October 22, 2021

Contra Mare

Slick Healthy

MY FAMILY IS DIFFERENT: THE IMPACT OF AUTISM ON THE FAMILY

A diagnosis of Autism relationships is not only changes the life of the diagnosed child, but also that of the family members. 

Today is the International Day of Families, which is celebrated on May 15 of each year to raise awareness about the fundamental role of families in the education of children from early childhood. families of people with autism experience this day in a different way.

Parents of a child with autism have to endure a lot of stress due to complicated schedules for therapy, home treatments, and work responsibilities and family commitments. There is of course also an undeniable financial stress from therapies and treatments (some studies put the cost of therapies and treatments at an annual cost for the family in excess of $ 20,000 per child, depending on whether the therapies and treatments or supports are or not subsidized).

Having a child with autism affects the impact on various aspects of family life, including cleanliness, finances, the emotional and mental health of the parents, marital relationships, the physical health of family members, limiting the response to the needs of other children within the family, poor sibling relationships, relationships with relatives, friends and neighbors, and in recreational and leisure activities.  

Numerous studies that have been done on this topic show what many families already know: children with autism face a variety of challenges that can have a significant negative impact on the functioning of parents and the family and create significant stress in all members of the family. Thus, social and communication deficits affect all family members. Emotionally and financially, families are exhausted. 

ASD can clearly have a potential impact on the child and the functioning of the entire family, even as parents of children with ASD have a higher divorce rate than parents who do not have a child with a disability. growth.

The binomial stress of parents and behavior of children with autism

Our actions are the consequences of our thoughts and emotions. The relationship between stress and behavior problems in children with autism appears to be reciprocally related, such that elevated childhood behavior problems lead to increased parental stress. Parental stress is not only an increase in behavior problems, it also has an adverse effect on the results of behavioral interventions. There are some important factors that are associated with parental stress in children with autism, including feelings of loss of personal control, lack of spousal support, informal and professional support. High levels of distress have been found in up to 70{4308aaa3d6c58579592c487df37120127b0a7852d67136d7415ef9fe1ab3d624} of mothers and 40{4308aaa3d6c58579592c487df37120127b0a7852d67136d7415ef9fe1ab3d624} of fathers of children with severe disabilities.

The stress of parents

Generally speaking, fathers and mothers manage stress in a different way:

Maternal stress: Stress is a natural practice and is related to raising children. This stress is also associated with the household chores of caring for a child and is related to ASD and other developmental disorders. In general, the studies analyzed have shown that, although mothers are involved in caring for their children all the time, they face more challenges than fathers (loneliness, higher rates of depression, difficulties in pursuing their professional careers due to the excessive demand for time to take care of the child, shame of not understanding the condition of autism and its symptoms, loss of relationships between family members due to the laborious task of taking care of their children, relatives and friends… etc).

The stress of the father: According to studies carried out, the parents of children with autism have lower rates of stress and indicate that they are repressing their feelings most of the time at the cost of anger ( Gray DE. Gender and coping: The parents of children with high functioning autism. Soc Sci Med. 2003; 56 (3): 631-642 .). 

But beyond the gender differences that are also related to the roles that are established in each family, stressful events in the life of families with autism are very common, such as divorce, separation, moving, the death of a family member, economic, employment or legal problems that contribute to the detriment of family functioning. Parents of autistic children may experience the following:

  • Shame about your children’s behavior in public.
  • Feeling socially isolated.
  • Frustration at the difference between the parenting experience they are having and the one they had imagined.
  • The guilt of thinking that they may be responsible for their children’s challenges.
  • Despair due to the incurable nature of the disorder.
  • Your child’s resentment and guilt due to resentment.
  • Anger towards themselves, doctors and spouse.
  • Relief because there is a name for your children’s challenges.
  • Feeling overwhelmed

Sibling impact

Having a brother or sister with an ASD alters the normative events of the life cycle. A child with autism also influences his neurotypical siblings. Siblings suffer many of the stresses that other family members face (feelings of shame, conflict or even aggression produced by their brother / sister with autism when they try to interact with them during play …) Also, parents may not They can be fully supportive as they are overwhelmed with meeting the needs and demands of their autistic child.

In families that have children with ASD, as well as siblings that generally develop, it can be a more intense form of sibling rivalry. seen The autistic child’s need for more attention and time can make siblings feel excluded and resentful, in some cases with high levels of loneliness caused by a lack of social support from friends.