Why Parents Should Be The First To Accept Their Child’s Autism

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I grew up in a close-knit family. It entails that I got to play with all my cousins and saw my aunts and uncles almost every week. We would all gather in my grandparents’ ancestral house where my mom and her siblings were born and bred.

Even at a young age, I knew that there was something odd with my cousin Sam. He was only two years younger than me – practically the same age as my middle sister – but he did not speak until he was around five years old. Every time we were at the playground, Sam would choose to play with his train set instead of running with us. And if we tried to pull the toy away from him, he would throw a fit and sometimes attack us, and only the adults could calm him down.

Despite all those indications, my Aunt Em insisted that there was nothing wrong with Sam. “My son is just a late-bloomer,” she said. “He has no brothers or sisters, so he doesn’t know how to interact with other kids.” Aunt Em merely had no choice but to take Sam to a child psychiatrist when even she could not handle his tantrum.

The diagnosis did not come during their first appointment with the mental health professional. The doctor ran some tests and observed my cousin’s behavior for some time. It was only after a month that the psychiatrist confirmed that Sam is in the autism spectrum.

Aunt Em’s first reaction upon hearing the news was disbelief. She could not accept that her beloved son is autistic. She tried consulting two more psychiatrists, but their diagnosis was the same as the first one’s. Even now that Sam is 23 years old, unable to land a stable job or at least speak a word with more than four syllables in it, Aunt Em refuses to believe that he has autism.

Although such a parent’s reaction is understandable, moms and dads should still be the first people to accept their child’s disability. After all, it is only through acceptance that they will be able to do the following:

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Help The Autistic Kid Live Normally

People with autism still have a chance of leading a healthy life. That will take place, though, if you acknowledge their condition and transfer them to a SPED program. It is not advisable to keep them in a regular school where they may stand out in a not-so-pleasant way.

Understand The Child’s Special Needs

It seems common for autistic children to get overwhelmed by loud sounds or visuals. Not accepting that your kid has this problem means that you will not be aware of it. Thus, instead of helping them, your lack of knowledge may cause sensory overload.

 

Keep Them Away From Harm

Admitting to yourself that you have a child with special needs tends to make you realize the dangers around them. For one, there may be bullies who will stop at nothing to tease them. They may be unable to travel on their own as well. If you don’t think about such things, you may end up bringing them closer to harm unknowingly.

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Final Thoughts

It is undoubtedly challenging to accept that you have a child with autism, especially if that’s your only son or daughter. However, not doing so will be more problematic for them than for you since they can’t get the support that they need the most.

Think about it before you insist that your kid is not in the spectrum even if the diagnosis says otherwise.

Autism In Children: How To Best Handle It

Being a parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is challenging and can cause a lot of frustration on your part. Do not feel sorry for yourself if you are suffering from raising your kid who has special needs. Keep in mind that what you are feeling right now is only usual or average. According to a therapist, autistic children have certain peculiarities and issues that may be difficult to handle, which is why it is not new for a parent to feel stressed and anxious most of the time. If you believe that you need advice on how to become more relaxed in raising your child who has ASD, then be sure to read this article from start to finish.

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First of all, it is crucial on your part to remind yourself that there is nothing that you can do to turn back time. Stop wishing that your child was different and did not have his medical condition. You need to begin accepting the reality that your child has autism spectrum disorder, and all he needs is the unconditional love from you. Never make the mistake of making your kid feel inadequate just because he is different from the other children surrounding him. Remember, “Being diagnosed with Autism does not have not to impact you negatively. People with Autism can live fulfilling and meaningful lives. It is about learning the tools and skills that can help lead to success.” John Cutrone, LMHC, MCAP, CAS explains.

