Family Stress And Autism Spectrum Disorder

There is a tendency for families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to experience big-time stress. However, don’t worry – they can be managed.


How Stress Impacts Families


People cope with stress differently, so there’s no proper way to react to a child with ASD. But what is appropriate is to understand the feelings of each other.


Feelings Of Stress 


People typically feel different emotions, which may cause stress. Feelings like these are normal and part of the process.


Various Family Members And Different Feelings 


Having different feelings in reference to the members of the family can also be a source of stress and affect relationships within the group. Mothers may be more stressed because they are the ones who care for the child whereas fathers feel stressed because of the child’s behavior. The siblings of ASD children can also feel stress, and often it’s because they’re embarrassed by the fact that their sibling is “autistic.” Extended family members can become stressed too just by watching.


Common Causes Of Family Stress


The families of children with ASD are more likely to experience stress because of the following:



  • Having to accept the diagnosis
  • Being overwhelmed 
  • Losing control over their child’s future
  • Having to deal with challenging behavior 
  • Complex ASD service systems
  • Difficulty in managing life with ASD children
  • Who will care for the child when a parent wants to rest?


How to Avoid Stress If You Have A Child With ASD


Stress is normal, but you should know how to manage it. Here are tips on how to handle your stress while dealing with a child with autism spectrum disorder:


  1. Getting Organized


People tend to feel stressed if they feel like they don’t have control. Find control by putting routines into your family or adjusting your previous habits.


  1. Look After Yourself 


Make sure to give yourself some time off from taking care of the child.



  1. Keep Family Traditions Going


Continuing traditions can provide your family with stability and lessen your stress. However, you might need to modify according to your child’s behavior or liking.


Positive Ways To Cope With Stress


Learn how to cope with stress positively and healthily. Always have a positive perspective and keep calm when facing difficulty.


  1. Healthy Support System


Ask for information and help from family and friends, especially if your child is diagnosed with ASD.


  1. Talking To Yourself And Having a Positive Mind 


Thinking and talking to yourself positively will always be an excellent way to cope with stress. Instead of having negative thoughts about your parenting, think of words like, “I can do this.” Give yourself daily pep talks and positivity will become a part of your life.


  1. Breathing Strategies for Relaxation


Doing breathing and muscle relaxation techniques can be a great way to keep your stress at bay. Do them immediately once you notice the signs. Take some time, maybe about 10 minutes, in your day to meditate. 


Strategies For Challenging Behaviour 


Know what triggers your child’s challenging behavior to avoid it. Stick to the methods that work on your child already. If they’re not responding, find out why. You can always ask your early intervention provider for help.


Other Stress Management Tips From Parents Of Children With ASD


Here are some successful stress management tips that parents have tried:



  • Prepare for stressful situations
  • Learn more about what affects your child’s development
  • Not all parents have the same experiences 
  • Stay connected with similar families
  • There will be times of stress, and you have to accept it


An Autistic Adult’s Life Challenge: Coping With Stress From Work

Anxiety and stress are a constant for most of us. But this is also inevitable for adults with autism, especially if they desire to work, or need to earn to thrive and live with their condition. Although we may be more capable of handling ourselves when we are face to face with problems, we can only imagine how these autistic adults struggle to keep up with their fellow employees, or perhaps excel and become the employee of the month – or year. 


I have experienced this first-hand, when Allison became my workmate and friend in the editing company that I am currently working in. Ally has what we know as Asperger Syndrome, a component of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), which is considered to be at the high-functioning end of the spectrum. She is usually happy, carefree and comfortable, but definitely not a year ago when she was new. 


Common Behaviors Seen in Adults with Asperger Syndrome


Ally, on her first months of work, used to act really awkward around us. She would prefer eating by herself and I would find her discussing a project by herself as well. It took her about two months to try to see me eye to eye, and she’d be shy one minute then be hyperactive the next. She also used to be very shy and I could see how difficult it was for her to socialize with us, as she had limited verbal skills and spoke repetitively most of the time. These are among the most common symptoms one can witness in an adult with Asperger Syndrome.


Support And Services Available For People With Asperger Syndrome


After a few months, management decided to provide support for Ally through various types of therapy. She proved to be capable and efficient but just needed help in coping with her emotional and mental health issues, including stress and anxiety. 



