It’s natural to feel baffled or overwhelmed after receiving news that your child has autism. After all, it’s never easy to find out that someone you care about has developmental issues.
But while having a child with autism poses challenges for parenting, it also provides a valuable opportunity to develop better parenting skills. So, apart from seeking out autism therapy services, learn more about the disorder. This is a big step towards clearing out your doubts and confusion.
What is Autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects about 1% of the population. The term describes a different way of perceiving and interacting with the world because those with the condition think differently from those with neurotypical (people who aren’t on the ASD spectrum) brains.
People with ASD can display various traits. The obvious signs that parents should look out for include:
- Lack of eye contact
- Little interest in interacting with others
- Delayed communication and social skills
- Repetitive movements and unusual sensory interests
As a parent, coming to grips with your child’s diagnosis might be one of the most difficult things you have to experience. While there will be good and bad days when it comes to parenting, learning to let go of the blame and expectations can give you the strength to be fully effective and present for your child.
Forming an emotional connection with your child is key, therefore. Understanding the special way they interact with the world can help you build a strong and loving bond with them.
The World through the Eyes of a Child with ASD
There is a wide degree of variation in the way ASD affects people. Below is a list of some of the challenges that your child may experience:
Sensory sensitivity. It is common for people with ASD to be extremely sensitive to sensory inputs. Background noise that neurotypical people can easily ignore (buzzing fluorescent lights or hissing radiators) can be distressing for those with ASD. Furthermore, your child may be sensitive to scratchy or rough textures. This could make clothing an issue. Busy environments can likewise be stressful.
Stimming. Stimming is short for self-stimulatory behavior that includes actions like rocking, flapping, hair twirling, nail biting, and more. While it may seem like a part of a person’s behavioral patterns, ASD stimming is different because of the frequency and obviousness of the behavior.
People with ASD stim to manage emotions like anxiety, anger, or fear. In some cases, however, they could take it a step further through physical self-harm or destructive behavior to their peers. In turn, it could get in the way of their daily life.
Perseveration. Perseveration is a term that describes an obsession with topics, objects, or activities. An example of this would be putting in and taking out a puzzle piece, even when it is no longer necessary. Children with ASD who display this symptom use it as a coping mechanism; the repetitive action calms them, making them feel safe and in control.
ABC Pediatrics employs a multidisciplinary approach when it comes to pediatric autism therapy. We focus on enforcing self-help skills to improve every patient’s quality of life and achieve the highest level of independence. Contact us today, and we’ll guide you towards becoming a better parent for your child.