At the same time, you must always understand that other people feel compassion and sympathy for you. As such, do not reject any help or assistance that others may offer you. Be willing to have an open mind and avoid being judgmental against other individuals who only want nothing but to help you in any way they can. Below are some of the things that you must consider if you’re going to learn the best ways on how to handle your child with autism:

 

Be Consistent In Everything You Do

It is a fact that children with autism have difficulty in retaining things to their brain. As such, they tend to be forgetful because they cannot keep the memory for a long time. Because of this, it is essential or crucial on your part to be consistent in every single thing that you do. Take note that your kid is observing the way you act or talk, which is why you must do the right things at all times whenever he is around. Be mindful of what you say and do because one mistake can bring in a lot of difference. “Healthy boundaries are necessary for self-care, and healthy relationships and most people are not equipped with these important life skills.” Janeen Herskovitz, LMHC said.

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Learn About Autism

“Often, kids, teens and adults on the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to be “normal”, fighting sensory overload and overwhelm, fending off personal quirks, and trying so hard to “fit in”,socially and otherwise.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT explains. As much as possible, do not just wait for people to give you advice on how to raise your child. The best or vital thing to do is to make a conscious effort to learn about autism spectrum disorder. Read several resources that can help you become an expert about the illness. Lucky for you, there are already thousands of available resources that you can read online. All that you must do is to double-check the details of the source of the article to ensure that you will not get a piece of false information. Nonetheless, it does not mean that you can already dispense with the expert advice of a medical professional. It is still essential to continue bringing your child to a doctor’s office for a checkup regularly.

 

Give Rewards When Necessary

You must also learn about positive reinforcement wherein you will let your child know whenever he has done something great so that he will feel motivated to do it again in the future. Be careful in using this method of disciplining a child with autism so that you will not end up having issues in raising him. Know when it is the right time to give rewards and when it is not. You cannot keep on rewarding actions that do not qualify as great deeds. It is crucial to be sure before you give a prize or reward. If you are not sure how to do this right, feel free to read the commentaries or journals published by psychologists. These materials contain everything you need to learn about the said topic.

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Conclusion

If you are tired about raising your child, do not worry because that feeling will soon fade. What is essential is that you take the necessary steps to refresh your mind and recharge yourself. Take some time off or ask for help from other people. Do not sway people away from your life because you are embarrassed about getting their support or assistance. Instead, be open to whatever they are going to do to help you in your day-to-day endeavors.

What You Need To Learn About Autism In Children

There are many things to remember when it comes to raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder. Keep in mind that you have to be more patient and understanding as you embrace your journey to motherhood, especially when your child has special needs. We understand that it can be scary in the beginning since you do not have an idea on the psychology of raising children with autism. As such, we have decided to come up with an article that discusses the top tips and tricks on how you can become a better parent to your kid.

 

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Make sure that you familiarize the things listed below so that you will not commit an error in raising your child. Keep in mind that there will always be challenges and struggles that will come your way. Make sure that you do not allow these shortcomings or problems bring you down. Instead, focus on becoming a better parent and enjoy your journey. Things will get better as soon as you continue to remind yourself with these tips:

 

Study The Signs And Symptoms

 

Take note that autism is a mental disorder that is quite complicated to understand. “Young people with autism are very good at “getting stuck” and being less flexible.” John Strang, Psy.D. emphasizes. Because of this, you have to make an effort in learning more about this illness. Do not just sit in the corner and wallow in depression because your child has a mental condition that you cannot understand. Believe that you will soon learn the basics of how to raise your child despite the challenges that autism brings. At the same time, it is best if you will connect with people who are going through the same experience that you have. Learn how to communicate with parents who are also in the process of raising autistic children.

 

Ask For Help And Support

 

Always remember that it is okay to reach out to certain people and individuals to ask for their assistance in raising your child. Do not feel embarrassed if you have to ask for help from your parents or relatives. Take note that there are some financial stuff that you have to pay if you want your child to live a healthy life even if he has autism spectrum disorder. If you believe that you are not financially ready to answer for these expenses, do not hesitate to borrow some cash from your family. “Counselors who are not familiar with ASD often tend to ascribe an Asperger or neurodiverse couple’s conflicts and challenges to “personality clashes,” or family of origin issues,” says Eva Mendes, LMHC. Aside from this, you can also ask a friend or a close family member to watch over your child when you have something important to do at work or for your business.

