How Autism Impacts Children and Families
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by social issues, repetitive or stimming behaviors, communication deficits, and sensory issues. It is a broad range disorder, with varying degrees of impairment, and each child typically has their own unique strengths and weaknesses. However, there are similarities that many of these children share. For example, most children with autism have sensory issues. Some may avoid sensory input. Others may seek it out. Neither is right or wrong, it only means that the resulting behavior may be different from one child to the next.
Autism and Self-Harming Behaviors
When children with autism experience sensory or emotional overload, many of them will resort to self-harming behaviors. This can be in the form of hitting, punching, or biting one’s self. It can be seen in head-butting against objects or whole body throws against walls and doors. It is critical, in these moments, that parents try to protect their children from themselves. The behavior is not meant to irritate or agitate. Instead, it is a result of their inability to process input and communicate the overload to their first line of defense – their parent.
Autism and Wandering BehaviorsWandering behaviors are another way that children on the autism spectrum deal with sensory overload. Many will run away from stressful situations or sensory input, such as a loud sound or a light that is bothering them. Yet wandering is not just an issue caused by sensory input. Some children who wander do so because they are naturally curious and fail to recognize the dangers of wandering off. Others see something they are interested in (many children with autism have fixations or obsessions) and want to go and see it up close.
In any case, parents must develop strategies to ensure the safety of their child. One such strategy might be the use of a medical identification bracelet – something that would alert anyone who happens to find the child wandering about. Their name, a contact number, and their condition can all help the person who finds them understand the severity of the situation, and can ensure the child is promptly reunited with their parents. Image: vetre / 123RF Stock Photo
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