Caring for a child or relative with autism presents a number of unique challenges. This neural development disorder is still a subject of extensive research, without any single known cause.
Some autistic children and adults are able to live relatively average, independent lives, with a few special considerations. Others may struggle with more limiting disabilities and require more intensive care. Whatever the case, personal care services can help.
What is autism?
Autism is a brain development disorder that negatively affects children and is associated with several mental symptoms. Autism symptoms vary greatly in their severity and type among children. It is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning that the intensity of autism signs greatly differs among recipients, from only mild impairments to severe disabilities.
The onset of the disorder is most often in early childhood. By the age of three, the vast majority of autistic children have established symptoms and can be diagnosed.
What are some early signs of autism?
If a child is experiencing any of the following behaviors, it is likely that he or she may be showing the first signs of autism:
- Has trouble with social interactions
- Engages in repetitive behavior of a specific type
- Shows blunted emotional responsiveness
- Demonstrates communication problems
In medical terms, autism is defined as a disorder that involves impairment in three aspects of functioning:
- Social interaction
- Communication and restrictive
- Repetitive behavior
Some children have more speech problems, while others find it more difficult to make friends and interact with children and adults. Intelligence levels are also different among autistic children, and many grow up to become independent adults—often when rigorous therapy and education work has been performed.
Why might a child with autism benefit from home care?
Children affected by autism frequently require specialized home care due to the difficulty of focusing their attention on learning new things and their social communication problems.
The benefits and scope of home care services will vary, depending on each autistic person and his or her unique needs. Services may include:
- Helping the autistic individual complete their daily routines
- Ensuring that the person stays safe
- Reminding individual to take medications
- Assisting the autistic person in mastering new skills.
- Completing household chores, such as preparing meals
- Accompanying the autistic person to community events
The exact range of duties can vary, depending on the needs of the family and recipient of care.
The entire family can also benefit from home care services, as respite care for autism can free up time to spend with other children, take care of other responsibilities, or go to work. A caregiver can give the rest of the family full peace of mind that the autistic child is taken care of and happy, so that they are free to take care of other tasks.
What sort of care can help children with autism?
The professionals providing personal care services are knowledgeable about the unique challenges of caring for a person with autism. They are equipped to deal with temper tantrums and can work on specific behavior management techniques. The caregiver will be able to get to know the patient, including his or her personal behaviors and habits.
Caregivers should also be able to help the autistic individual work towards greater independence, if appropriate. It is especially important for providers of home care services to be able to communicate effectively with the autistic child or adult, whether this involves non-verbal cues or other non-traditional methods of communication.
Specialized personal care services and educational therapy are also effective methods of managing autism. Having a child with autism is a challenge for parents due to the high possibility of a poor response to medication and the complex symptoms that accompany this condition.
However, a professional home care provider can design an individual personal care plan that may include specialized autism educational training, social and behavioral therapies, supervision of proper medication intake and management of side effects. Professional home care, combined with family support, is the key to successful management of autistic children.
Respite Care for Child with Autism
If you’re thinking about providing care for a child with autism, why not speak to a member of the Best Care team? We are more than happy to answer any questions you might have about where to begin!