CASA of Arizona

Autism - pg. 5

Coping



aising a child with autism is a very difficult and stressful task. The strain that it can put on a family is tremendous. An Autistic child requires almost constant supervision and their behavior can adversely effect everyone around them.

Siblings may become super achievers to get their share of the attention--or they may seek negative pursuits, for the same reason. This results from the siblings feeling that they do not get any attention compared to how much time the parents spend with their autistic sibling. Parents need to give their children a safe place to keep their personal belongs and have their own space, so they do not feel that the autistic child gets to have everything. The siblings need to have a private room to go to and not have to deal with their autistic brother or sister. Most important though is for the parents to be sure to spend quality time with their other children. This may require having a close relative or trained baby-sitter to watch the autistic child while the rest of the family has a night out for fun activities.

Autism can be very hard on a marriage. Parents lose almost all of their personal time because of the care their autistic child requires. This can lead to depression, withdrawal of one parent from the care giving, and even divorce or abandonment. Parents need to support each other by making sure to set aside time just for themselves. They also must make sure that they discuss what they have to deal with on a daily basis. If the parents are having problems coping with all of the stress, they need to recognize their limitations and seek professional help. When people are under constant stress, small problems can fester and lead to resentment or angry outbursts. Such problems can only weaken a marriage and add more stress. Parents also must not be afraid to go out in public. Isolating themselves from the surrounding world will only make them feel more alone in dealing with their autistic child.

There are many organizations able to give advice, counseling, and support to families dealing with autism.


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