Fostering an autistic child is both challenging and rewarding.
Honestly, there is no secret recipe or special powers required to be successful in raising a child who falls on the autism spectrum. However, there is a specific way to help manage the symptoms, provide further understanding, and accumulate appropriate skills to navigate around the challenging world of autistic childcare, and it’s called counseling.
More Than The Kids
Counseling not only benefits children with autism but also assists their parents in becoming more knowledgeable and skillful in managing the disorder. More often than not, parents tend to go overly invested in researching, nurturing, and financing for kids’ therapeutic modalities that they become neglectful of their own self-care needs. As John Strang, Psy.D. elaborates, “It is important to help people with autism notice when they are stuck on details. Over time they can get in the habit of recognizing when they are focused at the detail level and learn to zoom out to see the big picture.”
Counseling Benefits To Parents
For parents to efficiently manage their children’s autism and ultimately survive the process without being scathed, seeking the help of a professional is, at some point, necessary. Here are four reasons why counseling is not only beneficial for the child but also the parents:
- Accepting And Understanding The Diagnosis
“The autism diagnosis itself is often traumatic for parents. It can be a grueling process that may take up to a year or more, with multiple visits to several different professionals.” Janeen Herskovitz, MA, LMHC said. At first realization of the disorder, parents would be subjected to a state of disbelief and shock. Autism is more traumatic for parents than to children because the moment their kids are diagnosed with autism, the weight becomes heavier and the stakes become higher. Autism care requires a lot of parents mainly because it involves multiple visits to the various medical professionals, gradually adjusting to the condition, and child-proofing the house to be a haven for children with autism.
Counseling can somehow alleviate the anxiety, sadness, fear, guilt, and worry of taking care of an autistic child. Make the most of your counseling visits by being accepting of the reality that your child does have autism. The grief felt upon hearing the diagnosis usually overwhelms parents, but with the help of counseling, parents can better understand and recognize their strengths to deal with the condition the best way they can.
- Management Of Stress
“Some stress is unavoidable but if you can keep perspective then it can be a whole lot easier.” That is according to Gretchen Flores, MA LPC LCPC. Stress is part of every household and is a significant aspect of the disorder for it can make parents indisposed. Stress management is another factor that can be addressed by counseling. By offering support, validation, and overall care that may result in proper self-care skills, counseling can ultimately help parents go through rough patches.
- Enhance Parenting Abilities
Parenting a normal child is different from parenting an autistic child. There are a lot of things to consider on top of the usual responsibilities. Some of the necessities of taking care of a child with autism would be educational plans, safety concerns, therapeutic modalities, and medical interventions; and these are just some of the primary issues that every parent who has an autistic child must consider. For this reason, it comes as no surprise that parents get incredibly disoriented and overwhelmed when dealing with everything. Trained counselors focus on the needs of families with autism spectrum children, which is crucial in continuous care and reducing anxiety while being more adept in autism care.
In the face of adversity, parents must persevere because often, relationships don’t get ruined by illnesses or disorders but by the way, they accept, understand, respond, and handle the condition. As parents, you have to realize that you cannot be successful on this journey alone without professional guidance. And remember, counseling is not just for your child but also for your welfare as well.