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Children under the scope of ASD and other developmental disabilities have challenges that results to the stress

of parents affecting their physical and psychological well being, however, challenges within the spectrum can be different due to the uniqueness of each disability. Most of the problems manifested by a child with ASD has more language deficit, is much less socially responsive, has more behavior problems and has more unevenness in intellectual skills (Lee, 2009). In a related study, Lee (2009) however states that High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) is characterized by two primary areas of deficit: social interaction and restricted and stereotyped patterns of behaviors. He further noted that similar to autism, deficits in social interaction include gaze avoidance, failure to develop normal peer relations, failure to spontaneously share enjoyment, interest, achievement, lack of social reciprocity, restricted and stereotyped patterns of behavior. Examples of these stereotyped patterns of behavior are narrow interests or objects, stereotyped motor mannerism, rigid adherence to nonfunctional routines as well as the ability to infer the internal mental states of othersidentifying feelings associated with facial expression. STRESS ON THE INDIVIDUAL Families in distress or a family of children with autism (CWA) is often correlated with serious discord, depression and financial problems. These are the manifestations of chronic stress among families. The high stress levels shown, particularly on mothers shows that they have more excessive time demands, poor health, depressed moods and pessimism about the childs future. But despite the different stresses that they face, families of children with autism are coping and adjusting (Foronda, 2000). Most single parents experience stress associated with the characteristics of CWA. In the results of the study, communication, psychosocial, psychomotor, degree of dependence and intellectual achievement are the main stressors or everyday stresses that mothers and fathers experience everyday (Foronda, 2000). Communication In a related study, results have shown that echolaliathe repetition of words/phrase and immature language was the most stressful to the respondents (Foronda, 2000). It is also problematic when children diagnosed with ASD cannot communicate their needs effectively (Olivier and Hing, 2009). Psychosocial In most of the studies, tantrum behavior was among the most stressful psychosocial characteristics among individual parents and single parents. Others include inappropriate laughing, lack of fear or real danger, self-stimulation, running away, grabbing, resistance to change, aggression, excessive fear of harmless objects, does not play with others, self-injury, indifference or aloof towards others and disinterest in physical contact (Foronda, 2000). The characteristics stated above is an early detection used by specialist to tell if a child is really autistic. Psychomotor

Hyperactivity tops it all as the most stressful psychomotor characteristic in child with ASD (Foronda, 2000). Usually parents cannot manage this kind of behavior as hyperactivity can lead to aggressive behavior. Degree of Dependence Children of such cases with ASD should be guided and be assisted by parents. Most of the tasks are usually done by the mother because it is the father that provides the financial needs but in some cases, they hire a caregiver or leave them with relatives because either both of them work. It is more stressful on the part of the parents because an autistic child cannot take care of themselves. They need constant care and guidance when it comes to grooming and personal hygiene (Foronda, 2000). Intellectual Achievement Poor participation in learning situations and short attention span in their child with ASD is also a problem to both parents. It creates stress on their part (Foronda, 2000). However in one study, it helps in reducing stress if particular attention is given to improve the communication between family members. Parents are encouraged to learn their childs unique ways of communicating (Barnett, Clements, Kaplan-Estrin and Fialka, 2003). Other Stressors Other general sources of stress according to Foronda (2000) that responded in her study were financial difficulties, concern for the future, excessive time demands, lack of community awareness on autism and taking on several roles. COPING With these different types of disabilities, parents are able to handle the stressors more effectively than others despite the adversities experienced by them. When parents are more active and prefer to advocate for themselves and seek options wherein they can have better control over the stressful situations, they tend to be more effective when it comes to these kinds of coping strategies. Copingis defined as how one deals with stressful situations. It often mediates on how well one can adjust during stressful situations (Lee, 2009) Active coping according to Lee has been found to be an effective intervention for families of children with autism. It is found out that active coping style was associated with positive child health outcomes for children with autism. It also indicated that mothers and fathers adopted different coping styles in order to deal with the different stressors in raising a child with autism. Moreover, it is found out that there is a higher risk of stress and elevated levels of anxiety and depression for both fathers and mothers when active avoidance coping was implied. On the other hand, positive coping especially positive reframing was associated with better mental health in both genders (Lee, 2009).