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Coping with Autism – part 2


There is also always the fear of reduced attention to the siblings of the child with autism because of the time commitment involved. Although research suggests that siblings of a child with autism are often well adjusted themselves, one cannot ignore the normal child, thus adding to the demands on the time and resources of the caregivers. Further, sometimes the sibling may not understand the complexity of this disorder and may react in ways that complicate the caregiving for him as well as the child with autism. Parents need to compartmentalise their time so that no child feels left out because of increased attention to the other.

A major challenge faced by parents is management of finances. Having a child with autism exacts huge financial pressure on the breadwinners of the house. There is a lot of administrative paperwork involved, high costs of screening and diagnostic assessments, and finally a huge per annum cost of treatment. Early intervention is crucial in case of autism and that leads to a high cost. Further, autism is a lifelong disability, which further increases the total cost of treatment.

Finally, parents fear about how their child will live once they are no more, leading to a sense of losing out on time and a lot of panic.

Lets’ look at professionals who can be approached, in case, you suspect your child may have autism.

  • Paediatrician: Your child’s doctor can do a basic developmental screening and may refer you to relevant others, if needed.
  • Child Psychiatrist: can help with the diagnosis & treatment of mental disorders in children.
  • Child psychologist: can assess the mental health problems of your child and come up with effective interventions to tackle those.
  • Developmental paediatrician: can assess the suspected developmental delays in cognitive, language and motor skills.
  • Speech-Language Pathologist: can assess and treat verbal and nonverbal communication and pragmatics.
  • Occupational Therapist: will focus on sensory issues, fine motor skills, play, and social and personal skills required for independent living.

To conclude, it can be said, that though the world of autism may appear bleak and full of challenges for the child as well as his parents and family, it can also be a very positive and enriching experience. Seeking intervention at the earliest sign and managing the resources at hand, will ease the difficulties.

 

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Shobhika Jaju is a NET qualified psychologist who would love to be reborn as a shrink every single time. She is the founder of Silver Linings: Guidance & Counselling Centre, in South Goa, & hence is effectively putting her love for psychotherapy & her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology to good use. Shobhika also works at Little’s School, Fatorda (Goa) & writes for several print and online media on a regular basis. She facilitates workshops on topics promoting personal enhancement & spreading mental health awareness. She is affiliated to the American Psychological Association, Bombay Psychological Association, Goa Psychological Association & the Movement for Global Mental Health. Her website can be accessed at silverliningsgoa.com.


4 thoughts on “Coping with Autism – part 2

  1. krishna

    Very well explained Shobika.I have always felt that acceptance and wholehearted effort breaks every limitation a person can have.A shift from feeling helpless to being empowered changes so much.I really hope that the coming years see more support groups and inclusive lifestyles everywhere.

    Reply
    1. shobhika

      Hello Krishna,

      I feel very positive that in the coming years awareness about autism and related conditions will only improve. There is a lot of work happening in this field and the future in very bright. ;)

      Reply
    2. shobhika

      Hello Dr. Shenoy

      You have rightly pointed out that parents need a great deal of counselling to come to terms with the diagnosis of Autism. That is why, it is imperative that test results and the diagnosis be communicated with a lot of sensitivity. I usually explain about the condition and its various manifestations before going on to communicating the diagnosis to the concerned people and it does help.

      Reply
  2. Dr Sulata Shenoy

    To hear a diagnosis of autism can be devastating to any parent. Typically, the parent goes through the stages of denial, blame, guilt and anger/depression. The question of ‘Why me?’ or ‘Why my child’ may haunt the parent for a long time. As much as the child needs therapies, the parents too need counseling in coming to terms with the situation and help in developing a positive and proactive outlook which will help the child improve.

    Reply

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