Isolation can lead to depression and other mental health issues
One of the biggest challenges that autistic individuals and their families face is isolation. When a child is first diagnosed, it can be a big shock for parents. They are suddenly thrust into a world where they know nothing about and have no one to turn to for help. They often feel like they are the only ones going through this and can become very isolated.
This isolation can lead to many negative emotions such as anger, resentment, and depression. Parents need to find support groups or other families in similar situations, so they don’t feel alone. There are also many online mental health services and resources available that can be helpful.
Having no support system can also cause caregiver burnout, as many individuals with autism require round-the-clock care and supervision. In addition, parents of children on the spectrum are often hypervigilant as they worry about their child’s needs being met or safety concerns such as eloping- which is common among kids diagnosed with autism. Constant hypervigilance can lead to long-term anxiety disorders and other health issues
Some common stereotypes and misconceptions about autism
Attitudes towards autism and disabilities, in general, have shifted dramatically in recent years. There is now a greater understanding of autism and its effects on people’s lives. People with autism are now more likely to be accepted and supported in their communities, but many misconceptions and stereotypes about autism remain.
One of the most common stereotypes about autism is that people with the condition are all savants. This is not true, as only a tiny percentage of people with autism actually have savant skills. Additionally, many people with autism do not want to be seen as savants and instead would just like to be treated like everyone else.
Another stereotype is that people with autism are always nonverbal. While it is true that some people with autism do not speak, many people with the condition do talk and can hold conversations. There are also many different types of communication, so just because someone does not speak doesn’t mean they can’t communicate in other ways. Finally, many people with autism are actually very verbal and can be quite chatty.
One common stereotype is that people with autism can’t feel or express emotion. However, this is not the case, as people with autism can experience a wide range of emotions just like anyone else. Many times their emotional expression is sometimes not the “typical” way of showing feelings. Some people “stim,”-which means repeating movements, words, or sounds. This can look like hand flapping, rocking, or in more severe cases of distress- banging their head or body on walls or with their hands.
It’s important to remember that everyone with autism is different. There is a saying, “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met ONE person with autism.” Every person and every situation is unique.
What can we do to support autistic individuals and their families in our communities?
There are many ways to spread awareness and promote acceptance and inclusion, such as sharing information about autism on social media or volunteering with local autism advocacy organizations.
If you know a family with a person on the spectrum, you can offer support in more personal ways. Many parents and caregivers of people with special needs are often tired and overwhelmed but find it hard to ask for help. Sometimes just bringing over a meal or a coffee and offering a listening, non-judgmental ear can do wonders.
Many people with autism can be fully independent but have difficulty fitting in or get easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. Seeking to understand their specific needs is a great way to let them know you support them.
No matter how you choose to get involved, raising awareness is an essential step in helping to improve the lives of people with autism and their families.
If you are on the autism spectrum or care for someone with autism and would like some support, call Serene Health at 844-737-3638 or visit us at www.serenehealth.com. We have a variety of behavioral health and mental health services and would love to talk to you. We offer flexible appointments from our telehealth platform, where you can speak to a therapist online from the location of your choice. Contact us today to book an appointment!