Managing Family Relationships When One Child Has Autism

A diagnosis of autism doesn’t only affect the child and his or her parents; it’s a life-altering event that changes the dynamics of the whole family. It can take quite a while for all of the family members to adjust to the new reality, but there are plenty of autism therapy techniques and family support services available. It’s also important to remember that your child is still the same, sweet boy or girl you know and love.

Sibling Relationships

Typically developing siblings can often have a difficult time coping with the challenges of autism. They may feel angry about the attention given to the child with autism; they may feel embarrassed about the atypical behaviors displayed in school and throughout the community; and they may feel upset with themselves for experiencing these emotions. To encourage healthy sibling relationships, it’s a good idea for typically developing siblings to have their own special, one-on-one time with each parent. Siblings should also feel free to express their feelings in a judgment-free environment.

Marital Issues

The stress of juggling the many demands of autism and its treatment can easily spill over into a marriage. Marriages can deteriorate due to financial strain and emotional challenges, such as one spouse feeling resentment that the other spouse isn’t handling his or her share of the workload. It’s important for spouses to spend some time together regularly. This is often difficult when a child has autism, but some creative scheduling can help. Spouses could meet each other for a lunch date during work hours when the kids are at school, for example.

Family Traditions

Children with autism often have trouble coping with changes in daily routines. It can be difficult to take the whole family on vacation or to a holiday gathering at a relative’s house. But extensive pre-planning can help families maintain these important traditions. When going to a family reunion, for example, the family affected by autism might arrive much earlier than everyone else to allow the child plenty of time to adjust to the new surroundings.

The Behavior Exchange is an ABA school in Frisco and Plano that provides comprehensive support to help each child with autism reach his or her full potential. Give us a call today at (888) 716-8084 to set up a consultation with an ABA therapist. Be sure to ask us about our parent training classes.

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