Children and adults who have autism face many challenges in their lifetime. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 5 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. And while physically, those with autism don’t look different, the way they interact is different. To help teach others about autism, how it affects those diagnosed and the impact on their families, April has been designated National Autism Awareness/Acceptance Month.
Originally called National Autism Awareness Month, some autism groups have begun to transition to calling it National Autism Acceptance Month. Autism Society President and CEO Christopher Banks said in a statement that they’ll always be working to spread awareness. Still, acceptance is a significant barrier “to finding and developing a strong support system.”
To help foster both awareness and acceptance, here is some more information about autism, how it affects individuals and their families, and how Casmir Care Services can provide assistance to those diagnosed with autism.
What Is Autism?
Also referred to as autism spectrum disorder, autism is a developmental disability. People who have autism have problems with communicating, interacting, and engaging. They sometimes also have repetitive and obsessive habits that can impact them and their families. Autism can’t be cured, does not have one standard set of symptoms and there is no known cause. But there are behavioral and educational treatments used by therapists and doctors, to help with development.
How It Affects The Family
Having a family member who has autism can be hard on parents, siblings, and grandparents. Autism Speaks reports that 1 in 54 children was diagnosed with autism in 2020, affecting many family members who need to develop skills to help with their child’s success. Some with autism are nonverbal, engage in harmful behaviors such as head banging, have emotional breakdowns or even experience sleep issues. All of the challenges involved with autism impact individual’s families on multiple levels. Parents want their children to be happy and safe, but if your child can’t communicate their needs clearly, it can be frustrating and disappointing. Siblings of autistic children may feel neglected or ignored. And even short trips to the store can be different with an autistic child.
Autism Doesn’t Limit You
Being diagnosed with autism doesn’t automatically mean that there will be no successes in the individual’s life. No matter how small, celebrating achievements can be a way to help the family see the progress their autistic family member is making. It’s also important to remember that every autistic person doesn’t have the same symptoms or react in the same ways. Autistic individuals are just that – individuals. They experience life in their way, just like every other human being. When you think of autism, be open-minded to what people who have autism can achieve. Many famous autistic people, including Apple founder Steve Jobs, animal scientist and professor Temple Grandin, artist Andy Warhol and chess champion Bobby Fisher have had great careers. Being diagnosed with autism doesn’t mean an individual won’t be able to function in society or not have a job.
Support For The Entire Family
Having support for families of individuals with autism is very important for many reasons. Individuals may need medical, physical, and mental health treatment. Some parents and families need professional counseling to help with the emotions involved in living with an autistic child. There are also autism support groups that can help by providing a sounding board for questions and also help individuals learn social skills.
One important form of support, no matter the autistic individual’s age, is having someone who is a trained professional on hand to help when parents or siblings need to take a step back. Being able to take a break, run errands or go on a short trip is important for a care taker’s own well-being. Knowing that a trained professional is with the autistic individual during those times can help family members breathe and return refreshed.
Casmir Care Services is a leading agency that provides quality, effective, person-center services in the individual’s home. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for people with developmental disabilities through care, comfort, and compassion. Our Direct Care Professionals treat all individuals and their families with respect and are trained specifically to work with those with developmental issues. If you are looking to find in-home support for your family member with autism, contact us to see how we can help.