Living with a family member on the Autism Spectrum




Defining Autism Spectrum Disorder

 If you live with a family member who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will appreciate being fully informed, about this disorder, because the added information will prove to be highly valuable in terms of knowing what to expect and how to handle the challenges that will become part of your life. ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) can be viewed as a complicated developmental condition. A person, diagnosed with this condition, may face the following challenges:

 * social interaction difficulties 

 * speech difficulties

 * Difficulty with nonverbal communication

 * various repetitive behaviors 

 * other symptoms

 Every person, with this condition, will have their own set of symptoms and challenges to contend with because it affects everyone differently. Family members and siblings, diagnosed with ASD, will need others to understand their challenges because their interaction skills will be quite different as compared to others. You may need to explain things differently. Interaction skills are a valuable set of skills that include the use of negotiation, leadership, and diplomacy to keep order in a home. 





Family Challenges and ASD

 An ASD diagnosis, of siblings or other household members, will pose many challenges for all members of a home. There are added demands on parents and the entire unit because sacrifices will need to be made. Some days it may seem as if there are not enough hours, in a day, to meet all of the added demands efficiently. This may be hard for others to understand the added challenges and it might be helpful to explain your household circumstances. The entire home will benefit from the following:

 * understanding

 * relationship skills

 * normal interactions and opportunities included in their lives

 * a solid support group

 These are very valuable to the household with a member diagnosed with ASD. Parents will need to get to know their child's unique needs and normal interactions will enhance life for everyone in a household. 



Expression of Honest Sibling Stress

 There will be stressful moments to contend with when a sibling has ASD and it will be important to know how to express stress and manage it:


 * embarrassment due to different behaviors; there may even be some jealousy because parents will need to provide added attention. ASD can be embarrassing for those who do not have it and normally will need to be incorporated into a home. 

 * some may be targets; some members can feel targeted due to some behaviors which are aggressive from the person diagnosed with ASD. 

 * children may worry about their parents; children can pick up on stress within the household, and may have increased anxiety about their parents and the added life challenges

 * kids may strive to overcompensate for their deficits of their sibling; they may feel as if they need to make amends for their issues and behaviors.





 The honest expression of needs will empower a household to thrive and reduce stressful situations with ease. Strong relationships, with others, will enhance life in outstanding ways. Families can grow and learn how to cope by incorporating good support systems, knowledgeable professionals, ongoing information, and by being patient with each other.


 Recommended blog: The Best Books for Children under the Spectrum & Neurodiverse Kids



  • Every month in Covid-19 lockdown gets harder and sadder, just trying to keep my adult daughter’s brain stimulated. Everything she likes and needs to do is CLOSED! Her 36th birthday is coming up and there’s nothing special to plan. She lost her 12 hr per week day program in March. Movies and YMCA swimming? Closed. She is nonverbal with sensory issues and can’t / won’t wear a mask. This limits even further the stores we can enter to find silly grade school activity books! The harm continued lockdowns are doing to people with especially severe autism and cognitive disabilities should not be minimized.

    Robin Isherwood
  • Please recommend articles on potty training and bedtime, going to sleep, issues.
    Thank you

    Ruth Roden
  • Thank you for your information, very helpful!

    Bret Grisanti

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