Font Size
A
A
A

Autism (cont.)

Support Groups and Counseling

Having a child diagnosed with autism can be a devastating experience for many parents and families. They may feel frustrated, confused, and afraid-they may even "grieve" for their "normal child."

Living with autism presents many new challenges for the person with autism and for his or her family and friends.

Parents of autistic children certainly have many worries. They wonder if their children will be able to achieve, if they will be able to be independent, and if they will be able to be happy and enjoy life. Parents also probably have many worries about how the autism will affect them and their ability to live a normal life, that is, to care for their family and home, to hold a job, and to continue the friendships and activities they enjoy. Many people feel anxious and depressed. Some people feel angry and resentful; others feel helpless and defeated.

For most people who have a child with autism, and even for some with autism themselves, talking about their feelings and concerns helps.

Friends and family members can be very supportive. They may be hesitant to offer support until they see how you are coping. Don't wait for them to bring it up. If you want to talk about your concerns, let them know.

Some people don't want to burden their loved ones, or they prefer talking about their concerns with a more neutral professional. A family therapist, social worker, counselor, or member of the clergy can be helpful if you want to discuss your feelings and concerns about your child's autism. Your health care practitioner should be able to recommend someone.

Many people who have a child with autism are profoundly helped by talking to other people in the same situation. Sharing your concerns with others who have been through the same thing can be remarkably reassuring. Support groups for families affected by autism may be available through the organizations providing treatment and education for your child.

For information about support groups in the area for families with an autistic child, contact the following organizations:

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics

REFERENCES:

Arehart-Treichel J. Autism treatment arsenal expands, with more options on horizon. Psychiatric News 2010 May 21; 45(10): 20.

Williams E. A comparative review of early forms of object-directed play and parent-infant play in typical infants and young children with autism. Autism 2003; 7; 361-377.

Previous contributing authors and editors: Author: Cynthia R Ellis, MD, Director of Developmental Medicine, Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Munroe Meyer Institute for Genetics and Rehabilitation, University of Nebraska Medical Center. Coauthor(s): Kathryn L Hale, MS, PA-C, Medical Writer, eMedicine.com, Inc. Editors: Rick Kulkarni, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, David Geffen UCLA School of Medicine; Director of Informatics, Department of Emergency Medicine, UCLA/Olive View-UCLA Medical Center; Mary L Windle, Pharm D, Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine.com, Inc; Alan D Schmetzer, MD, Professor and Assistant Chair for Education, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/18/2014

Must Read Articles Related to Autism

Asperger's Syndrome (Asperger Syndrome, Asperger Disorder)
Asperger Syndrome Asperger syndrome, also known as Asperger's disorder, Asperger's syndrome, or AS, is a pervasive developmental disorder. Asperger syndrome is characterized as o...learn more >>
Seizures in Children
Seizures in Children A seizure occurs when the brain functions abnormally, resulting in a change in movement, attention, or level of awareness. Different types of seizures may occur...learn more >>
Seizure
Wilderness: Seizure Abnormal electrical activity in the brain triggers seizure activity. A person may have a seizure disorder (epilepsy) and require medications. Other factors such...learn more >>

Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Autism:

Autism - Diagnosis

How was your experience with autism diagnosed?

Autism - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your children autism?

Autism - Treatment

What treatment was effective for your autism?



NIH talks about Ebola on WebMD

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Autism »

Autism is a condition that manifests in early childhoodand is characterized by qualitative abnormalities in social interactions, marked aberrant communication skills, and restricted repetitive and stereotyped behaviors.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


Medical Dictionary