Living With Autism: When You Should Consider Full Time Care?
By James Harper
When a parent discovers that their child has autism or a condition on the autistic spectrum, this news can initially be devastating. Many families go through a period of disbelief and denial, and struggle to accept the diagnosis and understand what it means for their child’s future.
Some children with autism can live a relatively normal life with some basic supported living arrangements. They can attend regular schools, and with some basic autism care including some counselling, enjoy a fairly normal social life.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some autistic children find the stresses of day to day life far too overwhelming. They cannot cope with lots of background noise and struggle in normal social situations. Even being touched gently can be distressing for them. This can lead to violent outbursts and dangerously irrational behaviour. A child that lashes out, or damages property, because of their distress can put the whole family at risk.
Autism Care and Children’s Homes
When normal supported living set ups fail, full time care can be a good option. Some parents delay this option for as long as possible, hoping that their child’s behaviour will improve. They may feel as though putting their child into a home is essentially giving up, or admitting failure, but this cannot be further from the truth. It’s better to ensure that your child gets the support and assistance they need, rather than keep them in an environment that is distressing for them.
There is no shame in admitting that your child needs autism care. Some children, especially those that have the most severe communication problems, need the support of a person that has been trained in helping those with disabilities. It can be difficult to admit that you can’t take sole responsibility for looking after your child, but once you see how much happier they are when they are surrounded by others like them, instead of neurotypical children of the same age, it’s likely you’ll decide that you made the right decision.
In some cases, after a while with autism care specialists, a non-verbal youngster may develop enough life skills to be able to attend a regular school. The earlier you can get your child the support they need, the better.
Caregivers Need More Support
Supported living schemes are still in their infancy in many areas, and there is often little distinction made between milder autistic spectrum disorders and full autism. A family with a child that is more on the “rain man” savant side of the spectrum, and a family with a physically strong, violent, uncommunicative child may both get offered the same amount and type of support.
Until there is an understanding that the autistic spectrum is incredibly broad, and every child is different, it’s up to the families of autistic children to push for the kind of support they need. Asking for help is not giving up, and it is not admitting failure. If anything, it’s the exact opposite as you are proving that you believe in your child’s ability to grow if they are given the aid they need.