The World of the Autistic Child: Understanding and Treating Autistic Spectrum Disorders

By Bryna Siegel | Go to book overview

assiduously exploring every possible intervention, some parents simply burn out from the requirements of implementing many different therapeutic approaches. Some parents feel afraid they may begin to abuse their child out of frustration. Some parents simply feel they are not prepared to handle the child or the situation.

In any of these cases, a residential placement in conjunction with an appropriate school placement is very likely to be in the best interest of the child, the parents, and the rest of the family. With perseverance, a good caseworker, and an understanding of the various agencies involved, such a placement is usually obtainable, although it could take, one, two, or occasionally even three years. Families with greater economic resources usually have more choices and can make things happen more quickly.

No matter why a family chooses residential placement, the choice is never easy. There are always left-over ambivalent feelings. Parents may have to do a lot of talking to give each other permission to make the decision for residential placement. Contact with a therapist or professional who works with autistic children may provide support for the choice.

When a child first moves out of the home, there is bound to be a sense of loss. Anyone who monopolizes attention is going to be missed. It can help to think of how the child can benefit from more consistent structured care than that provided in a home environment. Thinking about a new home routine without the child helps too. Often, residential schools recommend, and I strongly endorse, that the child not come home for the first month or more. Not only does it give the child time to learn a new routine, it gives his family time to learn a new routine, also.


Chapter Summary

In this chapter, we discussed how families can gain support to deal with living with a child who has autism or PDD. Some of the support comes from within the family itself. Other support comes from outside the family--from relatives and friends, and also from agencies and schools that can alleviate strain and promote coping so crises can be avoided. In the next part of this book, we'll discuss specific aspects of the educational system, as this is the largest single resource for helping children with autism and PDD to develop.

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