Autism spectrum disorder is a neurological disorder. The family with a member with autism goes through significantly more turbulence than any other family. They have to go through social and personal adaptation to overcome hardships. In this article, we will discuss the impacts autism spectrum disorder might have on a family.
Autism spectrum disorder or ASD is a type of disability that restricts certain actions in individuals for a lifetime. The individual may have social, communicative, or behavioral problems due to autism. The traits of autism vary from person to person. It is estimated that globally about 0.76% of children are diagnosed with autism every year. The rate of autism diagnosis is higher in males than females.
Autism in children can have life-changing impacts on parents, siblings, and other relatives. The person with the disorder requires extra attention and care. The family members, as well as the child with ASD, require mental health counseling. The impacts of ASD are discussed below in detail.
Mental Impact On Parenting
Parenting can be a taxing experience on its own with all the demands and attention required by children. If you have children with ASD, it can naturally seem even more stressful.
The role of the caregiver is crucial with ASD children. The caregiver can get stressed out from work overload. Mothers with ASD children have reported that the soundness of their mental state often remains poor. Depression can also result in families.
To help these parents and children with ASD many people have created groups that are called support groups. Members of these Autism Support groups help out each other in many ways by giving advice and sharing experiences.
Pressure On Marriage
ASD in children can cause strife in marriage. A study showed that parents with children diagnosed with ASD are 9.7% more likely to get divorced than other couples. Parents might find it hard to accept the condition of their children.
The role of caregiver can become stressful due to taxing therapy schedules. Therapy for children is also quite expensive. This might also lead to marital complications.
Stress On The Mother
Mothers of autistic children suffer from stress and depression more than any other member of the family. They usually take up the role of caregiver. Studies have shown that mothers are likely to suffer from insomnia, depression, and stress. These can often be the result of ignorance about the child’s development and also caused by loneliness and lack of social support.
Mothers of children with ASD sometimes have to leave their full-time job as well. This can cause frustration in their life.
Their stress levels often remain high. Mothers with special children go through huge pressure of balancing work and children as the needs of their other children are different.
This can cause additional stress on the mothers because they have to integrate their time accordingly.
Stress On The Father
Fathers endure stress with ASD children too. Care for an ASD child may require a lot of time and effort. As a result, they get less time to socialize with people and suffer from loneliness and depression.
Financial pressure also causes stress. Fathers might express their frustration with anger and drinking. Some families go through tough times due to complications and parents end up separated because of it.
Impact On The Siblings
Siblings of children with ASD go through a tough time adjusting with society outside their family.
Some studies in this regard show that the siblings go through drastic hardships in social adjustment while other studies did not show much impact on it. But most siblings go through adjustment problems with their ASD brother or sister.
It may be emotionally hard for them to engage with their ASD sibling during playtime. Children might also complain about not getting enough attention from their parents.
Having a sibling with ASD also requires a lifetime commitment. This can induce stress as well.
Emotional Impact On Other Family Members
The diagnosis of ASD in a young family member can be very stressful for everyone in the family. Family members may go through feelings of disappointment or embarrassment about the child.
Sometimes distance and loneliness increase between family members due to feelings of resentment. It takes a lot of time to take care of autistic children and they might not get enough time to spend with each other. This can cause increased feelings of loneliness, depression, and anger among the family.
Social Impact Of ASD On A Family
ASD can have strong social impacts on parents and siblings. Parents with children diagnosed with ASD get less social help and support from their friends.
This is because the parenting experience between a family with an ASD child and others vary tremendously. The expectations of parents regarding parenting are not fulfilled. So they suffer from embarrassment or frustration in social settings.
It is also hard to find care centers for children with ASD. Parents have a hard time dealing with ASD children when they go to school because they have special demands. However, these hardships may ease over time once the family gets used to their situation.
Financial Impact On The Family
Families with children diagnosed with ASD have to endure big financial expenses. Most insurance doesn’t cover the expenses for ASD treatment. So parents have to pay for the doctor visits and therapy.
Therapy is very expensive for children with ASD. It is monumental Most families see the expenses as a burden. ASD children require a lot of care and one of the parents has to take-up the role of caregiver. As a result, full-time employment for that parent becomes impossible.
Earnings inevitably are reduced in the family but expenses rise. This financial burden can also cause mental stress in family members.
Having a family member diagnosed with ASD or any incurable disorder can be stressful for the family. Families are caught unprepared by this because it is not what they often expect.
It is important to work on family bonds and the needs of individual members of the family. It is also important to give mental support to each other. Family therapy can aid a lot in this aspect. It is important to remember that hardships with ASD can reduce overtime. Once families get used to the new situation, they will find ways to make things work.