Miriam Leah Waldman Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. “It is a result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain and impacts the normal development of the brain, in areas of social interaction and communication skills” (Bee and Boyd 226). Research from 2009 suggests autism now affects every 1 in 110 children. Having a child with autism affects the entire family. Amongst the siblings there will be frustration and disappointment when a sibling shows no interest.
After a while, she will probably give up trying to relate to him/her and focus their energy on other people. The sibling relationship may become one of sadness or indifference. Most children who have siblings with autism learn to handle the experience and show no major effects. There are special demands growing up in a household where a child has autism. Although some children learn to deal with these demands, others have greater difficulty. It can be viewed as a burden but it can be alleviated from the support of others. Researchers have looked in greater detail over recent years.
The siblings in the negative groups said they were worried about the future of the child and believed that the parents favored their autistic child over them. Children who viewed parents as responding positively and had a good understanding of the disability had a more positive relationship with their sibling. It is important to be aware that siblings of an autistic child may be afraid to ask questions or raise problems because they do not want to upset their parents or because they are ashamed of their own feelings of anger, jealousy or resentment.
Some children may feel responsible for their sibling’s disability. Researchers Milton Seligman and Rosalyn Darling (1997) point to several areas where siblings with autism may learn to cope . It is important to have communication to help bring the family together to share information or to problem solve when issues come up. The lack of information leaves a big space in a child’s mind to be filled by misinformation and fears. At a family meeting, one can share their thoughts and feelings concerning the child with autism or any concerns.
It is important for a child to have special time with a parent, but also important to be together as a family. As the siblings get older, they will become more concerned and may feel embarrassed to be in public with a sibling with autism. Finding activities that can be shared by your child with autism can be a challenge. Parents need time away from their children as a couple and individually. Playing together is one of the important experiences that siblings share. It helps to build the sibling bond. A parent who is skillful in the basics of behavioral teaching like providing rewards can help a sibling master these skills.
In 1943 Dr. Leo Kanner of the Johns Hopkins Hospital studied a group of 11 children and introduced the label early infantile autism into the English language. At the same time a German scientist, Dr. Hans Asperger, described a milder form of the disorder that became known as Asperger syndrome. Therefore, these two disorders were described and are today listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as two of the five pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), more often referred to today as autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
All these disorders are characterized by varying degrees of impairment in communication skills, social interactions, and restricted, repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior. The appearance of any of the warning signs of ASD is reason to have a child evaluated by a professional specializing in these disorders. ( National Institute of Mental Health Children and adults may exhibit repeated body movement such as hand flipping or rocking, unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to change in routines. They possibly experience sensitivities in the five senses sight, hearing, and touch taste and smell.
It is important to know that children that have autism do not communicate with words effectively, rather they do communicate with behaviors. These behaviors could be repetitive and unacceptable to those around because harm can be done to the autistic or those around. Since the autistic child cannot communicate freely without having difficulties, the behaviors usually displayed to pass their feelings across include; kicking, scratching, screaming, crying, biting, hitting, hair pulling, head butting, spitting, singing, pinching, pushing etc.
It is important that you understand these behaviors and also know why the autistic usually engages in them. (Katheline Dohaney) American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). New York: American Psychiatric Association. http://www. webmd. com/brain/autism/features/autism-and-family-relationships Sandra L. Hariss, Ph. D. and Beth A. Glasberg, Ph. D. (2003) Topics in Autism Siblings of Children with Autism A Guide for Families ( Second Edition)