  • Social Support From Co-Employees and Management



I am proud to say that I belong to a supportive and sympathetic management. They made it easier for Ally to work efficiently by modifying her workplace, e.g. placing her in a more quiet office where she has somewhere to relax and be herself. She was also given a more precise set of instructions and a list of her assignments for the week, which was displayed on her table where she can see it every time she forgets or loses focus.

As for me, as a co-employee, I assist her with some of her reports and provide positive feedback by complimenting her work, which is mostly excellent. One time, our photocopy machine didn’t function and she just got so worried and panicked. So I helped her relax and led her to the next floor to use the working machine there. She sometimes gets confused and less sure of her performance so I always make time to comfort her in her ‘chaotic’ moments.



  • Talk Therapy



This type of therapy has various forms, one of which is cognitive behavioral therapy, apopular and effective treatment for people with Asperger Syndrome. It works by regulating the individual’s feelings and impulses, which is done through changing her negative thoughts into more positive and healthy ones. Many experts testify the effectiveness of utilizing CBT in coping with autistic adults’ stress and anxiety. 



  • Speech Therapy and Social Skills Training



Because Ally was exceptional at her editing job but had trouble communicating with her workmates and heads, we encouraged her to try speech therapy. It helped her a great deal in learning how to improve the way she speaks and the way she verbalizes her thoughts. Individuals with Asperger Syndrome usually have trouble understanding certain gestures and figures of speech, and this is also one of the many goals of social skills training.


Bottom Line


People like Ally not only learn from those who don’t have Asperger Syndrome, but undoubtedly I have learned much from her too. We both have recognized the fact that autistic or not, we need each other under the same or different circumstances in life – because they have much to teach us as well. 


Ways To Afford The Consultations With A Psychiatrist


If we’re honest, looking after an autistic child is not as physically and emotionally taxing as other individuals may think. Their melt-down moments may be extreme, for sure, but that’s because something triggers the reaction more often than not. Once you take that factor out of the way, the kid can be reasonably easy to handle.

What may be difficult to deal with, especially for families with regular earnings, is the financial needs of a child with autism. The disease, after all, is not like the flu that will disappear after a few days of medication. You most likely have to book consultations with a psychiatrist every month or so for the rest of their life. Not to mention, it may be necessary to register them for therapy or pay for long-term medication to make their days extra manageable.

If you worry that your income won’t suffice to support your autistic child’s unique needs, below are the ways to increase your chances of affording psychiatric help.

  1. Rebuild Your Budget Plan


The first tip is to inspect where the family’s money goes after each paycheck. Considering most of the amount covers your kid’s medical bills, then skip to advice #2. But in case only a quarter of your savings go there, and you spend the rest on shopping and other over-pampering activities, it’s time to re-evaluate your financial plan.

In particular, focus on the things you need more than the ones you want. What should be at the peak of your priorities is the mental health assistance that your autistic child deserves to get. A new smartphone or a pair of shoes belong to the latter, for instance, and can wait until you have enough cash to purchase it. 

  1. Reach Out To Organizations

It is unwise to assume that only a small number of people understand what your family is going through right now. In truth, a lot of folks across the globe are well aware of how financially difficult it is to sustain the medical care given to a child with autism. Hence, you’ll be able to identify various non-profit organizations that will be willing to help you treat your kid.

  1. Check Out Alternative Treatments

Psychiatrists and other mental health professionals created videos, podcasts, and self-help books for individuals who want to learn about specific neurological disorders. You may seek one or two of them to figure out how to assist your autistic child daily. This way, the counseling sessions may not need to extend for months.

Alternatively, you can inquire with the psychiatrist whether changing the kid’s diet may improve their condition. Look for someone who can teach them relaxation methods too, or consider therapies that will detoxify their body or normalize their sleep.

  1. Speak With Your Insurance Provider


Last but not the least, it won’t hurt to get in touch with your insurance provider to know if they can cover your son or daughter’s mental health bills. Although you won’t find many companies that offer this service, the one you’re currently with may be among the handful of businesses that does it.

In case you already asked a few times,and the insurance agent’s answer stays negative, then you still have four other options to try. What matters is that you found out about it in person instead of relying on rumors.


