Autism is a lifelong condition that affects the behavior, social interaction, communication and sensory processing of an individual. It sets in during childhood and the symptoms progressively transcend into the individual’s adulthood. Most autistic children suffer a lot of challenges that will be later highlighted in this chapter and some others have certain benefits such as hyper intelligence which in the end is not liked due to several other deficits and voids present in the overall being of the child as he grows into responsibility.
This article encapsulates how an autistic child can be identified, the challenges faced by the autistic child and the various challenges a parent has to go through while raising an autistic child.
What causes autism
Currently, there is no known reason why autism besets kids, however, the latest research has recognized strong genetic links. Autism is never brought on by an individual’s upbringing or their social or financial circumstances. The risks that a child will develop are contained in the child’s genetic makeup and composition thereby making us aware that it is beyond what we can control. The autism spectrum holds the statistics of occurrence to be 62 cases out of every 10,000 people.
How to identify a child with this condition
Autism is diagnosed on the autism spectrum by well-grounded pediatricians psychiatrists and psychologists who also have ample experience in that field. Assessments include observation, questionnaires, meeting with the child, the family, and every other related and engaged person. To ensure proper identification, information is gathered about the child’s strength and difficulties especially in areas relating to social interaction, communication and sensory processing.
It is, however, important to note that diagnosis of this condition can only be made by an expert that has put all these into consideration and that the diagnosis cannot be made by a single behavioral pattern or by blood, urine or fecal tests.
Some autistic children develop attributes that skyrocket their intelligence and retention capability while many others show just the exact opposite of these symptoms. Whichever pattern the child follows, it is noteworthy that children with this condition can be helped and subjected to physical therapies that can help to reduce the effects of this condition and the challenges faced by the children.
Challenges faced by children with autism
Children with these conditions are faced with a lot of challenges ranging from behavioral, sensory and communication to social skills and playing methods. The challenges faced by them are further highlighted and broken down in the bullets below.
- Inexplicable tantrums
- Irregular and unusual interests with questionable attachments
- Irregular motor movements such as flapping and spinning of hands
- Extreme difficulty in coping with change
- Inability to speak at 18 months
- Responding to certain sounds while ignoring the human voice
- Repetitive speech and other unusual language patterns
- Complete loss of words previously used
- Finding some everyday sounds really scary
- Overly fascinated with moving objects
- Above normal tolerance for pain and high temperature
Social skills challenges
- Finds it difficult to keep a steady gaze at someone
- Finds it difficult to return smiles
- Lacks interest in other children
- Shares little or no interest with others
- Seems to be entirely in another world and mostly feels alienated
Challenges parents with autistic children go through
Parents also face a lot of challenges while raising a child with autism. It gets even tougher for them when they have no idea of the condition the child suffers. It can also get embarrassing as children display these symptoms in public.
Some of the challenges faced by the parents as gathered by some researchers include;
- Dealing with challenging behaviors
- Dealing with changes in routine
- Managing judgments from others
- Managing sensory and societal problems
- Lack of proper support which can be debilitating
- Impact on the family at large
Parents, however, find a way to deal with these challenges as time goes on but the lack of understanding of people and the judgments they pass regarding the condition of the child often proves to be the most difficult challenge they face.