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The Effects Of Autism On Family Life, Family Structure And Family Relationships Psychology Literature Review

1908 words - 8 pages

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Effects of Autism
AUTISM, FAMILY LIFE, AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS
The Effects of Autism on Family Life, Family Structure and Family Relationships
Soraya L. Sicard
York College, CUNY
The Effects of Autism on Family Life, Family Structure and Family Relationships
Autism Spectrum Disorder affects approximately 1 in every 10 children and is growing at a rate of 10% to 17% per year (Meadan, Halle, and Ebata, 2010). Autism is defined as a developmental disorder affecting normal developmental of social and communication skills in the brain. Some common characteristics of Autism include impairment of social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communications, processing sense information and limited and repetitive patterns in behavior. Many individuals with Autism have behavior episodes that might be expected to have an impact on members of both the immediate and extended family. Parents and siblings of individuals with Autism report significantly more stress and lower levels of well being than of those of children without disabilities and children with other disabilities (Meadan et al., 2010). The stress of caring for an individual diagnosed with Autism can become a burden and sometimes takes a negative toll of the family and it members, including parents, siblings and extended family.
When parents of children with Autism are stressed, the quality of life of the family tends to decrease leading an ambiguous loss and increases in stress levels of parents. The less stress on a parent, the better the family is structured and the better the quality of life for everyone. Johnson (2011) finds that the stress of personal and family life (finances, work responsibilities, balancing the needs of siblings) and the discrepancy in expectations to family functioning were negatively associated with parent’s mental health. Caring for children with Autism are financially, physically and emotionally challenging for caregivers. The higher functioning the child, the less of a challenge for the family. Autism is Autism no matter the level of function of the child and the quality of life of families are affected in any situation when caring for a child with Autism. The physical health quality of life of parents of children with autism significantly predicted stress as being the only psychosocial variable. Although raising children is often considered stressful for parents, this can be especially challenging for parents of a child with an autism spectrum disorder (Lee, 2009). Organization and routines are very helpful with someone’s day-to-day life. Learning that a child has a developmental disability takes a toll of the parents of that child. Mothers of children diagnosed with Autism and links to higher levels of depression and stress. O’Brien (2007) states that the theory of Ambiguous Loss was measured with an interview of 63 mothers with many different backgrounds including age, race and monthly salary income. When people experience ambiguous loss, they have difficulty...

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