“Autism is part of my child, it's not everything he is. My child is so much more than a diagnosis.” - S.L Coehlo.
Parents of Autistic children are superheroes. They are the support system and enablers of gifted individuals with unique abilities. Each day is new and brings forth challenges along with opportunities for the family. In this blog, we have listed some common challenges parents of children with ASD face daily or regularly.
Common Challenges of Parenting an Autistic Child include:
Finances. Some parents may feel the burden of long-term finances with respect to raising a child on the spectrum. This could be the case in families who are not covered by insurance etc. The financial burden could take on many forms be it using personal transport instead of public modes of transport, hiring a caregiver on a regular basis, quitting a job to take care of the child, and rising expenses associated with raising a child. Sometimes parents are unable to express or are hesitant to reveal their precarious financial situation which can have an adverse impact on the family in general, down the road.
Stress due to childcare duties. Caregiving to a child with ASD is no easy task. It comes with its own set of ups and downs, challenges, and stress. Taking care of children with ASD may be a full-time job for some families/parents as every child is unique. Each child has their own set of issues, severities, and so on. Single parents and nuclear families especially face stress on account of taking care of their children. Many times, they may not have the support and assistance of other family members or extended family, etc, compounding their stress levels.
Lack of Time for Self-Care. Without the support of a paid caregiver, extended family, or even close families, a parent or parents find themselves struggling to care for their child, perform well at a job or even multiple jobs, manage home, and be a multi–tasker. This leaves them with little or no time for themselves. This could mean limited or no socializing, rest, exercise, hobbies and interests, and so on. The identity of the person is subsumed with the primary focus being the care of the child / teen with their unique complexities.
Communication challenges. Verbal communication is a challenge for some children with ASD. For parents of such children, communication is a problem that compounds the stress & anxiety of parents. Parents face the challenge that their child is unable to communicate their needs and wants. With children at times unaware of nonverbal communication and cues, the challenges of parenting get compounded.
Stigmatization. As there are many people on this planet, there are as many reactions to situations and people. Not everyone is sensitive, kind, or accepting. Negative reactions impact the child personally and the parents, the effects linger for some time, unfortunately.