Tips for Parents of Children with Autism in Developing Countries

33 blog avatar 1 Tips for Parents of Children with Autism in Developing Countries
Expert Name: Kimberly Woolery
Expert Title: Kimberly Woolery
Company Name:  Special Learning, Inc.
Company URL: www.special-learning.com
Short Bio: Kimberly Woolery received her bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a minor in psychology from Florida International University and her master’s degree in counseling psychology with a concentration

in Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis from Nova Southeastern University. Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Kimberly’s clinical research interests lies in achieving cultural competency in behavior analytic service delivery. As a clinical specialist at Special Learning, Kimberly hopes to fuse marriage and family therapy with behavior analysis to create a culturally sensitive service delivery model for the special needs population in developing countries like Jamaica.

Tips for Parents of Children with Autism in Developing Countries

When any parent has recently learned that their child has or might have a developmental disability such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it completely turns their world upside down. They begin to worry about their child’s future and what the next step of action is. Given the fact that society is still learning how to embrace and accept disabilities, it is only normal for parents to become distraught when they are told that their child has a disability.

Being a parent is hard enough, but knowing that every choice and decision you make as a parent can greatly impact your child’s developmental progress and future can create an extremely high stress situation. Here are some helpful tips that you as parents can consider when your child is newly diagnosed with a developmental disability.

Educate Yourself

After your child has been newly diagnosed, it is important that you learn as much as you can about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). There is never such a thing as knowing too much. Learn about the symptoms, the signs, the different types of treatments and interventions that are available.

Also, ensure that you keep up with the research. The more information you have, the better equipped you are to make informed choices for your child. The more you understand about ASD, the less scary a diagnosis will seem.

Join Local Support Groups/Foundations

Most developing countries have their own local support groups and organizations for families of children with autism. It’s as simple as going on Google and typing in the “Name of your country” and “autism.” You may be surprised at what you find.

There are several organizations and support groups for parents all over the world. Many of these organizations have a plethora of information on their website, which includes contact information on the association and meetings. These websites also have lots of information on the local resources and service providers in your country. Seek comfort in knowing that you are not alone in facing the day-to-day challenges in being aparent of a child with autism.

Take Care of Yourself

Caring for a child with special needs is stressful, and parents/caregivers often invest most of their time and energy into caring for their child. They become so busy in their child’s weekly routine, whether it’s taking their child to speech therapy on Mondays, occupational therapy on Tuesdays, ABA therapy on Wednesdays and other activities during the week and sometimes weekends. This can be extremely tiring and time consuming, and parents often forget that in order to properly care for their child, they also have to take care of themselves.

Parents need to be able to relieve their stress somehow. Give yourself an hour or two to exercise to blow off some steam or doing something else you truly enjoy. If you start to feel too overwhelmed with everything, it may be time for you to seek professional help.

Remember that it is normal for you to experience feelings of denial, guilt, anger, isolation and depression. It is important that you deal and confront these feelings because ignoring them may adversely affect how you care for your child. Talk to your family physician about qualified individual or family therapists.

Here is an excellent website that has an exhaustive list of Autism Organizations Worldwide:
Action for Autism: National Centre For Autism
http://www.autism-india.org/worldorgs.html

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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