 

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Work With Your Husband

 

The best thing about having a family is that you do not need to do everything on your own. Keep in mind that you have a husband who can help you deal with the different challenges that come your way. Avoid shutting your partner away because you are too stressed or anxious in raising your child. Instead, accept his helping hands and enjoy the journey together. You will be surprised at how things will become better in your family life the moment you learn how to work with him together. Trust that your husband also wants the best for your child. He will always be there in every step of the way. Just make sure that you do not last out on him when you are exhausted or tired.

 

Arrange For Therapy Sessions

 

One of the things that you can do to help your child is to arrange therapy sessions for him. During these meetings, a professional therapist will guide your kid on learning some basic things that will make his autism more bearable for you. This expert knows exactly what to do to increase your child’s attention and focus. “Psychotherapy can help by offering a safe space for kids, teens and adults on the spectrum to be able to express themselves more readily, to be able to learn more effective coping skills to manage stress, as well as symptoms of other mental health issues that may be unique to you or your child.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT explains.

Aside from this, he can also help your child understand the effects of every action that he takes. As a result, you will start to notice an improvement in his behavior. However, it is essential to emphasize that the success of therapy sessions does not happen overnight. You have to ask your child to attend these sessions regularly so that he can go through the proper process of the treatment. It is best if you will ask the therapist about his professional rate so that you will have an idea of how much to prepare for his fees.

 

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Always take note that you must also care for your mental health when it comes to raising a child with autism. Do not let the stress and anxiety take over you. The best thing to do is to prepare yourself for the challenges and have the right mindset.

 

 

A Mother In Denial – There Is Nothing Wrong With My Child! (ASD And Behavioral Health)

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My son’s Playschool teacher, Nursery teacher, and Kindergarten teacher all said the same thing – “Mrs. Smith, your son is inattentive in class. He lacks focus and is hyperactive at most times. It’s tough to teach him the lessons when I have to oversee thirty other students aside from him. Please, Mrs. Smith. This is a recommendation letter for a Neurodevelopment Pediatrician. Can you have your son assessed as soon as possible so we can see if he needs therapy and other types of treatment? His behavioral health needs to be addressed.” Continue reading A Mother In Denial – There Is Nothing Wrong With My Child! (ASD And Behavioral Health)

Behavioral Health And Autism

 

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Despite the fact that mental illness is more common for individuals with autism spectrum compared to the general population, the behavioral health of autistic people most often lacks attention. This article looks at some of the most predominant behavioral or mental health problems including obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety, and depression.

“People with ASD are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” –Eva A. Mendes LMHC

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders

A person who has OCD frequently experiences repetitive thoughts and behaviors that upsets and irritates them. OCD is common in about 3% of individuals who do not have autism and is more common in those who have autism. Genetics and psychological predisposition are some of the causes of why someone becomes obsessive-compulsive, and it can also run in families. This mental illness can be stressful and exhausting, and it can disrupt one’s everyday life for the individual who has it and his family as well. Fortunately, OCD is treatable.

There are two aspects of OCD: obsessions or the thoughts and compulsions or the behaviors. OCD can be easily unnoticed in people on the autism spectrum because it can be mistaken as a repetitive behavioral pattern. However, it is very distinctive. If you think you might have OCD, you should do well to let your general physician know about your worries. He is the best person who can help you determine what to do and can refer you to a specialist who can better assess you.

Today, the awareness for OCD has been increasing, although it may still be under-recognized and hence under-treated. On the other hand, if you have autism and you think you might have OCD, it is crucial that you get an opinion from a team of specialists who can assess, diagnose, and treat you for both your autism and your OCD.

Treatment For OCD

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication are the two benchmarks of OCD treatment. CBT provides the tools to assist the patient in changing the way he thinks and acts. Being the most popular and well-researched psychological treatment for OCD, proof has been found that specialized CBT is very effective for treating OCD and anxiety in individuals on the autism spectrum.

