Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Coping With Being A Parent To An Autistic Child

Being a parent is never easy. No matter how prepared you feel you are to be a parent, there are always going to be rough patches along the way. There are many mothers who are single mothers working 40 or more hours per week raising one or more children on her own. There are many mothers who are raising her children in a two-parent household. There are many mothers who are raising children with autism.
With autism cases currently peaking at 1 out of 150 children being diagnosed with autism in the United States, many parents are now parents of an autistic child, approximately 85% of those cases being seen in boys. Some cases of autism are very mild and may encompass simpler symptoms of speech disorders, developmental delays, lack of social skills, and poor attention. Some cases are severe where the child shows no social skills, are non-verbal, are extremely aggressive as a way of communicating with others, and are going to be dependent on his or her parents for the rest of their lives.
Knowing the difficulties a child will face with autism is half the battle for any parent raising a child with autism. The other half of the battle is therapeutic treatment intervention techniques to help that child live as normal a life as he or she possibly can, especially those that are diagnosed with more severe cases of autism. Such therapeutic interventions may include medication, behavioral health and community rehabilitation services where the child will receive therapy in the school and or home settings, communication devices if the child is non-verbal, and intensive specialized therapy to assist with aggression, social skills, and verbal communication skills.
Parents who take the time to understand autism and what it looks like in his or her own child brings a sense of self-awareness and a certain passion that comes from deep within. This is the first step in understanding his or her child and will help the child's parents find resources they can draw from to help their child. One of the biggest therapeutic tools for parents to help them deal with this new diagnosis given to their child is support groups. Because autism has become one of the largest diagnoses given in the mental health industry, there are literally hundreds of support groups that are run in every city across the United States organized and run by other parents of a child with autism. This is a great way to obtain resources that will help your child as well as your family cope with the diagnosis. In addition, there are many agencies that provide many different types of services such as music therapy, play therapy, community behavioral health services, and school-based services that cater to children diagnosed with all levels of autism.
Being a parent is difficult in today's world. Being a parent to a child with autism magnifies that by what feels like a million times. The good news is that there is support and services out there that can help parents and their child or children cope and treat the symptoms of autism.
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