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.
Sexuality, for the neurotypical individual, is often a topic learned through informal channels. For those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), they have a harder time to learn about it through the same channels as the neurotypical individual. This situation poses a challenge, especially for their parents, since misinformation and misunderstandings may arise and may be learned by their special child.
Some perceive that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) don’t like to get involved with other people romantically. The truth is they also experience those feelings the same as the neurotypical individual. They may feel attraction and love.
Living with someone who has an autism spectrum disorder or ASD is completely challenging. You have to understand that marriage is going to be difficult to handle. Notwithstanding this difficulty, it is still possible to live a happy life. There will be problems and struggles along the way, but as long as you keep your vow to stay for the rest of your life with your autistic husband, then everything will become more comfortable as days go by. The trials will be apparent during the first few months of the marital union. However, the longer you stay in the relationship, the more you will realize that your partner’s mental condition does not get in the way of your marriage.
The thought of introducing your boyfriend to your parents is terrifying. What if they will not like the person that you are currently dating? What if your teenage lover ends up making a big mistake in front of your mom or dad? What if something goes wrong during the introduction? These are just some of the things that are probably making you feel anxious about this matter.
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is one of the common mental illnesses in children. Kids with ASD have difficulty connecting with others. Experiencing different challenges, which hinders from building friendships or relationships. Their behaviors are different from those who do not have this condition, making it hard for them to act normally in typical situations for children. Kids also have trouble understanding what they feel, as well as how other people feel.
Most of the time, those young ones also encounter trouble in communicating with those surrounding them. Because of this, children with ASD often struggle with so many things in their lives.
One of the developmental disorders common in children is autism spectrum disorder or ASD. Unfortunately, there are several misconceptions about this mental health problem. Not everyone is aware of the implications when a child is diagnosed with ASD. In this article, we are going to provide some of the necessary information about this disorder as well as the role of psychiatry in its treatment.
What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
“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.” That is according to Eva A. Mendes LMHC. When we speak of autism spectrum disorder, it refers to a condition that is characterized by impaired social behavior and difficulty in communication. This neurological condition can be classified into different levels, which is why the disorder is considered as one having a spectrum. This means that there are different combinations of symptoms and severity for the children with autism. As such, you cannot find two autistic individuals who behave similarly. Most likely, each autistic child possesses unique characteristics.
What Are The Characteristics Of ASD?
As already mentioned above, you cannot find two kids with autism who behave or appear similarly. There is a specific range of symptoms. Below are the standard categories of characteristics:
- Problems In Communication – “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 elaborates. Children with autism may go through challenges when it comes to an understanding or use of language. Some may use other alternatives to communicate efficiently. There are also those who need repetitive words or sentences before they can get the message.
- Having Anti-Social Concerns – This is where the trouble in connecting with other individuals come in. Kids with autism experience difficulty in making friends or interacting with the people surrounding them. They cannot use body language or facial expressions to share what they have in mind. Some of them also have fears of making eye contact.
- Requires Repetitive Movements – Because of their difficulty in connecting with people and in communicating with others, they need special attention. As such, parents, teachers and friends of autistic children must know how to use repetitive movements or sounds so that the latter could have a complete understanding of the message.
How Can A Psychiatrist Help?
The assistance of a psychiatrist is essential in improving the condition as well as the mental health of the kids with an autism spectrum disorder. Its role is to provide a complete diagnosis and treatment plan for the disorder. He needs to ensure that the child undergoes a thorough process of examinations before making a diagnosis. When choosing a psychiatrist, it is essential to look for a professional who specializes in handling autism cases in children. Robert Jason Grant Ed.D, LPC, RPT-S, ACAS emphasizes that “The uniqueness and ever-changing information about ASD require mental health professionals to be consistently upgrading their knowledge and training and staying focused on best practices.”
Dealing with autism in children is not an easy thing to do. It can be complicated at times. This is why it requires a consolidated effort of several people to ensure success. Parents cannot only rely on the assistance and help of professionals in the healthcare industry. They are the individuals who are primarily responsible for the well being of their kids. This is the reason why both mothers and fathers must work hand in hand in treating ASD.
What are the benefits of online therapy (aka e-therapy)? Is online therapy effective? What’s the difference between E-therapy vs. in-person?
There are several ways how to deal with a difficult situation in your life.
At the same time, you can also try to engage in exciting activities that will fuel your passion or desire. Another effective way of getting over the sad experience is to go through in-person counseling or online. Nowadays, online therapy has become an option for several people who are going through mental health illnesses.