For OCD, taking medications is also an essential part of treatment, particularly more effective when combined with CBT. The primary treatment for this mental illness is referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, which include drugs such as Paroxetine and Fluoxetine. Some individuals who have autism are susceptible to side effects, so it’s recommended that they begin with a low dose. Eventually, your doctor can slowly increase the dose over time while he monitors your signs and symptoms using the OCD scale.

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are very prevalent in individuals on the autism spectrum. An estimated 40% usually have at least one anxiety symptom compared to the general population with only 15%. Consequently, anxiety leads to depression and sadness, which is why a combination of depression and anxiety is also common.

“Research also shows that there is a high occurrence of depression, mood, and anxiety disorders in families of those with autism spectrum disorders.” -Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT

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Research suggests that these factors can lead to stress, which is probably the reason why anxiety is quite common in individuals on the autism spectrum. Other factors that may contribute to anxiety include a history of social difficulties, inability to respond to threats appropriately, and biological differences in brain function

Treatment For Anxiety

As with OCD, behavioral and cognitive treatments are an important treatment just as medications. This usually involves establishing a working relationship with one’s therapist and strengthening his necessary skills to overcome the anxiety symptoms, for instance, exposing the patient to anxiety-provoking challenges.

Depression

Feeling a little sad or down is common to all of us at times. However, when we feel sad or down for more than a few weeks, or the sadness disrupts our daily activities, this may signify depression. There is about 20% of the general population that will apparently experience depression, and it is even seen more in individuals with autism. The symptoms of depression for every person, though, may be alike or totally different, and it can be mild, moderate, or severe.

“It is painful and difficult to identify, because so many neurotypical partners see these as problems existing within in themselves, rather than as their reactions to confusion, to feeling systematically ignored, or to feeling not heard for many years.” –Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC

Everyone who suffers from depression has trouble sharing how they feel and think. But for those on the autism spectrum, it is more difficult because they have trouble identifying their own feelings and thoughts, and so it can be particularly hard for them to convey their concerns.

Treatment For Depression

Depression treatment may be medical or psychological, regardless of the person having autism or not.

The most crucial step in getting help for the autistic person is for him to confide on someone that he trusts – a partner or a family member, for instance. Then when he feels more comfortable, he can tell his general physician about it, or perhaps he can ask his significant other to accompany him to his physician.

Source: women.com

 

Conclusion

OCD, anxiety, and depression are just three of the several mental health illnesses that individuals on the autism spectrum may suffer. If you or someone you know is experiencing one of these three, do not hesitate to seek help – the earlier, the better.

 

 

 

 

Am I To Blame? [Autism From A Mother’s Perspective]

 

 

During my pregnancy, I admit that I was physically and emotionally stressed, so I felt burdened when I learned that my son had autism.  There was guilt inside of me that the stress I had during those times could have affected my son’s brain development.

 

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The many questions that were bothering me always led me to read and research about autism, and I found out that it is widely due to a genetic disorder.  But recently, there are researches done that linked stress to autism, though my doctor keeps on assuring me that there’s not enough proof to that yet and the studies are not yet conclusive.

 

My doctor told me to stop thinking that way and to stop blaming myself. Instead, I should focus on finding ways to improve my son’s condition and how to give him a close to normal life.

 

God Is My Strength

In an article of Marjie L. Roddick, MA, NCC, LMHC she explains that “Spiritual wellness is related to your values and beliefs that help you find meaning and purpose in your life. Spiritual wellness may come from activities such as volunteering, self-reflection, meditation, prayer, or spending time in nature.” In these trying times, God has been the source of my strength.   His provisions have kept us going and have sustained our needs.   I am thankful that God sends people to help me, friends and families, who share my burden.   The struggle is real for my kid and me.

