Thestresses of parents of children with autism and thedifferencesbetween them and parents of a typical child
Thestrange behaviors of the autistic children are a major cause ofstress for their parents. In this regard, the parents end up indepression than even the parents of children who have the Downsyndrome. The children suffering from autism barely manage to expresstheir needs to their parents. This puts their parents in acompromising situation given that the parents guess on the needs oftheir ill children. This usually results in many complications. Theparents get depressed than the parents of mentally retarded children.For instance, parents read wrong signals from the crying of a childwith .they are never sure whether the child’s cry indicates hunger,thirst or pain. According to Siegel(2006), the risk paused by the autism victims is also a cause ofstress for their parents. The exhibition of compulsive behavior amongthe autism children threatens the parents and the safety of theirsick children given that the behavior interferes with the learningprocess.
Theautism child also lacks social skills, which makes him dump and boredall the time. This is stressful for the parents because parents wanttheir children to avoid being over-obsessed with their sicksituation. The children also cause stress for parents because of lackof leisure skills. This compels their parents to draft time schedulesfor them all the time. The exercise is demanding given that theparents have extra tasks to accomplish for the families besides theautism child. Moreover, the parents grabble with the lack of sleepfor their children. They are burdened with the task of ensuring thatthe children sleep. Autism also makes the children to avoid foods.Therefore, the parents are also obliged to devise ways of ensuringthat their children ingest a variety of foods for the sake of theirhealth. In this regard, the parents are emotionally drained yet theyhave no option. According to Lawson(2012), autism makes a child unstable to an extent that a child isunable to sit in an upright position. This makes eating difficult.The extra care offered to the affected children makes parents to skipattendance of events. Consequently, marital wrangles erupt. Thisbecomes stressful given that the proximate cause of the maritalissues is the affected child. The extra care the child requiresdenies the parents an opportunity to spend private time together.This majorly affects the mothers given that they get obsessed withtheir children’s condition.
Thelack of experienced physical to watch over the affected childrenwhile the parents are away is also a source of stress. Stigmatizationis stressful for the parents because whenever the affected child istaken to public events for leisure other children giggle at him. Thiscompels the child to be isolated. The move compounds the problem. Thestrange behaviors of the autism children make their parents offended,embarrassed and depressed. The condition causes isolation for theparents given that the parents’ friends and relatives graduallydesert them. The parents’ concern on the future welfare of theirchildren is stressful for them. When the children become adults theywill need someone besides their parents to take care of them.However, the parents are never sure whether other people can providemaximum care for their children (Baron, 2006). Consequently, theparents are usually indifferent on the uncertainties.
Theaspect of finance is crucial with regard to taking care of a childsuffering from autism. The therapy and the overall care offered tothe child require a lot of financial support. This causes financialstrains on many parents. In fact, either of the parents usuallyforgoes his job in order to take care of the child. Consequently,there is shortage of sufficient funds for the child support andtherapy. The remorse and regret of having not sired a typical childstresses the parents because they can do nothing to reverse the stateof the child. This fills the parents with much grief and discomfort.The parents experience grief throughout the life of the childaffected by autism. The bitter reality of their abnormal child dawnson them every time they take the child out for a holiday retreat andother parties. Therefore, the parents inevitably undergo chronicsorrow. The autism child’s unconscious mutilation of his bodyespecially the thumb makes the parents depressed. The extent to whichthe parents feel that their child is undergoing extreme pain andsuffering makes the parents stressed.
Thepermanency of the autism condition is also a great concern for theparents. The parents do not have any hope that someday their childwill be normal. The realization of the permanency of the child’scondition is stressful for the parents. In extreme cases the fatherof the child abandons the family because of the child’s condition.The society never readily accepts the autism condition, which makesstigmatization rampant for the children suffering from autism andtheir parents. The community associates the autistic behavior withwitchcraft and bad omen. The perception is also a source of stressfor the parents given that the perception compromises the parent’sinteraction with the society. Therefore, parents receive low socialsupport from their residential community. The situation leads toself-pity and resentment. The sacrifice of the parents for the sakeof their child’s attention is depressive given that parents arecompelled to forgo many things (Siegel,2008).The difficulty of caring for the child sometimes creates stress forthe parents. However, sometimes the parents feel strongly agreed bythe autistic child’s actions. This also stresses them because thestate of the child does not warrant hunger.
Theparental emotional pain exacerbates the situation because parents arenot expected to feel over-burdened by their child’s condition. Theburden on the family also compounds the problem. All the familymembers’ bedsides the parents feel obliged to offer continuoussupport for the child’s welfare. Consequently, there arisesreluctance with regard to the offering of support for the ill child.The aspect of overprotection for the autistic child burdens theparents because they abandon their normal chores. The parents alsoget pessimistic on the possibility of the development of the autisticchild. The maximum need for the care of the child is also an issuefor the entire family. The intellectual and physical incapacitationof the child renders the child unstable in many aspects of life. Thisposes a bid challenge in the engagement of the environment. Accordingto Baron (2006), the parents of the child get stressed of thevulnerability of their child. The nuances caused by the condition ofautism bothers the parents to an extent that they get depressed. Theweird actions associated with the autistic child are an embarrassmentto the parents. Sometimes the parents are in denial of the reality ofthe condition of the child given the demands of the condition.
Thereare many differences between the parents of the autistic children andthe parents of the typical children. The autistic child parent ispre-occupied with her child’s abnormality while the parent of anormal child is never pre-occupied by his child because the parentreadily delegates the care of the child to the siblings and otherreliable relatives. Additionally, the parents of the autistic childsuffer stigmatization while the parents of the typical child minglecomfortably with the society. There is social isolation for theparent of an autistic child while the typical child parent interactsfreely with the members of society without any fear ofstigmatization. The normal child parent is free to undertake histasks at any time while the autistic child parent is not free topursue his goals and objectives with regard to the running of thefamily. The pre-occupation of the child’s autism condition rendersthe parent emotionally unstable and stressed while the normal childparent is peaceful and sober.
Theother difference between the two sets of parents is that the autisticchild parent is that financially burdened because of the extra carerequired for the ill-child. According to Lawson(2012),the parent of the typical child is not financially constrainedbecause there are minimal financial requirements. The parent of atypical child has optimism on the success of his child. The childdoes not have any medical complication, which may require extraattention. However, the parent of an autistic child is pessimistic ofhis child’s resilience and advancement in life endeavors. Theknowledge that the child is permanently ill is disturbing for theparent. The parent is also overburdened with the stigmatization fromthe community.
Siegel,B. (2008). Gettingthe Best for Your Child with Autism: An Expert`s Guide to Treatment.
NewYork: Guilford Publications.
Lawson,W. (2012). Understandingand working with the spectrum of autism: An insider`s view.
Baron,M.G. et al (2006). Stressand coping in autism.Oxford New York : Oxford University Press