I do not know what I would have done without all of your love and support. Want to thank all my friends. My friends have been there for me and my son through all my emotions. They laughed with me as well as cried with me. They were there to celebrate with me and they were also there for me when I just needed to talk. They have been a very strong support system and I will always love them for that. To all my co-workers and supervisors at Marvel and El Camino Compton Center, thank you for all the love and encouragement you have given me to help me throughout the years.

The challenges that they face are at school as well as at home (Bilging 2010). Having a developmental disability does not mean that their lives are over and that does not mean they should be put away. Although these disabled children have it hard with many challenges to overcome, their parents also have many challenges to overcome in order to help them (Bilging 2010). Parents of autistic children endure numerous challenges. They have to be teachers to their children as well as advocates for them and inform the system that is supposed to support them (Alter, 2009).

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The most difficult task parents may face are found in the home in terms of keeping their children safe from harm, educating them on their basic needs such as bathing, brushing their teeth, combing their hair, getting dressed, and eating. Parents also need to protect the children from themselves as well as others. Most importantly parents need to bond with their children. Most parents have to take care of their autistic children while working and taking care of the household (Alter, 2009). Others may say that this is what parents are supposed to do, but they do not understand what it is like caring for a child who is autistic.

Parents of autistic children need a large amount of support. What happens when a parent does not have the support they need? What happens when the parent is single? There are other factors that may impact the lives of the parents. This includes finances, raising other children, and trying to obtain a higher education for themselves. How do such parents deal with the challenges they has to face? What coping mechanisms are used? Which coping mechanisms are healthy and which are not healthy? This narrative will address these issues.

Deborah Quarantines, author of “Collaborative Approach to Autism: A Parent’s Perspective,” is a parent of an Autistic child, and she states, “One of the most difficult things about the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (SAD) is educating the family and friends of the family of an autistic child. Many people do not understand what Austin is. When people are told that a child is autistic they would sometimes ask if it was like Iranian (Quarantines, 2009). There is more to autism than what is seen in the movie Iranian. Autism is a severe illness that has an effect on the developmental lives of the children that it influences.

These children have challenges that they face. Their learning has slowed down, and they develop slower than average children. Their language is either delayed or arrested, and they have difficulties communicating wants, needs, pains and sorrows. Having a child that is autistic can be extremely trustful for caregivers. Research demonstrates that parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities have challenges that result in significant stress (Lee, 2009). This affects their physical and psychological well being (Lee, 2009). Learning to cope with raising a child with autism creates additional challenges.

Learning different coping skills is not something that caregivers want to do; it is something they need to do. In the midst of working with and helping their children to develop as anomaly as possible, frustration sets in, and caregivers may become angry, irritated, and sometimes depressed. Challenges within the spectrum of autism can be different due to the uniqueness Of each disability (Lee, 2009). NO one knows the exact cause of autism; some parents (including celebrities) think that the vaccine MR. may be the cause, but researchers fail to show that the vaccine has any relevance to autism (Glazer, 2003).

The number of children diagnosed with autism has risen since the sass’s. There has been great awareness of this developmental disability. The media has reported much about the awareness of autism through celebrities who have children who are autistic such as Holly Robinson Pete and Toni Brannon, public service announcements, and the organization called Autism Speaks. There is, however, more that can be done. Many parents still don’t know where to go to get their children assessed, and they don’t even know what to look for in order to have the diagnosis done.

Identification and Intervention One of the best ways to help autistic children, in part, is to identify disorders as soon as possible. Early warning signs are the key to getting an evaluation for diagnosis. The prospects for identifying children with Autism Spectrum Disorder during the first two years of life has been more promising than in the past years (Boyd, 2010). Research has shown that knowledge of early warning signs has helped in developing screening and diagnostic instruments, and evidence has accumulated about the stability of diagnoses that occur around 2 years of age (Boyd, 2010).

At the present time, many early warning signs of Autism have been identified to help people to recognize if a child should be assessed for testing of a diagnosis of autism (Boyd, 2010). The warning signs of autism are as follows; there are impairments in social interactions (such as impaired nonverbal behaviors, poor peer relationships, difficulty sharing enjoyment or interests with others), and lack of reciprocal of social and emotional behaviors. Autistic children have severe delays or are deficient in communication skills with the inability to initiate or maintain a conversation with others.

The child may have repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior (such as mimicking what they see); the child may also have repetitive motor mannerisms like dancing their hands back and forth in front of their face (Patriarchates, 2009). There are other warning signs of autism, like putting hands over their ears when they hear something that my affect them. This is known as sound sensitivity. In some circumstances, autistic children interact better in the dark because they have sensitivities to light.

