Autism is a complex disorder that affects a person’s ability to communicate with and relate to others as well as to experience sound, touch and visual stimulation. Approximately one in every 166 people has it, and four out of every five of these people are boys. Children with severe autism have problems in areas of social skills and communication and often have problems with inappropriate, interfering, and even dangerous behaviors.
While there is no known cure for this life-changing condition, there are ways to help people diagnosed with autism in their struggle with day-to-day activities.
Turning to a qualified personal caregiver is one of the ways you can provide assistance to people with special needs. There is no ‘one size fits all formula’ for caring for a child with autism as this disorder is considered a spectrum. This means that no two patients exhibit the exact same set of symptoms. A caregiver may have past experience in caring for an individual with autism, but they will need to pay attention to the unique needs, motivations and requirements of your loved one to get the job done.
How to select a caregiver?
When caring for a child or adult with autism, there are certain skills that are useful. Making sure the person or people that will be helping you care for your child know what these skills are is vital. Here are three important skills:
- Good, adaptable communication skills – caregivers need to be able to communicate with patients and vice versa. Individuals with autism have certain limitations in expressing themselves, so a caregiver needs to be able to ‘read’ them and understand when they need assistance. Teaching them the style or strategy for communication you and your ABA therapists have agreed upon is important.
- Ability to adhere to routine – a lot of individuals with autism are particular about their daily routines and may experience severe anxiety if something changes. Caregivers need to understand the importance of these routines and adhere to them strictly. Disrupting this routine can send the patient into a burst of undesirable behaviours. People with autism are very receptive and particular, they notice every little detail, so they require a lot of reassurance and support.
- Keen observation skills – observation is an important part of diagnosing and treating individuals with autism. It may seem difficult to pay attention to “abnormal” behaviours in a person with different abilities; it is an important skill for caregivers to have. Learning what is “normal” for one patient and noting when behaviours stray from that “norm” is vital. No two cases are exactly alike, and caregivers should also be willing to learn and adapt as they go.
Specialized personal care services and educational therapy are effective methods for managing autism. A professional home caregiver 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, The combination of professional home care combined with affectionate family support, is the key to successful management of individuals with autism. Sometimes, if the condition is not too severe, the combination of rigorous therapy and education work can help individuals move on from homecare to leading fully independent lives. Other times, unfortunately, when related conditions are present – some level of assistance will be needed throughout their entire life.
Taking care of an individual with Autism is a challenging task due to the specific symptoms of the disorder. A personal care provider can offer the support for both your family and your loved one, who’s trapped in a world of their own, to create a balanced environment, where they learn and thrive.