What is autism?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a type of developmental disorder that affects the way a person is able to communicate and interact socially with others. This lifelong condition typically surfaces in childhood and can present itself in different ways. People with ASD do not have an illness or disease, but rather their brains just work in a way that is different from that of others. The way that people with ASD experience the world around them is much different than most people. Continue reading to find out common signs of autism and how caring for someone with autism can affect you.
Common Signs of Autism
- Sensitivities to certain smells, sounds, tastes, etc.
- Difficulty communicating with others
- Does not like to make eye contact
- Not responding to name
- Repetitive movements or phrases
- Difficulty making friends or engaging in social situations
- Needing routine and getting upset if it is broken
- Not understanding social norms (i.e. talking over people or being disruptive unintentionally)
- Difficulty understanding emotions of self and others
Your Role as a Carer
Caring for someone with ASD has many unique challenges and can be very difficult at times. Because one person’s triggers and sensitivities can greatly differ from the next, many carers’ experiences differ from one another. It is important to be aware of your loved one’s unique experience with autism so that you can do your best to help them thrive. Coming up with things such as a structured routine, nonverbal communication techniques, and a personalized plan for handling common issues can make a huge difference in both you and your loved one’s life.
While there is quite a bit that you as a carer must do for your loved one with autism, it is important to also take time to care for yourself. Many carers report that they often feel worried or stressed when it comes to caring for their loved one with ASD. Simply reading up on the condition and staying informed can ease your mind. Make time each day in your loved one’s routine where you can spend some time doing something you love. This could be as simple as reading the paper and drinking a coffee before the person you care for wakes up! At the same time, having people to go to who understand what you are going through can be extremely helpful. Joining support groups or groups for carers can help you to do this! Sometimes, though, you just need some more help and support.
Need more support?
If you are caring for someone who has autism and feel you need more support, Suffolk Carers Matter can help! Our team can help to provide you with advice and guidance, as well as refer you to our free counselling service if it is needed.
CALL us on 01284 333035 – open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-2pm.
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