 

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Autistic Children Are Special Kids With Special Needs 

My son has trouble interacting and playing with others.   Just like that, he will get overwhelmed by a slight noise and sudden changes, sometimes making him hurt himself.  He is delayed when it comes to schooling because he is a slow learner and it is hard to have him focus on tasks. Because of these things, I have to enroll him in a particular school for children with autism which is more costly than the regular school.   I have to put him in a class that exclusively focuses on helping children like him develop their skills.  He receives therapies such as behavioral, speech, and occupational therapy.

 

I sometimes get frustrated because of our situation, but every time I look at my son’s progress, it encourages me to get back on my feet and to try my best to provide for his needs.  My child cannot do it alone, and I’m his only support, so I have to be strong for him. Jo White, a therapist statement hit me when he said, “From my perspective, it’s one of the hardest things to deal with because, particularly if they’ve got young children — they’re struggling, they’re really struggling with behaviours.”

 

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My Son’s Autism Has Taught Me So Much

Patience is the virtue I have acquired over the years, and I keep on honing it every day.   I’m no longer that selfish girl I used to be.  There’s no more “I” or “me,” but always “us” and “he” first.  I’m now more sensitive and considerate of his needs.   I never thought I could sacrifice this much for the sake of my son’s future.

 

I still get sad, and I still get angry, especially when I hear people saying stupid things about my baby.   How dare they say things which they don’t understand much. “Being diagnosed with Autism does not have not to impact you negatively. People with Autism can live fulfilling and meaningful lives. It is about learning the tools and skills that can help lead to success.” John Cutrone, LMHC, MCAP, CAS said and I believe him.

 

There’s No Turning Back

If I could just go back and change everything that’s always lingering in my thoughts.  What have I done to this little angel of mine?   If only I could take it away from him, the shame brought by this disorder, the judging looks of people around him, the unfair treatment, and all the discriminations that I know is hurting his pure heart.

 

But just like what my doctor is always telling me, instead of thinking about the problem, why not think of the solution?  So I am sharing this in the hope that it will open people’s minds that they may understand how it is to have a child with autism, that they may become more considerate and empathetic the next time they see a child with autism.

Autism And Children: How To Handle The Situation

Have you noticed something strange in the behavior or personality of your child? Do you feel like he has difficulty in connecting with the people surrounding him? Is it difficult on his part to give attention to something or someone? If you answered yes to these questions, then there is a high possibility that he has an autism spectrum disorder. Finding out that your son has autism can be a challenging truth to accept for everyone in your family. Nonetheless, you have no choice but to move forward to better tomorrows so that you can get the happiness you deserve.

 

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In this article, we are going to share some of the practical tips that you need to know if you are looking for the correct ways and means on how to handle children with autism. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these tips:

 

Learn About The Subject

 

Keep in mind that you can never be good at handling autism if you do not have a working knowledge about its signs and symptoms. One of the smart things that you can do is to research about autism spectrum disorder. Find time to educate yourself about this illness so that you will not make any assumptions. Remember that the more you know about the subject, the easier it would be on your part to deal with the situation. Take your time in researching to avoid making mistakes or errors. Lastly, verify the sources of the information first before believing what you see. “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ” Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC said.

 

Talk To A Psychiatrist

 

Do not keep on guessing about the condition of your child. As much as possible, book an appointment to a psychiatrist in your local community. “A Psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specializes in mental health issues and has specific training in medication for depression.” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC explains. Look for the top professional who specializes in handling cases involving kids with autism. As early as now, you need to know or understand the fact that what your child is going through involves a psychological condition. His behavior or personality depends on certain factors. The only way to get a better understanding of these matters is to get in touch with a psychiatrist.

 

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Connect With Other Parents

 

Do you know someone who also has a child who has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder? Find this person and connect with her so that you can have someone who can relate to your situation. Remember that several challenges will come your way because of your child’s autism. To make things easier on your part, it is highly recommended to open up to other people who understand your pain and suffering. There are other mothers out there who need to talk to another individual too. What is essential is for all of you to create a support system that will make things a lot easier on your part. Be honest in all your conversations with them. Be responsible enough to share enough details but to avoid disclosing private information.

