The teachers of my son since he was Playschool until Kindergarten have repeatedly told me to bring him to a neuro-developmental specialist. They said he was displaying unusual behavior like too hyper and overly impulsive. He was also manifesting delays in several developmental skills like his cognitive functioning and motor skills.
Our world is so vast – the intensity of everything that we have seen, in education, exploration and perhaps within ourselves. As we go on facing what the future lies for us, we gain insight into things, wisdom, and understanding of what we may have or need to be learned. And the toughest fight we have yet to face was the battle between our mind and body.
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have higher chances of landing a job if they undergo cognitive enhancement therapy.
If you haven’t read “Tips For A Strong Marriage Of Parents With ASD Kids,” then I suggest you read that blog first. This is the second part, and it will discuss more tips on how to make an effort to keep the relationship going amidst the stress and issues related to your child’s disorder.
As a person who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome a few years back, I can tell you how difficult life can be for someone on the spectrum. I have a high-functioning form of autism, which means that I was able to go to a regular school and earn a bachelor’s degree. I have a stable job and am engaged to be married soon as well. Despite the normalcy that I experienced, though, it could not erase the fact that I was – still am – as prone to sensory overload as the next autistic individual you can find.
“Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is more common that we realize and there are increasing numbers of high-functioning adults who are self-identifying or being diagnosed.” –Eva A. Mendes LMHC
If I can be too honest here, my only edge over folks with low-functioning autism is that I can follow instructions. I am not “in the zone” all the time, although I admittedly like to be left alone often. I can easily pass as a non-disabled person if you meet me for the first time. However, when you check my social skills, you will realize that it is almost non-existent.
One of the aspects I struggle with up to this day is sensory overload. We tend to be too one-track-minded folks to know the difference between a real or sarcastic comment. Attending parties is practically impossible without having a meltdown. Sometimes, when stress gets in the mix, our brains go on hyperdrive, and we can no longer control our actions and emotions.
Still, I choose to believe that sensory overload is a problem that we can all learn to cope with. If it gives you a headache as well, you may try some of the things that I do.
Pinpoint Your Triggers
The first thing to do is to find out what your triggers may be. In my case, for instance, I cannot stand noises. Shouting, blasting music, blaring horns — these are just a few sources of noise. For other people, they cannot handle pulsing lights or even colorful walls. You should realize your triggers so that you will know what to avoid. “We all experience these ups and downs, and most of the time we get through the downs and move on to better times.” says Dr. Kurt Smith, LMFT, LPCC, AFC.
Bring Useful Devices Everywhere
Prevention will always be better than cure. It is not wrong to put noise-canceling headphones, ear pods, or even sunglasses in your bag. These are devices that will help you in times when you find yourself in an overwhelming situation.
Make A Plan Before Going Anywhere
“Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation.” Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP said. It will not hurt either to make a plan before you go anywhere. Imagine the place as the first step. Think of what you will do if you hear loud music or you are in the middle of the crowd. Figure out as well where you should sit or stand so that you can be as far away from your triggers as possible.
Let Your Friends Or Relatives Know About The Plan
Lastly, you should know that the plan may not always succeed if you act it out by yourself. Considering you will go to an event with friends or relatives, you need to inform them about it. This way, they can remind you of it when things become too much for your senses.
Living with any form of autism will never be easy, regardless if it’s high- or low-functioning. However, life must go on, and you need to try to make the situation better for yourself. Follow the tips mentioned above to be able to do that.
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:
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.
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.