Autism: There Is Hope
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Although Autism Is difficult syndrome for parents to cope with, they can seek available resources to help them better understand Autism and how to handle It. Nobody ever dreams or hopes to have a child with Autism, so when that unexpected day arrives with the devastating news that no parent wants to receive, it an seem like there is nothing a parent can do and that they are utterly alone.
This in fact Is not true, once getting d firm understanding of what Autism Is a parent can then research and focus on the resources available to them and then come to the reallzatlon that they are In tact not alone and that they are their own biggest resource. Autism is a disorder of brain function that can be identified with problems in physical touching, how the brain functions, language skills or lack and abnormal responses to environment (Blanchfield, Longe, & Turk’ngton, 2002-2006, p. 19)_ Autism, which is also referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a lifelong disorder that Interferes with the ablllty to understand what Is seen, heard, and touched. When referring to “spectrums” it means that ASD affects each Individual in different ways. with more mild or more severe symptoms.
The “Autism Speaks” (2013) website states that Autism Spectrum Disorders Include autistic disorder, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) and Asperger syndrome and states that these autism subtypes will be merged into one umbrella diagnosis of ASD A child hat is diagnosed with Autism has a long road ahead ot them: they will have to learn how to Interact and deal with other people, objects, and events along with learning how to communicate normally.
In most cases, Autism is diagnosed in the early years of life, but some cases of Autism In children are not diagnosed until they start school. Signs of Autism in a child include, but are not limited to, not responding to their name, poor eye contact, prefers to play alone, not speaking or having delayed speech, repeating phrases or words, without having an understanding of them, constant and epetitive movements, and have strange food preferences, like eating few foods or wanting to eat things that are not food, such as chalk or dirt.
More often than not It Is the parents that notice that their child is showing abnormal behavior and bring it to the attention of their child’s pedlatrlclan. currently, there are no medical tests that can diagnose Autism. There is however specially trained physicians and psychologists that can administer behavioral evaluations that are designed for autism. As of right now Autism has no cure, but with early detection and treatment, a Even though a parent can feel totally alone, there are online resources they can utilize to better cope with the stress of raising a child with Autism. One such resource site is, The Autism Society.
According to “Autism Society” (2013), they are the nation’s leading grassroots Autism organization, and they exist to improve the lives of all affected by Autism (About Us). The Autism Society provides awareness, advocates for services, and provides current up-to-date information on treatments, education, research and advocacy. Here parents can navigate the site to find information on Autism, look up events held in their area, read stories from other parents about their triumphs and hardships, connect with other parents that are experiencing the same things, and look up current news on Autism.
Another helpful online resource for parents is, Autism Now. According to “Autism Now” (2013), they provide resources and information for individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities and their families (About Us). On this site parents can find information on early detection and intervention, how to cope with a child in school and out in the community, learn hat to expect from their autistic child throughout their life span, and what they can do to help spread the word about Autism to the public.
Another online resource for parents to use is, Autism Speaks. According to “Autism Speaks” (2013), they were founded in February 2005 and are dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism, increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families (Para. 1). This site provides family resources, applications to use with n autistic child, a resource guide by states, list of local and national events being held, and many other useful resources.
What all of these sites have in common is that they all provide information that parents desperately need to fully understand what Autism is and how they can help their child live a full and productive life in the community. There are numerous online resources available for parents to utilize; they Just have to do some researching to find all that are available and then do even more research to decide if these online resources are ones that will work for them nd their child. A parent’s main resource is themselves. As a parent, they will always have the most number of hours with their child and the most invested in their future.
By working with their child’s therapists and counselors, a parent will learn how to communicate with their child and to carry on their therapy and treatments at home. According to the Committee on Educational Interventions for Children with Autism and National Research Council Staff (2001), Parents’ use of effective teaching methods, support from within the family and the community, and access to balanced nformation about autistic spectrum disorders and the range of appropriate services can contribute to successful child and family functioning (p. . One such therapy that a parent can continue at home is speech-language therapy.
Speech-language therapy is used to combine the mechanics of speech with the social use of the word and its meaning. Another therapy a parent can and will continue at home is occupational therapy, depending on the child and the severity of the Autism this will involve helping the child to reach age-appropriate independence and helping them o live an active and full life by focusing on appropriate play and leisure skills along with learning and self-care skills.
Physical therapy is another that will be continued at time with sitting, walking, Jumping, and running. Parents will also learn that sensory therapy will become a large part of their lives because knowing the proper techniques will not only help calm a child with Autism who has become over stimulated but also reinforce good behavior and help with transitioning from one activity to another. One of the main things a parent will learn is structure, a set tructure will help their child to develop and grow to their full potential.
Over time, a parent will start to feel like their child’s in-home teacher and therapist, supporting not only their autistic child but also educating family members and friends that have contact with their child on a daily basis, in doing this the parents are creating a pool of resources for them to dip into whenever the need arises. Autism can be a scary, confusing, and difficult condition to deal with, not Just for the child but for the parents as well. With the many classifications and different conditions that come with Autism it can feel like a daunting task for a parent to deal with.
It may take years for parents to come to a point where they feel that they somewhat understand what Autism is and how it can be handled and treated. By doing their own in-depth research, working with their child’s teachers, counselors, therapists and their network of family and friends, plus utilizing the resources they discover online and in the community that are available to them, a parent can gain a wealth of knowledge and tools to use while raising and teaching their autistic child.