Due to sensitivities to touch, autistic children do not want to be held or touched, and they will not make eye contact under any circumstances. These warning signs may just be few that parents can recognize in order to get their children assessed for a diagnosis of autism. Coping with the Diagnosis After receiving the diagnosis that their children are autistic, parents must learn how to deal with this diagnosis; this can be very difficult and yet rewarding at the same time (Harked, 2010).

Parents have many stress that may cause frustrations, and at times, depression can affect the way in which they care for their children. One such stress is financial. According to the Bright Tots cite web site, “having a child on the autistic spectrum can drain a family’s resources due to expenses such as evaluations, educational programs, and various therapies. The care-taking demands of nurturing a child with autism may lead to a parent giving up his or her job; financial strains may be escalated by only having one income to support all of the families’ needs. This statement rains true for single parents as well. The problem is, they are already working with one income. The raising of an autistic child and having one income, as well as one parent can be extremely difficult. Another stress is not having a typical child. It is known that sometimes parents of children diagnosed with autism grieve the loss of having a typical child. This can lead to frustration with the child, as well as depression, sorrow, and confusion (Bright Tot, 2010). The best ways to deal with these particular stress are for the parents to educate themselves about Autism.

Although there are other coping mechanisms, learning about the disorder ND how to raise their children can help parents get through difficult times. Learning about autism might help parents get through some of the difficult times with their children but there comes a time when the parents are exhausted and have nothing else to give and need to re-charge. When this happens, then there are coping skills that help parents re-charge. One particular coping mechanism for parents of autistic children is a support group.

Finding a local support group can provide a group of people to talk to who understands what the parents are going through. Parents can also write in a journal. This will provide a private outlet to write down private thoughts and feelings without judgment. In addition to writing a journal, the parents can plan a getaway. Going out for the night gives parents the opportunity to get some uninterrupted rest and relaxation. The main thing that parents can do to cope with the challenges that come with raising autistic children is to ask for help without fear.

No parent can take care of a child with autism alone; this is especially true for single parents. Parents should not be afraid of asking for help, whether it is asking for help from family, friends and professionals. This can facilitate unnecessary stress like asking someone to do simple tasks or if there is a change in the child treatment, asking the doctor to clarify what is not understood (Kelly, 2010). Having a child who is autistic can be quite challenging but rewarding also. Every day is different. Some days will be great, and everything will fall into place.

Other days will seem like the most challenging day of the week and the all the parent feels is that they want to go back to bed. Using good coping mechanisms and knowledge about autism, the day might just work out for the better (Arnold, 2010). Purpose Statement Being a single mother is challenging, but being a single mother raising a child with autism adds to those challenges. The purpose of this narrative is to illustrate the obstacles faced by the writer in her journey Of raising a child with a developmental disability.

This is the story of a young, single mother who is working hard to raise her oldest son when she learns that her second child had been diagnosed with autism. In the midst of it all, she discovers that she has another child on the way. This narrative will discuss the authors challenges, failures and triumphs, joys, sorrows and bouts of depression that occur while raising her child with autism. Then narrative will also discuss how the author dealt with her frustrations with the public, her own family as well as herself as well as when or even if she was in denial of the conditions of her son.

Problem Statement On June 22, 1 989, I was blessed with a beautiful baby boy who appeared to be healthy; as he grew up, things seemed normal except that the development of his speech was delayed. Additionally, he didn’t learn to walk at the normal age. He did not want to be held, which was a nightmare for me as a mother, I wondered why my son did not want to bond with me. My son as not able to communicate with me, which meant he could not communicate with to me when he was hungry, in pain, or just tired; these tasks were difficult for him.

He also had difficulty learning to feed himself. He had bouts of hyperactivity so severe that he would not sleep until late at night and would not sleep throughout the night. I felt that I had done something wrong. The thoughts that ran through my mind were what have I done to my son? What is wrong with him? What can I do to help my son? Is there any help for my son? These and other questions were running through my head. How would I know if he knew who I really was? One of my biggest questions was, if there is something wrong with him, how can take care of him?

I did the best I could. I love my son and got him the help he needed; now the problem was, did I get the help I needed? How am I dealing with his development and the obstacles that had to endure? This is when started my life as a single mother with an autistic child. Social Work Relevance This narrative can be used to provide Social Workers with assistance while working with mothers with children diagnosed with autism. It will assist mothers with autistic children by providing a variety of coping skills to use hill raising their children.

