Parenting a child involves a lot of patience. But it is often a tall order if the child has autism spectrum disorder. As a parent, realising that your child has autism, is often very daunting. Diagnosis is only the first stage of several autism parenting challenges that you have to face that includes battling societal perceptions about the disorder in India.
Most parents indulge in self-blame when they find that their child has autism. “It’s all my fault,” and “How could I be so careless” are two of the most common thoughts that come into their minds. Parents feel embarrassed and withdraw from the social circle, because their child becomes socially unacceptable. They stop talking to their friends and relatives, fearing ridicule and unpleasant questions. The Indian society still fails to realise that special children, with proper support, can live a life much similar to their neuro-typical peers. Behavior of a special child is often labeled as “strange”, which increases the autism parenting challenges in the Indian context. This leads to the child being ignored. Also proper help doesn’t reach him/her on time.
Friends and relatives often stop sending their children to play with a child having autism spectrum disorder. This not only isolates the child but increases the autism parenting challenges. Missing out on a peer group means the absence of a social circle for the parents as well. In most cases, parents are the only human contact for the child. The parents, as a result, start living a peerless life themselves.
With much attention diverted towards the child’s needs, parents have little time for themselves. Marital discord is also not uncommon.