My vision started to get blurry. I was having a hard time processing what this guy in front of me was saying. My mind starts wandering, thinking about what would happen to my poor child now. I felt terribly helpless for my kid.
Studies show that around 30 to 90 percent of people with autism ignore or overreact to familiar sights, sounds, smells, and other sensations. The Simons Simplex Collection autism research project showed that 68% of children who participated had unusual sensory interests and about 65% have sensitivities to noise.
Your child may be one who belongs to the group with noise or sound sensitivity where it can be painful and cause a panic attack. When this happens, your child will have difficulty focusing on the task he is doing, escalating his anxiety level. Carolyn Mehlomakulu, LMFT-S, ATR-BC explains that “An anxious or angry child is in flight-or-fight mode with their body primed to handle a perceived threat.”
Loud sounds may seem ordinary to us – the sound of the washing machine, sounds of a motorcycle, barking dogs, ringing bells, an approaching train – but to a child with autism, such noises can cause him to cover his ears and cry. Reducing the noise by taking him for a stroll in the woods, visiting a church, or going to the library can make him more relaxed and focused.
Categorization Sound Sensitivity
- Hyperacusis is the person’s intolerance to daily conversational sounds. It is said to be related to having tinnitus.
- Susceptibility to sound once it reaches the frequency that is intolerable is said to be related to autism. A person may tolerate some sounds at their average level but becomes intolerable at given frequencies.
- Recruitment is distinctly linked to the person’s nerve deafness. Due to damaged hair cells, one cannot perceive the sound, but when it increased to a particular decibel level, the healthy hair cells are “recruited” to spread the sound, and the person experiences a sharp rise in sound perception which can shock him and may cause pain.
- Phonophobia is the fear of sound or fear of possible exposure to sounds, especially loud ones.
- Misophonia which is the emotional reaction to certain sounds may lead to anger or rage. It could be soft sounds, like the sound that one makes while eating or breathing.
How Noise Can Be Reduced And Improve Autism’s Tolerance
Amy Keefer PhD, a clinical psychologist at Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders, says, “Another potential stress reducer is practicing acceptance,” Dr. Keefer said. “Parents who accept where their child is today seem to do better.”It’s important to help your child with autism manage or tolerate noise and enjoy them rather than fear them.
- Visit an audiologist to help you pinpoint which type of sensitivity is affecting your child’s quality of life.
- Provide relief. They can be in the form of earphones or earplugs which can offer immediate comfort.
- Make a list of places where he feels safe and encourages him to participate – being in a library, walking in the forest, playing in the park, or attending services and social events in the church.
- Help him control some noises that affect him negatively, like have him around when you’re using the washing machine, let him enjoy using it and explain what it does, until he becomes comfortable with its sound. Allowing him to play with cute little bells will make him more familiar with it until he learns to identify sounds and its sources wherever he goes.
- Give him something to distract him from the noise, like an iPad or TV or let him hold his favorite toy.
- Gradual desensitization may help relieve noise sensitivity. First, try to observe from a distance and then slowly take a step closer given the opportunity. Reading books about stories of firefighters, imitating the sound of sirens, buying him a firefighter costume, and make-believe play will help him be familiar with the sound until the sound of sirens and alarms don’t bother him that much anymore.
- Tinnitus retraining therapy involves listening to broadband pink noise to familiarize a person through the ringing in the ears. It can help someone with hyperacusis to regain tolerance to sound.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy is recommended for phonophobia and anxiety. The therapist teaches the person how to self-manage his emotions and some coping skills. It aims to rework someone’s thought process regarding the cause of his anxiety to increase his quality of life.
- Often, hyperacusis or tinnitus is due to a deficiency in magnesium and other minerals. If this emerged to be the case for your child, ask your doctor if nutritional supplements can be of help.
- Food additives, like the ones that belong to the salicylate family, are related to noise sensitivity. Some diets, such as a diverse whole food diet, eradicate those additives to help reduce sensitivity to sounds.
The world is an overly noisy place. Some may be able to tolerate it, but others just cannot. If you notice such sound sensitivity in your child, have him get evaluated so you can seek guidance on how to properly handle these sound issues.
“Autism tends to shine a bright light on whatever issues were already there.” Janeen Herskovitz, MA, LMHC said. Don’t let your child’s hypersensitive hearing hinder him to enjoy music, sounds, and other activities.