Autism is no longer a hush-hush subject.It’s not too hard now to come across individuals who can lend a hand and solve your problems.Thus, not having a stable source of income isn’t enough reason to stop your child’s appointments with a psychiatrist.

Learning More About Children With Low-Functioning Autism

Explaining low-functioning autism.


Low-functioning autism is categorized on the more rigid boundary of ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder. Kids identified with this kind of disorder require more help, care, and understanding to finish their everyday “tasks.” Why? Children with low-functioning autism find it very difficult to connect and cope with their manners and actions. 


Indications are characteristically recognizable in babyhood or during the formative years, as those identified with the disorder will have neurodevelopmental delays like communicating or verbal skill, realizing how to soothe himself, or making friends and create relationships with family and other people.

Actions of a child with low-functioning autism.


Young ones who have low-functioning autism are not the same with mentally healthy children who can do simple tasks. They cannot just merely complete normal things like taking a shower, eating or dressing up by himself, going out on his own, and the likes. The need aid with most of their activities. 


We are talking about issues with communication and expression and how a child with low-functioning autism behaves. More to that, low functioning autism might have a significant impact on a child’s physical help which pertains to general comorbid illnesses


The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) firmly states that the living situation and hereditary traits ascertain the autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Even though they accept that autism spectrum disorder is a prevalent developmental disorder, the NINDS mentions that there is an accumulative extent of treatment preferences and possibilities accessible, particularly for children who are severely affected with autism.


The usual signs and symptoms of low-functioning autism in children.


  1. Children with low-functioning autism are not that socially-equipped. Interactions with other kids and even their own family are mostly awkward with them. Some kids with the disorder develop a few communication skills as they grow up. Those with the severe kind of autism, they usually don’t overcome the deficiency.

2. Kids who have low-functioning autism may also display signs and symptoms of OCD or obsessive-compulsive disorder, and anxiety disorder. With this, the children will want to play by themselves and line up their toys. They will also play in a “weird” kind of way, and it will be hard for them to control the impulses. Children with severe low-functioning autism are often impatient and can’t sit-and-wait. They want to move around a lot.


3. These children have issues with sensory processing. Some of them don’t like to be touched or hugged. Clumsiness and non-coordination are also observed among low-functioning autism children. They are sometimes stiff and are very picky food eaters as they are hyper-sensitive on food texture.


If you see two or three of the indications mentioned above regarding your child, then, it is highly likely that he or she has low-functioning autism. You have to consult specialists to address the issues of your child as early as possible. You will need the help of a child psychologist, child psychiatrist, and a neurodevelopmental pediatrician. They will tell you which proper action or treatments are necessary for your child. The experts may suggest speech therapy, occupational therapy, and educational therapy, among others.





Autism, like many other medical conditions, has over the years become a major research focus for researchers in most part of the world. Based on available reports, in the United States of America alone, one in forty-two boys and one in eighty-nine girls suffer from autism. There are around seven hundred thousand people in the United Kingdom living with autism.

While there is no known cure for this condition, continued research and innovations are carried out to fully understand and put an end to this condition. Theories and therapies change all the time, and it is important for parents, teachers, and caregivers to stay up to date on the latest research trends. 


According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), the ongoing research on Autism Spectral Disorder (more commonly dubbed “ASD”) covers seven core areas which seek to provide answers about:


  • The process by which autism occurs in a child
  • The factors that  could cause autism and possible methods of prevention
  • How to implement changes in the current infrastructure to take care of autistic individuals
  • How autistic individuals go about their day lives from birth till adulthood.
  •  The accessibility and effectiveness of autism care and services. 
  • The necessity for early autism diagnosis
  • Potential cures and promising inventions and treatments for autism


Trends In The Biological Process Of Autism


Based on the reports of IACC, it is estimated that about thirty-eight percent (38%) of autism research is centered on the biological process of autism. This involves carrying out experiments that will help understand how and why autism occurs. This is to help understand the relationship between autism and other health conditions, genetic mutations, and neurological functions. 


Research On Risk Factors


This area focuses on the likely causes that may lead a child down the autistic path. Researchers theorize that the two main factors that lead to autism are environmental factors and genetic make ups.