Coping skill will be useful for these mothers while working, going to school and taking care of the household and other children (Harked, 2010). The author will also write the difficulties she experienced while raising her child and trying to keep a positive attitude. This narrative may also help to ensure other parents with children who are diagnosed with autism that they are not alone. To date, there are times when the author still wonders if she has done the best for her child. There are times when she wonders, is it her fault that her child is autistic?

There are a lot more questions out there and this narrative will serve as a guide to aid parents in finding answers to many questions. This narrative will direct parents and Social Workers to the appropriate people and places for answers when the parents realize that there may be problems with their children. Autism is not as widely recognized as it should be, and this narrative will aid the Social Worker in working with parents to get children assessed. If children are diagnosed with autism, this work will serve as a resource for the treatment of autistic children.

Definition of Terms Autism – an illness with severe deficits in reciprocal social interactions, imagination, communication, and restricted or unusual behavioral repertories that affect all areas of a child’s life such as daily living activities, home/school life, and relationships with family members and others ( Bilging, 2010). A child diagnosed with autism may not have a specific placement. The student may be placed based on his/her strengths and weaknesses. Students may be placed in a variety of educational settings ranging from least restrictive schools, to schools strictly for children with developmental disabilities.

There are also special day classes and regular classes that have aids for individual attention. Coping – a form of adaptation that implies a struggle to overcome problems (Lee, 2009). Coping is the adaptation to which adversity has long- term effects on behavior (Skinner 2009). Coping is also how well a person deals with a situation and/or adapts to adversity. It intercedes how well a person adjust during stressful situation (Lee, 2009). Reason for Narrative The reason for writing this narrative is to enlighten other parents who are raising autistic children to the fact that there is help for their children.

I want to inform the parents that there is help for them as well. I have been through so many ups and down while raising my son, at one point in my life and I felt that, had done something wrong and that God was punishing me. I later came to realize that my son was a blessing. He has brought so much joy into my life. Don’t know what I would do without him. I feel that telling my story through this narrative will help other families who are looking for answers to questions they may have about autism, diagnosis, treatment, and how to cope with the whole situation.

In addition, this narrative will help Social Workers get the information they may need to assist their clients. Format of Narrative There were academic journals reviewed, as well as several websites such as Autism Speaks. Com, Article’s. Com, Brightest. Com, and Seine Articles. Com. These websites are very helpful to my research on signs of autism as well as what is needed to know about the diagnosis of autism. These websites are also informative in terms of what parents need to do to aid themselves in coping with their children’s diagnosis of autism as well as their own mental health. Eve also reviewed five journals that were found in Academic Search Elite. These journals were reviewed to find the common theme of resilience ND how the writers were able to overcome the different obstacles that they were faced with in order to achieve their goals. I have also reviewed general articles about autism, and coping as a parent to further explain the trials and tribulations of what a parent (especially a single parent) goes through in raising their children properly.

This project is created to be informative for the reader as well as an outlet for the writer to explain some of her frustrations, triumphs, challenges and progress in terms of raising an autistic child. Relevance of a Narrative The basic definition of a narrative is a story that is told whether fact or action. The story is told in the first person; however the third person can also be used, and has some specific significance to the one telling the story (Labor, 1997). An autobiography is also a form of narrative. It is told from the first person perspective, and it is used to convey the thoughts and feelings of the storyteller. Sing narratives may help the writer (or storyteller) inform the reader of what is going on in history or it can be used to educate the reader about information that they can use to help themselves. A narrative can tell parts of history similar to the stories told during the years of slavery such as he Slave Narratives, which are a collaboration of stories that educate the reader on some of the thoughts and feelings of the slaves who are telling the stories. One of the basic elements of a narrative is its story, told through the characters (Holey, 2009).

Narratives can be written or oral, long or short, and they can focus on the stories of everyday people sharing experiences of great personal significance (Labor, 1997). Theory argues that narratives are the means by which the general people produce an identity (Griffin). This is a way to get the story told. A narrative is considered to be a basic productive medium for examining an individual’s subjectivists and construction of their theme. Writing a narrative is relevant because it brings a range of disparate behavioral modes before the conscious self (Benson, 1993).

The author will use a narrative to inform the readers of her situation, but also will use it as an educational tool to enlighten readers on what they can do to help their children. If this narrative helps to educate even one person, it was not written in vain. CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW This chapter will discuss autism in some detail. The literature will explain the definition of autism, explore the various coping mechanisms of the parents of n autistic child, and also discuss the controversy surrounding the “cause” of autism.