difficult.
Altogether, a lot of stress, issues and tension are raised successively to a child’s diagnosis of ASD. However, one may need to understand that these issues are not permanent can be dealt with over the period. Also, early intervention of the disorder can make a major impact on the improvement of the child. The child should be taken to a child development clinic where a team of a child behaviour specialist, Occupational therapists, speech therapists and others, through a range of strategies and techniques can work upon the unachieved age-appropriate developmental milestones of the child, depending upon the requirements.
Also, a child behaviour specialist or a clinical psychologist might be able to recommend a family counsellor, who can help in dealing with the stress and other emotional challenges that the family faces. As a parent of a child with special needs, remember that there are other parents too who undergo similar problems and situations as you do. Consider joining a support group where parents of special children can interact and share tested strategies and ways that may also work for your child’s benefit. Lastly, going on short vacations or even a day’s outing at a park can help the family bond well and ease out the tension of all members.
Akshay Sharma is a writer who loves sharing views on health and food topics. He is constantly in search of new articles and posts on topics related to health and its branches.