A study carried out discovered that about twelve percent of mothers of autistic children expressed antibodies that are thought to possibly attack the brain of the fetus during pregnancy. This experiment was replicated in pregnant rhesus monkeys and the offspring also had ASD. 


Research on the Lifespan of ASD patients


This area of ASD research has been sparsely explored as it has been reported that only about Four percent of the autism research is focused on this field. A recent research suggested that employment should be offered to autistic adults rather than offering them day care services.


Diagnosis of Autism


As a parent or a concerned loved one, it is imperative to know when you should have your child diagnosed for Autism Spectral Disorder. Eleven percent of the ongoing research focuses specifically on the area of Autism diagnosis. Various research efforts are being made and several equipment are under construction to ensure that autism can be diagnosed as early as possible. 


On The Area Of Infrastructure And Surveillance


The research concentration on infrastructure and surveillance of ASD seems to be the lowest as it has been reported that only about three percent of research is focused on creating awareness, public education on certain risk factors and peculiarities of specific societies and culture.


So Is There Hope In The Future?


As of this moment, there is no known cure for Autism Spectral Disorder. However, it is not from lack of trying. According to IACC, about nineteen percent of the total ASD research is focused on new treatments, innovations, and interventions for autism. This research field covers various aspects that encompasses everything from novel drug treatments to behavioral therapies. Various forms of play and activities have been identified to help children make progress with autism.


Though we are still far from developing a cure to end autism, there is endless optimism that one day soon, the genetic disorder will be a thing of the past.

Preparing your teen with Autism Spectrum Disorder for the adult world


As parents, all we want to do for our children is to raise them in a way that they can grow into confident and competent adults. This can be challenging enough in itself, but when you have a child who experiences difficulties with speech, social integration and some problematic behaviours this can become even more overwhelming. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is unfortunately not something that people can grow out of and is a lifelong disorder. However, with support and good preparation, children with this disorder can grow into confident and successful adults. 

As a parent there are a few things you can do to set them up for the adult world and make this transition easier for them. 

1) First, know what is involved


Early in your child’s life try and consider what things they might need to be able to do if you were not there. This can range from basic tasks such as cooking, cleaning and being able to buy groceries (involving simple maths) to more complicated tasks. 

2) Know where your child is at

Get a good understanding of your child’s unique strengths and weaknesses and what they want out of life. This will help you to focus on strengthening the areas that are going to be most important to them as adults, opposed to focusing on things that they probably don’t really need or are not concerned with. For example, when it comes to leaving school, knowing how to cook and clean for themselves is likely going to be more important than knowing Pythagoras theorem. 

3) Set tasks


Based on the skills you feel will be important for them to have in adulthood, set up a checklist of tasks to help establish these skills. These should be realistic and based around your child’s unique abilities. 

A nice example to spark some ideas can be found here:

Be aware that not all of these tasks will be appropriate for your child depending on their strengths and weaknesses, but it provides a nice place to start when considering what they might need to be able to do. Approaching adulthood with a good understanding of your child’s strengths and weaknesses and setting realistic goals for them will help to improve their confidence, self-efficacy and reduce setbacks overall.

4) Encourage decision-making


Try and gradually involve your child more and more in the decisions that involve them (a good time to start this is around grade 9 and 10 at school). This might look like helping them choose their elective subjects at school, meeting with the school counsellor together and them having input around their extracurricular activities.

5) Consider employment opportunities

Around Grade 10 is a good time to begin considering options for your child after school. Again you will need to consider their strengths and weaknesses as well as their interests. You may be able to approach some local businesses and discuss a volunteering or trainee position. This not only helps them to get used to the working world, but also helps them to try out a variety of career options and see what inspires them. 

6) Fill in the gaps

There may be some areas where your child might struggle with some of  the tasks required for independent living. This is where government and community support comes in. Before your child finishes school, gain a good understanding of what support will be available to them as an adult and try and utilise this to fill in any gaps between the tasks required and their abilities. This can be a joint task with your child as involving them in this process will give them an introduction to many of the services they will likely be dealing with as an adult. 

7) Always have a plan B

One of the most important lessons you can teach your children is that sometimes, despite all the planning things just may not work out. Be prepared to show this yourself through the planning process and try to have some back up options available where appropriate. By continuing to have a flexible and positive approach to your child becoming an adult, they will feel more competent themselves and feel confident in being able to tackle the adult world.  