 

Stop Pressuring Your Child

 

As already mentioned above, your child is going through something that he has no control of. It means that he does things beyond his control. The truth of the matter is that he does not intend to make you angry whenever he has tantrums. You need to start accepting the reality that his mood swings and tantrums are results of the autism spectrum disorder. As such, never make the mistake of pressuring him to get better. The smart way to handle the problem is to motivate him. Make him feel that you are not abandoning him. “The sensation of pressure doesn’t have to be negative—it can be a positive challenge and motivating.” says Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D.

 

Avoid Being Overprotective

 

As a parent, you simply want nothing but the best for your child. You want him to do certain things because you believe that it is for his best interest. Conversely, you may also end up prohibiting him from doing something because you fear that he is too weak to protect himself. At this point, it is essential to make an effort to ensure that your child will not feel like he is left alone. You must see to it that he does not look at himself as a failure because he is different from the others. Protect your child if you must but never do it in an exaggerated manner.

 

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Conclusion

 

Just because your child has autism spectrum disorder does not mean that it is the end of the world for you. Be strong and brave enough to withstand the test of the circumstances around you. Remind yourself that you are capable of doing things the right way. Whenever you feel like losing it or giving up, think of how amazing your child is. At the same time, never hesitate to ask for help from your husband or anyone in the family. Take note that you need these people to make things a lot better in your child’s life. Keep on thinking positive thoughts so that you will have the willpower to live.

 

How To Care For A Child With Autism

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As a parent, it is completely normal on your part to want all the best things for your kid. Of course, you want him to grow up as a happy individual who can be a gift to everyone around him. However, there are many challenges that you need to take into consideration when it comes to this matter. One of the several factors that can affect the way you care for your child is his mental condition. You may need to exert more effort if your beloved kid has been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. “Diagnosis or not, the grief is very real. Often, an understanding of the grief stages, and the knowledge that grief is cyclical, helps parents adjust.” Janeen Herskovitz, MA, LMHC said.

 

We understand how challenging and tough it is to make things work in rearing an autistic child. Do not worry because we have come up with a list of practical ways that can help you become a successful parent to a child with autism. Make sure to read the rest of this article for more information:

 

Follow A Schedule

 

Did you know that a kid with autism has difficulty in following a pattern or understanding an instruction? Because of this, it is imperative and crucial on your part to create a schedule and stick with it. As much as possible, train your child to follow this schedule until he gets used to it. This strategy can help a lot in improving your child’s memory. At the same time, the said technique can also inspire him to be consistent in what to do at a particular time of the day. “Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes difficulties in many areas, with varying degrees of severity, most notably with social interaction and communication.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT also adds.

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Learn About The Condition

 

Take note that you cannot provide the right level of care and assistance to your child if you do not know what the autism spectrum is. Hence, it is imperative on your part to make an effort to learn more about the condition. Do not just believe whatever you hear from other persons who are not considered as experts in the mental health or medical industry. Fortunately, there are hundreds of materials that you can access for free. All that you need to do is to check whether the author of the article or journal is authentic and has the standing to discuss autism.

 

Don’t Lose Hope

 

There will be days when you would feel exhausted and tired in dealing with the quirks and attitude of your child. During these times, the best and ideal thing to do is to rest for a while but never give up. “The most helpful definition of being positive is having hope and confidence in one’s ability to handle what’s tough, along with remembering that nothing is all negative all the time,” explains Jo Eckler, PsyD, a therapist in Austin, Texas. At this point, it is vital to emphasize the fact that you are not alone in this journey. Other people in your life can help you in this difficult moment. Do not hesitate to get in touch with your friends and family members. Seek help when necessary. You will be amazed at how many persons are willing to provide you with assistance.

 

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If you believe that your child’s mental condition is starting to get worse or if you need expert advice about autism, one of the things that you may allow ant to consider is to seek professional help. Find a psychiatrist who can look into your kid’s condition.

