2 April 2010
Autistic children may not even be able to communicate their basic needs and, as many families cannot afford a fulltime attendant, often family members have to take up the responsibility.
As the medical science has less to offer, becomes extremely necessary for the family to deal with emotional stress.
Doctors at the SMS Hospital come across a couple of autism related complexities every week, even as they say that being depressed is natural it must be overcome in the larger interest of the patient and the family.
“It takes a lot of endurance to take care of a patient. The parents are under tremendous pressure,” said Dr Paramjeet Singh. “Children with autism find it difficult to manage social situations leading to isolation for the entire family. However, if the stress reflects in the attitude of the attendant, it might hamper the improvement in the autistic child,” said Dr Singh.
“We refer the guardians of the patient to a family counseling programme, where one of the parent undergoes training for better understanding of the child and acting as a link between the consulting doctor and the child,” he adds.
While most families with autistic patients are able to cope with the challenge, however, the prolonged stress often devastates the families of those affected.
The stress to family life can even lead to break ups, divorces and, in extreme consequences nearly half of the number of parents of children with autism experience mental distress,” said another senior faculty at the SMS Medical College.
According to the doctors, siblings of the patient too have to deal with the unyielding challenging behaviour and possibly sleep deprivation, as many children with autism do not sleep for long periods. The social pressure sometimes has its impact.
“It’s a competitive world and parents often have been discovered to show less respect towards an underperforming child. The scenario is entirely different in case of autistic child who might even have difficulty in expressing his basic needs,” said a counselor for autistic patients.
“The families need to realise the reality and behave accordingly to avoid social stress and face the challenge as a unit,” he adds.