8) Finally, be prepared to take a step back

Remember that the key outcome from this stage in life is that your child becomes as independent as possible. This means that although you’ve probably given them lots of guidance and support through their life, you need to begin to take a step back and allow them to learn and do things themselves to develop this independence. As with all the other steps above, this again needs to be done while paying mind to your child’s strengths and weaknesses. 

If you would like a professional assessment for your child and further guidance on what support they might need in the next stage of their life, counselling may be helpful. Contact your GP for further information on how to access a psychological professional. For further information on moving into the adult world when you experience ASD, please see the following links.  



Autism Spectrum Disorder: Getting rid of the stigma


Stigma is a horrible and harmful thing. If you are seen as different, people can be rude, unwelcoming or just downright cruel. If you have a child who experiences Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) I’m sure you would have experienced some level of stigma in your lives. You have likely been through a time where you and your child have been judged, ridiculed, criticised and even ostracised. This type of behaviour can be extremely hurtful and over time it can cause depression, shame and impact self-esteem and confidence. 

Some parents may even hesitate to take their children to be assessed for ASD because they are worried about “labelling” their child and introducing them and their family to the stigma attached to such a diagnosis. The problem with this though is that it won’t help your child either. If they truly do have ASD, then they will continue to experience the symptoms and difficulties that come along with this diagnosis, but due to a lack of proper assessment and diagnosis they are unlikely to get any support for these difficulties which can hinder their overall development. 


So what can we do?

We work to reduce the stigma around ASD (and other developmental and mental health concerns while we’re at it!)

There are 4 ways we can do this, first have a really strong understanding of what ASD is and educate others about this, know and show others that there is more to a person than this label, show others some of the ways ASD can be positive and finally advocate for ASD. 

1) Know what ASD is:

Much of the stigma that exists around ASD has been created from fear and misconceptions. Unfortunately, as humans what we do not understand, we fear. Although ASD is becoming more widely known, it is still rarely completely understood. This is certainly understandable given that even the professionals are still making discoveries in ASD research. However, there is enough research to put to bed some of the concerns of other parents such as the fear that their child will “catch” ASD from your child or that they will learn their “bad behaviours”. With a better understanding of exactly what ASD is and what causes it, we can dispel many of these myths. Rather than approaching such stigma with anger, try and see each of these times as an opportunity to educate someone on ASD. For a more detailed understanding on what ASD is, head over to our other page [What is Autism Spectrum Disorder]. 

2) Know your child is more than the ASD:

Remember the “S” in ASD? This stands for spectrum and means that not everyone with ASD will experience the same symptoms or the same level of difficulties. Unfortunately often people will mentally put every child with a diagnosis of ASD into the same category in their mind. Then all they see when they see your child is their preconceived ideas of a group of symptoms and disorders that may not even apply to them!

Although they may identify with the ASD diagnosis, it does not entirely make them. Try and identify what makes your child unique outside of their diagnosis and highlight this to others. 

3) Know the positives

We all know the negative aspects of ASD by now, but have you considered that some of the symptoms of ASD can actually have positive affects? 



For example, 

  • When something falls within the area of special interest for the person experiencing ASD they can show strong concentration and passion towards this. This can make them hard workers when placed in the right career. 
  • People experiencing ASD can have a very keen eye for detail and can be somewhat perfectionistic. This means that the work they produce can be of a very high standard. 
  • People experiencing ASD can also be very creative thinkers and the world needs more people who ‘think out of the box’ to progress. 

These are just a few examples of some of the many positives that ASD can bring about for people. If those who are judging or pulling away from your child knew about these positives, they may have a different attitude towards ASD. 

4) Finally, advocate, advocate and advocate some more

Nothing is going to change if we don’t keep working on it. Unfortunately fear and misconceptions spread much faster than anything else so we’ve got our work cut out for us. However, by just changing one person’s view, you may start a ripple of change as they see someone else being judgmental and then pass on the knowledge you gave them. More and more support is becoming available because of the wonderful work people have done to advocate for ASD but further support and better overall attitudes towards ASD is required so the more you advocate, the closer we get to a more accepting and supportive culture for ASD. 

For further information on ASD and reducing stigma, please see the links below. 


What is Autism Spectrum Disorder


Your child may have just been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (also known as ASD) or you may have heard the teacher mention it. Your child might have a friend with ASD or you may just have some concerns about how your child is developing socially. A good place to begin in any of these situations is to first have a good understanding of what ASD is. 

So what is ASD?


Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental condition that is experienced over the length of the person’s life. This means that it is a condition where for some reason, the brain of the person has not developed in a particular way. ASD is a spectrum disorder which means that there is a spectrum (or scale) that involves a variety of symptoms and each person can present differently depending on where on the spectrum they sit and what particular symptoms make up their version of ASD. Typically though, ASD involves difficulties with communication, sensory behaviours and repetitive and restricted interests and behaviours. 

What are the symptoms of ASD?


As mentioned above, each person with ASD can present differently depending on what particular symptoms they are experiencing and where on the spectrum they sit. The symptoms though can be divided into three areas:

  1. Communication – people experiencing ASD will often communicate in a different way than those not experiencing ASD and this can be seen through:
  • Delays in their development of verbal communication. This can range from only being able to communicate through sound opposed to structured sentences, to just developing language skills at a later age than others. Often speech therapy can assist with this.
  • One-sided conversations – they may struggle to speak about things outside of their own interests and it may be difficult to redirect them to other topics. 
  • Unusual conversation styles – they learn a lot of their language and social cues through television and movies. This means they may often repeat phrases or lines from shows or movies or may even speak in a accent when not appropriate (such as an American accent when they are not American).

2. Social development – people experiencing ASD often struggle to make and maintain relationships and this can be due to:

  • Difficulty understanding and demonstrating appropriate non-verbal communication. Examples include showing minimal eye contact through conversations or not being able to pick up on some of the cues given out when people are uncomfortable or don’t want to talk (such as turning away with arms crossed). 
  • Difficulties understanding emotions expressed by others and understanding their own emotions. 
  • A lack of interest in interacting or playing with others. 


3. Behaviour – people experiencing ASD can often experience either hypersensitivity (over-sensitive) or hyposensitivity (under-sensitive) to their environment. Due to this they may interact with the environment in unusual ways to try and manage their sensitive. Such as: 

  • Repetitive and unusual body movements (e.g. hand flapping). 
  • Repetitive use of objects (e.g. opening and closing doors repetitively).
  • Engaging in objects in a sensory manner (such as smelling things you would not normally smell, rubbing things on their face or skin etc). 
  • Becoming overwhelmed when provided with a lot of sensory information (such as at a concert, or shopping centre or amusement park). 
  • Difficulties with particular sounds or textures (such as the dryer or the feeling of towels on skin). 

What causes ASD?



It is difficult to pin point exactly what causes ASD, but they have found that there is some genetic links to ASD. It is important to know that ASD cannot be caused by anything you as the parent have done. It is also important to know that within extensive research, there have been no links found between vaccinations and the development of ASD. 

Diagnosing ASD:

It is important to remember that not everyone experiencing ASD will have the exact symptoms described above and the severity of these symptoms can vary also. ASD can be detected as early as 2 years old or as late and early adulthood depending on the symptoms and their severity. Due to this and the way that ASD works it is not diagnosed on a single factor. Often a specialist will gather information from you as the parent, they will observe your child personally and looks at a variety of areas of their development. 

If you have concerns about your child it is important that you see a specialist. You may be afraid of “labelling” your child, but without the right assistance children with ASD can become isolated, struggle educationally and socially and have difficulty learning to manage their emotions. With an appropriate diagnosis supports can be put in place at home and at school to assist your child to develop to the best of their ability. 

For further information on ASD and raising children experiencing ASD, please see the links below. 



Basics of Autism

What is Autism?

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that mainly affects the person’s communication and social skills. It is characterized by rigid and repetitive behaviors and is neurological and behavioral, in nature.  It occurs in 1 of 45 children in the United States alone and also occurs four times more in boys than in girls.  

ASD begins early in childhood and can persist to adolescence and adulthood. There are some great outcomes that enable the person to live independently, but some may have severe disabilities requiring lifelong support.


What are the signs and symptoms?

The term “spectrum” in ASD means that different symptoms may appear between persons with the disorder. As for the severity of the symptoms, it varies greatly. Below are the more common symptoms of ASD.