 

Stimming – Coping Mechanisms Of Individuals With Autism

 

 

Source: friendshipcircle.org

 

I was strolling in the park, and I saw a child with autism who was playing with his mother and brother.  Out of nowhere, a speeding ambulance passed by with its siren on, and the child suddenly sat down rocking his body back and forth, mumbling something repeatedly like a chant, and he hit his head with his hand.   His mother immediately ran to him and tried to calm him.   It took a while, but she was able to appease him while his brother was trying to distract him, too, so he would stop his rocking and hitting.

It’s not the first time I saw something like that, so I just sat there and observed.  But other parents and children playing at the playground thought he was a retard and got afraid, but his mother tried to explain that he was a kid with autism, and is very sensitive to noises. He does not intend to hurt anyone.

As a psychiatrist, I tried to do my part to help this family by talking to the people there and assuring them that it’s nothing alarming.

 

Our Noisy World

For people (children or adults) with autism, the world is an overwhelmingly crazy raucous place.  The loud noises, the lights, the busy streets, and crowded restaurants make them feel nervous, anxious and sometimes afraid.  They have this sensory integration disorder where they tend to avoid stimuli or seek stimuli to circumvent other sensations that make them feel anxious.  Their everyday lives are very much affected by these sensory issues. “Often, kids, teens and adults on the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to be “normal”, fighting sensory overload and overwhelm, fending off personal quirks, and trying so hard to “fit in”,socially and otherwise.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT also expalins.

 

Stimming

You will notice that people with autism have social, speech, nonverbal communication difficulties, learning differences, and repetitive behaviors.

“It is important to help people with autism notice when they are stuck on details. Over time they can get in the habit of recognizing when they are focused at the detail level and learn to zoom out to see the big picture.” –John Strang, Psy.D.

These body motions they repeatedly do, and the repetitive movement of objects are self-stimulatory behaviors or what they call in autism language as stimming.   Nothing is definite why they do it, but researchers suggest that such repetitive movements arouse their nervous system to produce certain chemicals called endorphins which are responsible for increasing their pleasure sensations, just like how exercise helps reduce our stress or how sniffing certain aromas lift our moods.

 

Types Of Stimming

  1. Tactile stimming is the use of the sense of touch or mannerisms of the hands.

–    Opening and closing of fists

–    Finger twisting or flicking

–    Rubbing or scratching either with hands or objects

–    Wringing of hands

–    Finger-tapping

 

  1. Visual stimming is the use of the sense of sight.

–    Staring or gazing at the ceiling or lights or any objects

–    Blinking repetitively or turning lights on and off

–    Moving fingers to and fro in front of the eyes

–    Eye tracking or looking from the corner of the eyes

–    Lining up objects or arranging them constantly

–    Hand flapping

 

  1. Auditory stimming is the use of the sense of hearing and sound.

–    Humming, murmuring, or high-pitched screaming

–    Tapping the ears or other objects

–    Covering and uncovering the ears

–    Finger snapping

–    Repetitive speech, like repeating lyrics of a song, passages from a book, or lines in the movies

 

  1. Vestibular stimming is the sense of movement and balance.

–    Body rocking front to back or side to side

–    Spinning around

–    Jumping

–    Pacing

 

  1. Olfactory/taste stimming is the use of the sense of smell and taste.

–    Smelling people or objects

–    Licking

–    Tasting things by putting them in the mouth

 

Source: i.ytimg.com

 

Complications Of Stimming

Although this may not apply to everyone, there is some form of stimming that can be dangerous and physically harmful like the banging of their head, hands, legs, and objects.

Stimming may also interfere with their learning abilities and social interaction with others.  It may cause them to be socially isolated and restricted from doing stuff they love to do.

“Autism is a result of neurological differences in the structure of the brain that distinguish it from what we call the neurotypical brain. It is not mental illness or a personality disorder.” –Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC