Term Paper: Stress Impact an Autistic Child

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¶ … stress impact an autistic child has on his or her family. The writer examines stressors that are indigenous to families with autistic children and explores avenues of resolving or relieving the stress. There were eight sources used to complete this paper.

REDUCING STRESS IN FAMILIES WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD

Autism is one of the most shocking and unfair diagnosis's that a family can face. Every parent worries during pregnancy whether the baby will be healthy or have health problems. Once the baby is born and by all intent appears to be perfectly healthy the parents' attention turns to milestones and they begin to compare their baby's firsts with what the books say is the appropriate age for them to do so. The first time they pick up a rattle, hold their own bottle, take their first step or speak their first word parents race to the books t compare their baby with the average baby in the world. Usually by the time the baby reaches that first birthday the parents have relaxed, realized that their child will be just fine and they settle into watching him develop. That is when it hits. The child may stop speaking, or maybe he suddenly cannot handle being touched, or sometimes both things occur together. Parents puzzle over their child's sudden reduction in progress and begin looking for answers (Harris, 1994). After several doctor visits, development specialists and others the parents hear the diagnosis. Autism. Just when they thought everything was fine their world is turned upside down and their stress is just beginning. For the next few years they learn that autism creates stress within the family in ways they never before dreamed possible. The child can have moods that defy all logic. Well meaning family members try and tell the parents how to handle the child, or they don't believe in autism and believe the child is just stubborn and tell the parents to discipline it out of him. School functions, social events and other elements of life that most people take in stride produce severe stress for the family of an autistic child. This project will examine the stress of families dealing with an autistic child and some of the things that are being done to help reduce it.

In reducing the stress that the family deals with the environment for the autistic child will be improved which will in turn benefit that child.

INTRODUCTION

Autism can be a devastating diagnosis for parents who often spend months trying to get to the bottom of what is happening with their once vibrant, developing toddler. Once the diagnosis process is complete the parents are left with trying to care for the child who can be trying at best and the family is often thrown into a very stressful environment as family members work to maintain a sense of normalcy while coping with the elements of autism (Moes, 1995). One of the more draining aspects of having a child in the family with autism is the stress that it can create. Stress has long since been known to create health issues, cause divorce and create family and relationship disharmony in ways that are sometimes irreparable. It is important to understand exactly how having a child with autism impacts the family by the stress that it causes. It is by that understanding that future programs can be developed to help alleviate the stress.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Autism was first identified as a pervasive developmental disorder in 1943 by a man named Leo Kanne (Pargament, 2001)r. At that time he described the disorder as creating impairments in social interaction as well as communication ability. Classic symptoms of the disorder include repetitive physical behaviors, interests or activities along with regression in communication attempts and the withdrawal of the desire to be physically close to other people (Pargament, 2001).

The incidence of the disorder is between four and 10 for every 10,000 births. Research indicates that 75% of children with autism are also mentally retarded, which creates a doubly difficult problem to work with (Pargament, 2001).

Several past studies have indicated that families who have a child with a disability suffer from more stress and distress than families with children who are not disabled do.

While studies also indicate that families come to accept the stress of having a disabled child as mutually beneficial because of the things that they learn about themselves and the world in having a disabled child, the fact… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Stress Impact an Autistic Child.  (2006, June 6).  Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/stress-impact-autistic-child/731314

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"Stress Impact an Autistic Child."  Essaytown.com.  June 6, 2006.  Accessed December 9, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/stress-impact-autistic-child/731314.