How Does A Child With Autism Impact Family Life?

The Christi family poses for a photo at Joint Base Andrews, Md., April 27, 2017. Michael Christi, far right, son of Jeff Christi and Maj. Rebecca Christi, 799th Medical Group pediatrician, has autism spectrum disorder. The Air Force provides Michael with health and educational services, including Exceptional Family Member Program and Extended Care Health Options, which in turn provide therapies such as applied behavior analogy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. April is also Autism Awareness Month, which is meant to increase understanding and acceptance of autism. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Valentina Lopez)


It was at the 2017 Autism Conference where medical professionals and other specialists met and shared knowledge and expertise. The event was not only an opportunity for families with autistic family members to learn more about the condition, but it was also an opportunity to get a lot of freebies – free hair cut, free play for kids, and free art shows. Plus, it was filled with law enforcers that were provided by the town to control the crowd and maintain safety and security.

One of the goals of the event was to educate parents and caregivers on the effects of having a child with autism and how this impacts family life.

Family Adjustments

It is vital to acknowledge that family dynamics will ultimately change after the diagnosis. There is no other way around it, but eventually, everyone will have been adjusted to the situation and accept the truth. Going out with the whole family for picnics, holidays, field trips, and the usual family traditions can be challenging when a child with autism is involved.

Accommodations must be chosen so that the child will be comfortable and will not cause any hassle or distribution that may induce tantrums. However, despite these modifications, fun and memories can still be captured, and families must continue doing activities together instead of ceasing to do them because of the difficulties.

Parents’ Adjustments

It’s natural for parents to have big dreams for their children, whether parents are vocal or not about them. When they learn that one of their children (or their only child) has autism, they initially become dismayed and frustrated, and most of them change their minds about what they think about their child. They are often discouraged because the dreams that they had for their child will no longer be realized. However, they should not feel this way.

The truth is, every child is unique in his way – even a child with autism. So while he may be physically or mentally disabled, parents will soon discover that their child has other special personalities and talents. He can be good at painting or drawing; he could be a math genius! Parents must learn how to hone and improve the skills that their children with autism have.

Relationship With Other Children

Parents usually worry because their other children might think that they spend too little time with them and too much time on their sibling with autism. Of course, there’ll be doctors’ appointments and therapy sessions. If the other children are unable to understand the reason for the lesser attention, they are more likely to be affected mentally and emotionally.


It is therefore important for parents to explain to them that even if they spend time with their sibling because of his condition, it doesn’t mean that they are less loved. It is only because their brother needs more help – and that even they should do their part. There must always be communication for them to understand. They should also be included in the activities that parents have for their autistic child so that they will develop more love and empathy for him.