Autism and Family Relationships

Autism and Family Relationships

The ripple effect that happens when you have an autistic child is astronomical in terms of family dynamics.
Parents, siblings, grandparents, and extended family members are all affected by autism, 
the dynamics vary from family to family.
Five main areas of family functioning are commonly affected. The degree of challenge may vary depending on the severity of the autism, but the autism-related issues that families have to deal with are similar — whether a child is severely affected or has high-functioning autism.

Issue 1 — Adjusting Parental Expectations

After a diagnosis of autism, parents’ expectations changes,some of these expectations may not have even been verbalized, although they were in the back of parents’ minds. For instance, most parents naturally expect their child to go to college or to pursue a career.
if you spend your life mourning you will never enjoy life and will not be able to make the difference in you can make in your child’s life .

Issue 2 — Worrying About the Siblings of Autistic Children
Whether the child with autism is the first-born, in the middle, or the baby, parents often worry about the effect that dealing with the autism — and the time commitment it involves — will have on the other children. I think most parents bend over backward so it doesn’t affect the other children.
Parents should know that it is a “tremendous adjustment” for a sibling to realize a brother or a sister has autism .It’s important that siblings speak about how they feel.

Issue3– Tending to the marriage 
Dealing with a diagnosis of autism puts a strain on any marriage. Men and women tend to react to the news differently and that can add to the stress.
When the couple reacts differently ,that’s the first crack in the marriage. 
The solution is to make time for each other, which is more easily said than done. Families are already time-strapped dealing with behavioral therapists, many doctor appointments, and above-average financial stress.

Issue 4 — Holding Onto Family Traditions
Family rituals such as vacations, taken for granted before, can become challenging or seemingly impossible for families with an autistic child.
Many people deal with those challenges by opting out, which is a mistake.

Issue 5 — Maintaining a Social Life
Keeping up outside friendships — as a couple and as a family — is healthy. But getting through picnics and parties can be difficult with an autistic child. Many children with autism have trouble with social interactions and changes in routine. Still, parents find a way to cope.

By: Anita Sharma, Founder – AttachAvi Autism Fundation, USA


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