Challenges of Living with Autism
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Terri Wallace
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is general terms for complex group of disorders of brain development which can be characterized by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, and repetitive behaviors.
While there are many possible symptoms, and varying degrees of severity, here are some of the challenges associated with autism.
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10. Social Challenges
Autism Spectrum Disorders often have symptoms which cause social challenges for those afflicted with the disorder. While the specific symptoms and their severity varies, it is not uncommon for autistic individuals to exhibit repetitive behaviors, have difficulty with subtle social cues, seem less empathetic or understanding of others’ feelings, and may have problems regulating their emotions.
9. Verbal Communication Challenges
Autistic individuals can also have problems communicating with others. For instance, younger children with autism can suffer from delayed speech. Therapy can be beneficiary for those with communication challenges. Individuals who are nonverbal or with severely limited verbal skills can learn alternative methods of communication, such as picture based communication, sign language, or even computer generated communication.
8. Non-verbal Communication Challenges
What we communicate is often conveyed with both verbal and non-verbal cues. Non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, body language, even tone of voice, can be lost on those with Autism. Emotion flash cards can help individuals learn to identify what various emotions look like so they can better learn how to respond to non-verbal cues.
7. Repetitive Behaviors
Repetitive behaviors are a common symptom of autism. Some individuals rock back and forth, rearrange items, or repeat words or phrases. An autistic child might fixate on organizing their toys in a certain order, spending hours getting everything just right—and if someone moves something from its place, it is incredibly unsettling for him.
6. Sensory Processing Difficulties
Autistic individuals can have atypical sensory responses. Some experience pain from what most would consider normal stimuli. Those with autism can be hypersensitive to lights, noises, or touch; however, others might show a lack of response to these same typical stimuli. Sensory integration therapy can be beneficial for these sensory processing difficulties, as can occupational therapy.
5. Sleep Dysfunction
Unfortunately, sleep problems seem to be quite common among individuals with Autism. However, by creating a comfortable sleep environment and maintaining a regular sleep schedule, a good sleep routine can often be established. Those with more severe sleep disturbances should talk to their physician about additional ways to help achieve adequate rest.
4. Scholastic Challenges
Kids can be cruel, and there is only so much a parent can do to protect a child from social and scholastic problems. However, an open and proactive relationship with a child’s teachers and school administrators can help minimize these issues. It is up to you to advocate for your child. Discuss your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and what might help him succeed. Obtain physicians’ letters to substantiate your child’s diagnosis and provide the authority necessary to request additional services for your child.
3. Employment Challenges
In order to help an individual with autism to find employment, it is necessary that they work to develop the “people skills” necessary for a job. Many autistic individuals have proven to be quite skilled at research work when their obsession becomes an asset. Their hyper-focus can prove to be a valuable skill as they methodically work to find the desired information.
2. Relationship Challenges
Relationships are complicated. This is especially true for autistic individuals, due to the problems that arise with both verbal and non-verbal communication. Being upfront about the situation, learning to try to verbalize expectations, and avoiding sarcasm or non-verbal indicators can help. Relationships are easier when both parties feel comfortable making request and asking for clarification from one another.
1. Family Challenges
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Families which include autistic and non-autistic children require a delicate balance. While it is natural to want to do whatever necessary to help your autistic child, you don’t want to inadvertently cause your non-autistic child to feel left out or fighting for attention. It is important to have one-on-one time with your children, and your spouse, as well as to plan family activities, to make sure that everyone feels valued and appreciated.
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