Autism Spectrum Disorder affects the brain development of a person which impacts the perception and socialization skills. This causes problems in social interactions and communication. This disorder also leads to repetitive patterns of behavior.
Children who are autistic are born with the disorder. It doesn’t develop over time. However, if not handled properly, the symptoms can become more prominent as the child grows.
Autism Spectrum Disorder can be quite crippling for the child and the parents. It is not easy to treat and cope with ASD. Children with this disorder face some major challenges that can impact their daily life.
These are the challenges that children with autism face along with the symptoms of autism. Here are some of those challenges:
Cognitive issues: Children might have difficulties in paying attention and being able to concentrate.
Mental health issues: Children with autism are often prone to depression, OCD, and anxiety.
Motor Skills: Their motor skills are also several hampered. They might face a problem with holding a pencil or standing straight.
Functional problems: They have difficulty in sleeping, eating. They also are unable to do day to day activities.
Other disorders: Children with autism can also develop other disorders such as hyperactive disorder and even epilepsy.
Children with autism are prone to anger and aggression. They get irritated easily and can also at times indulge in self-harm. Sometimes they keep hitting their head on a wall as part of their repetitive behavior.
Children with autism experience high levels of anxiety. This can cause sweating, sudden urination, and even shivers. Since children suffering from autism are unable to express freely, their anxiety can go unnoticed. It becomes quite difficult for parents and even therapists to observe anxiety and depressive states. This is mainly because they are unable to express or communicate exactly what they are feeling.
Children suffering from Autism can develop other disorders due to anxiety as well, such as :
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Social phobia
- General Phobias
- Being hyper-alert all the time
- Avoidance behavior
- Resistance to change
- Complete shutdowns
Since children with autism are unable to express what they are feeling. Parents need to be hyper-alert and monitor their behavior. Parents can also encourage their children to express themselves. They can use other methods like art to know how their child is feeling.
Dealing with change
Children with ASD tend towards being in their world. They engage in repetitive behavior and resist any kind of change. Some children keep dropping a pencil multiple times. And if anyone tries to stop them, they get irritated.
This leads to serious issues as they grow up. Change is a part of growing up. However, it is extremely stressful for children suffering from Autism to accept it. They crave for predictable routines and familiar environments. Parents and therapists need to plan and prepare for every little change that a child with ASD might have to face.
Here are some changes that children with ASD might find hard to cope with:
- Leaving their house
- Having guests over
- Going to a new place, like school, doctor, etc.
- Switching between different activities and tasks
- Doing everyday things in a different order
- Trying new foods.
Children suffering from ASD also face the challenge of going to school. They cannot go to a normal school. Instead, children need to go to special schools that specialize in teaching children with autism. These schools are well equipped to handle the challenges that children with autism face daily.
While bullying can happen to anyone regardless of their abilities, it is more common with children suffering from ASD. This is quite a challenging external factor that children with autism have to face. Even though such acts should heavily be discouraged, it is still a reality in our society.
Parents need to continuously check their children for any visible marks or scars. They should also try to talk to the teachers to make sure that their children are not being bullied. Children with ASD will seldom come and openly talk about being bullied.
There are other external challenges that children with autism have to face.
- It is not easy to find the right type of school and education for children with autism. Children suffering from ASD need special schools, which are not readily available.
- Going from school to college or into jobs. This can be quite difficult for children with autism as they grow older. They can find it extremely hard to get into a job environment. This change needs to be monitored and prepared for since their childhood.
- Children with autism are unable to maintain a healthy diet. They have struggled with eating, thus they often either refuse to eat or eat whatever they feel like.
- They find it hard to relax or enjoy leisure time.
- Children with ASD are also unable to maintain relationships. This is mainly because of their limited social skills.
- They also face a lot of social taboos, prejudice, and discrimination. This makes it quite hard for them to adjust in society without help.
Challenges Faced By Parents
Parents of children with autism also face a lot of issues and challenges. For them, it can get quite difficult at times to take care of their children with autism, and this can also hamper them mentally.
- Parents can often feel excessive worry and even exhaustion. This can sometimes lead to frustration and burn out.
- Parents also have to cope with people’s prejudices, taboos, and ignorance. This can get quite frustrating. Their own families can harbor biases against children with autism.
- There is a severe lack of resources such as schools and care centers for children with autism. This can cause the parent to worry about finding the right resources. Even if they find the resources most of them are not up to the standard.