The following signs may suggest your child is at risk for ASD:

  • Difficulty in eye contact
  • Prefers to be alone
  • Delayed language development
  • Repetitive behaviors ( example: flapping, pacing, rocking and spinning)
  • Lack of empathy or difficulty in relating to other people
  • Repeats phrases countless times
  • Difficulty in listening 
  • Difficulty in communicating and expressing themselves


The information shared above is not meant to diagnose your child, but if you notice  these red flags, it is best to seek assistance from a healthcare provider specializing in ASD for proper evaluation of your child’s condition.


How early can you diagnose Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Signs and symptoms usually appear between 2 to 3 years of age, but in some cases symptoms show as early as 18 months old. Remember that early evaluation and intervention can improve the outcome of your child.


What are the causes of Autism?

Exact cause of Autism is still unknown, but below are the potential reasons:

  • Genetics, experts believe that autism runs in the family or in the genes
  • Rubella or German Measles in pregnant women
  • Environmental factors such as pesticides and mercury


Treatment for Autism?

There is no known “cure” for Autism however; early diagnosis and intervention can greatly improve the child’s development or potential.  The goal of the treatment is not to cure ASD but to maximize your child’s functional independence and quality of life. Management of a child with autism involves multiple approaches such as:

  • Behavioral training
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Medicine for added behavioral conditions like depression, anxiety and hyperactivity, if needed

Remember, early screening of your child can make an enormous improvement in his development.


What are the socio – economic impacts of ASD?

You need to understand that a person with autism will require support and guidance from their parents, family or caregiver due to their limited abilities. Some may even require lifelong support depending on the severity of their disabilities. 

Because of the disabilities attached to ASD, there is stigma and discrimination for some. Because of that, they may feel isolated from the society or community.  The responsibility of taking care of a person with ASD is also highly demanding, emotionally and financially.  The doctor’s consultation, the therapies and all programs needed for the treatment of this condition can be very expensive. Good thing, there are now non-profit organizations, family grants and government financial support that can assist you.

It is normal to have fears for your child’s future. Remember that you are not alone, and that there are social and health services that you can reach out to with your child’s condition that somehow extend some support and assistance. 


How do you cope when your child is diagnosed with Autism?


It is true that all parents want nothing but the best for their child. They will do everything to make their child live a happy and healthy life and no parent will ever be prepared for the news that their child is diagnosed with Autism.  It is a very frightening situation for anyone. You may feel scared and unsure of what do best for your child. Sometimes, you ask yourself how you can help as a parent.

 A lot of unsolicited advice will be given and it will just confuse you.  People around you may say that ASD is “incurable” and is a lifelong burden, but know that there are now treatments that can significantly make improvements in your child, in terms of the developmental and behavioral aspect.  With proper care, management, love and support, your child can still learn, develop and grow – high functioning, and all.


Things you can do to help your child

Aside from the treatment plan, therapies and programs suggested by specialists, as a parent, what else can you contribute with your child’s well-being?

First, allow yourself to cry. 

Yes, be sad and emotional whenever you feel you need to. Give yourself time to grieve and absorb everything. Afterwards, remember to pick yourself up.  Know that you have a child that needs you and your support. If you feel that everything feels too much, open up with your partner or family, they too are there to help you in this long journey.   

Educate yourself

Learn everything you can about Autism. The more equipped you are about the disorder, the more that you can help your child improve in his condition. Ask everything that bothers you with your child’s condition to the right people, your health care provider, physicians and therapists.  Research about the treatment choices available. Remind yourself that some may work or some may not and you, as the parent, knows what is best for your child.

Find a good team of specialists

The treatment and management of Autism can’t be done by a single health care provider. You may need to get in touch with several doctors and therapists. 


Your presence is important

Prepare yourself for this life long journey.  You as the parent will be the strongest anchor that your child can hang on to. Be strong for your child. Participate and learn from the therapies that you will bring your child to. 


Ask for help

Allow yourself to take a break once in awhile. Go outside and take a walk. Let your mind and body breathe. As they say this is a lifelong journey that may exhaust and drain all that you are.. Always remind yourself that you do not have to do this alone.  You can talk to and open up to your family. Ask help whenever you feel you need to. Give yourself that.