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Caring for AutismPractical Advice from a Parent and Physician$
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Michael Ellis

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190259358

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190259358.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 31 July 2021

Autism’s Effect on the Whole Family

Autism’s Effect on the Whole Family

(p.62) (p.63) 5 Autism’s Effect on the Whole Family
Caring for Autism

Michael Ellis

Oxford University Press

The impairments associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) not only affect the individual with ASD, but also dramatically impact the parents, caregivers, family, teachers, school system, peers, and the community in general. The overall responsibility is great and felt by everyone who comes into contact with the individual with ASD. In this chapter, we will focus on ASD’s effect on the family. First, we will discuss what is known about how ASD typically impacts the whole family. Second, we will discuss how this family impact causes a reciprocal negative effect on the child with ASD, which may then diminish positive outcomes of interventions. Lastly, we will discuss the extent to which parental involvement is needed during treatments or interventions. I will show how certain interventions may reduce stress and the negative effects on the family and the child with ASD. It is my intention and hope that a discussion of what is “normal” in families affected by ASD will provide you with a greater understanding of ASD and the recognition that you are not alone in dealing with these challenges. This should lessen your sense of isolation and allow you to feel that your family dynamic is less “odd” and unique than you likely currently feel. As knowledge is power, some of the latest evidence and research will be shared. Being armed with this information will provide you with the confidence to tackle the typical difficulties associated with autism. You will learn how to be more resilient and avoid the most common pitfalls. The symptoms of ASD present a unique set of challenges for parents and the family as a whole. Thus, it is not surprising that research in this area indicates that caregivers of those with ASD have decreased parenting efficacy, or a reduced belief in their own parenting skills. These caregivers also have more parenting stress and increased mental and physical health problems. This is true even in comparison to the caregivers of children with other developmental disorders.

Keywords:   Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), Asperger's syndrome/disorder, Down syndrome, Medicaid, cerebral palsy, high-functioning, child with ASD, individual education plans (IEPs), intellectual disability, neurologist, psychologist

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