Sunday, January 17, 2010
Hearing the cries of autism
Raising a child with autism poses many challenges and can lead to feelings of frustration and helplessness. We all know that our children are very special and we want them to always be comforted when they are upset and to feel loved and accepted and given the necessary encouragement they need to get past what is causing them to have their difficulties. As parents we are not always sure how to address an autistic child's regression but we know we have to try our best to help them through the rough times they experience and try to maintain our calm throughout the situation. Autistic children tend to get easily upset and will scream and cry if they are upset and generally will be very difficult to reach once they are going through a tantrum. I have learned that the best way to help my son when he is having a bad tantrum is to keep him in my reach and to speak with authority but in a calm manner. It is not easy getting their attention when they are distracted but you have to try to get them to calm down and to listen. It is always a good idea to have something they like available but that will not work if the tantrum is severe. The major concern a parent has if their child throws themself to the ground in a tantrum is their safety. You need to make sure they are protected so they won't suffer an injury because thay are unaware what can happen in their tantrum fit.
We have been through many tantrums with our son and in many places and it seems with each tantrum we should be better prepared for the next one but that is not the case because each tantrum is unique. The most important thing to know what to do is always maintain calmness and always make sure your child is protected. I learned that getting upset is not the right approach. In helping an autistic child you have to understand their sensitivities and you need to respect that about an autistic child. Autistic children can have difficulty in expressing themselves and may easily get frustrated and can cause themselves harm if they start reacting physically in trying to express what they are feeling. Understanding an autistic child is not so easy and even trained professionals have to do their homework in effective communication and strategies.
Our son is making progress as he gets older and he is learning to mature and is becoming more aware of things which is very encouraging to us and we are always learning each day as he grows and develops. We are proud of his achievements and his steady improvement. As an Asperger's child our son is intelligent and has an appetite for reading and learning and when he is interested in something he can spend all his time exploring and learning about it. He has the desire and the skills to learn and he is a wonderful child. He just needs consistency in how he reacts in social settings. He does not have that much involvement outside of school and that is what we are working on in improving in his life.
As I learn of the challenges my son faces with asperger's I also am encouraged that he will be fine and will learn to deal with his feelings and will grow and mature as all kids do and he will accomplish wonderful things. I speak as a proud dad and that is coming from my heart and in knowing my son who is a very special boy and our precious gift.
It is very alarming learning the prevalence of autism and seeing the rates increase in incomprehensible proportions. I believe the current quoted rate is 1:155 children being diagnosed with some form of autism on the spectrum and that is very scary because there is no real clues as to why it is so prevalent and why their are no known cures. We must learn to hear the cries of all autistic children and try our very best to help them learn and develop so they too can meet the challenges of life and accomplish and be all they can be. Autistic children need love and understanding and most of all they need to be heard and given a voice to express themselves.
Edward D. Iannielli III