Getting the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is life-changing for both the child with the diagnosis and the other family members as well. For most, the diagnosis is unexpected and there are various stressors affecting families that stem from the diagnosis. In addition to attempting to continue living life as they were with work and family demands, parents of children with ASD need to balance the demands Autism presents, such as financial stress of therapies, home treatments and therapy schedules.
Here are 4 ways that families with children diagnosed with ASD can be affected by the diagnosis.
An autism diagnosis brings about stress levels that are, in a study in the journal Pediatrics rated higher than that of the general public. The emotional stress of autism often begins even before the official diagnosis as parents struggle with their children’s behavioral and communication issues.
Other emotions that parents may feel include social isolation, despair, resentment, anger, embarrassment over their child’s behavior and frustration that the reality of their parenting experience is not what they had envisioned and expected.
There are often unexpected costs associated with raising children with autism. Copays incurred for physician visits leading up to and following diagnosis accrue quickly. And for those children who are fortunate enough to receive therapy and treatment, medical insurance commonly does not cover this big expense. Caring for a child with autism can require a full-time caregiver so one parent may not be able to work full-time, or the family may require a hired caregiver. Both these scenarios result in a reduction of income. A study in Pediatrics found that families with a child who has autism experienced on average, a loss of 14% of their family income.
Between not receiving the full attention and support of their parents and enduring the ups and downs of living with a sibling with autism, the siblings also face many stressors. The siblings’ experience and impact is not always understood by the parents and some may find it beneficial to involve their children in counseling to help in dealing with coping and communicating.
Dealing with the challenges of autism can add conflict and stress to a marriage. Marriages can suffer when finances become an issue and when finding childcare becomes difficult. Often, parents accept their child’s ASD diagnosis differently and at different times which can cause problems between a couple.
Besides caring for their children with ASD, parents must take care of themselves in order to be better caregivers. Support groups, psychotherapy and marital and family counseling are all ways that families can better cope with the changes that an ASD diagnosis brings to the family dynamic.
Creating Brighter Futures Offers Unique Family Benefits
At Creating Brighter Futures, we understand how the entire family is impacted by autism. Our experienced staff will assist your family in being fully educated in assisting your child and we even offer after-hours support when needed. We provide free assistance in dealing with your insurance company relating to any coverage that you may be entitled to. To learn about the many ways Creating Brighter Futures helps equip families, call 734-926-0740 today to speak with our experienced staff.