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.