What is Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
In layman’s terms, autism is a neurological disorder diagnosis that impacts the brain. This can be observed by non-healthcare professionals among kids through sensory characteristics such as dislike on particular clothes or food; stimming where they do things repetitively such as spinning in circles; language and speech delay; and, comprehension difficulty especially on things that do not interest them. However, it is important to note that autism symptoms are not always the same. Some kids may have symptoms that other autistic children may not present with.
Early detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
At about six months, some children could already display sensory characteristics that might point to autism. But it takes healthcare professionals to give the correct diagnosis. Parents without any medical background could usually catch these characteristics when a child is two years or older. It’s because that’s when a child is expected to be speaking in strings of words. That’s only when they notice their kid isn’t hitting the milestone for that stage.
Denial or misinformation of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
There is no percentage available as to the number of parents who are in denial about having an autistic child. But for the Black minority in the US, the denial is closely associated with lack of or getting the wrong information. While other communities already know what autism is and what to do when their child is autistic, for the Black minority, it is scary even just to say the word “autism”, hence they would rather not get their child diagnosed.
Sibling Adjustment on Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Younger children may not notice any difference between them and the autistic sibling and they don’t have to unless they’re grown up enough to ask. For older siblings, on the other hand, it could quite put pressure on them as they feel the responsibility to protect an autistic youngster. Whichever is the case, parents should be able to make time for each child because most of the time, the child with a disability takes much of the spotlight and the rest of the siblings get left out. As much as possible, we don’t want the other children to bear so much stress and pressure. We want them to be just [happy] children.
The Challenges of Growing a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
This situation could truly be difficult if the autistic has a maladaptive behavior [the disability and sometimes irritability in dealing with different people or situations]. But for those who do not have that behavior, most of the challenges come with dealing with school requirements and health professionals.
Advice for parents of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Have grace for yourself. Do not bombard yourself with Google information. Do not put so much pressure on yourself in accordance with the health professionals’ opinions. You are the one who knows your child best. Listen to your guts and do what you can do.
How to Extend Help to Family of kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Well-meaning friends just like the parents would also go to Google and try to educate their friends on what to do with their autistic child. However, that could only add up to the stress they are going through due to information overload. If you want to be of any help, first of all, you have to get rid of the stigma of autism so you don’t feel sorry for them.
If anything, maybe you could bring a cup of coffee, be there to just listen if they want to share their frustrations or offer to babysit for them whenever they want to just rest for a moment. Get yourself educated by those parents or books. Know what helps or offends them. For instance, learn what to use between the terms “autistic” or “child with autism” because one or the other might offend some parents while some may not. Knowing these simple things makes a difference.
Facebook: Autism in Black Inc.
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