“Some news comes happier than the others, but everything always with a greater reason…”
The diagnosis of the actual condition of any differently-abled child comes with certain challenges that run throughout the lifespan of the child. The responsibility of making him/her feel welcome not only to the society but the family itself is a weight that the family has to bear. And with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) or commonly known as Autism, the weight is as heavy as it gets. But looking for that silver lining is not hard if every member shares the weight and works as one in the name of love.
Families of the spectrum or ones of children with ASD often report high levels of stress. In the view of the members, it’s a normal part of the daily routine as well as the family’s journey through life. It is how each member individually copes with it to assist the whole unit while juggling their own life what matters.
A range of emotions from shock, sadness, anger, denial, loneliness, and acceptance can be the source of stress but it is important to recognize them and know that it is alright to feel them. For parents, these emotions may come due to the failure of expectations placed on the child to engage in the activities as they expect from the other children of the family. In the view of siblings, the behavioral changes of the affected may cause embarrassment and stop them from leading a normal life.
According to studies these challenges maybe due to the following reasons;
- are coming to terms with the diagnosis
- feel overwhelmed by the things they don’t yet know or understand about ASD and what it means for their children
- feel they have little control over the future for their children with ASD
- are having trouble handling their children’s challenging behavior, including how their children interact with others, eat or sleep
- are having trouble navigating the ASD service system, which can be quite complex
- are finding it hard to manage daily life with children with ASD – doing things with a child with ASD can simply take longer and can often be quite frustrating
- worry about who can care for their children with ASD when they need a break.
But is there a light at the end of the tunnel? There certainly is!
The answer lies in optimism and planning. Getting organized by initiating family routines and planning each day, month, and year, in order to satisfy the needs of the affected child as well as other family members, saves unnecessary stress. ASD kids need plenty of love and affection but it’s important not to forget the needs of the other siblings as they too may be passing crucial stages of their childhood. Making time for yourself to fulfill your requirements of a happy life and maintaining family traditions that could possibly be modified to suit your child is equally important.
A strong support system from close relatives and friends can be a great source of satisfaction as everyone working as one to support and restore the balance of the family will help navigate through life optimistically. Engaging in relaxation activities like meditation out of the many that are available can help in relieving the stress as it can be even done together as a whole family. Another line of support can come in reaching out to other families of the spectrum, as they can help share their experience in battling life with ASD. It will also help in coming to terms that you’re not alone.
Most of all, positive thinking is key. Both individually and as a family, making the presence of the ASD child a strength is the answer to rising up and surviving the hurdles of life.
Not all families get to be part of the spectrum, consider it a blessing in disguise. In the end what is left is family and love conquers all challenges.
Spectra is our very own project organized both to spread awareness and provide a helping hand to members of the spectrum. Keep up with our frequent posts to get to know the facts and myths about autism.
By Rtr. Tharini Cabraal.