Autism Research Tips

Read these 9 Autism Research Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Autism tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Mothers Of Children With Autism--Psychological Functioning and Coping

There was study done by Guillermo Montes, PhD and Jill Halterman, MD, MPH from the Children’s Institue in Rochester, NY and Department of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester, School of medicine and Dentristy. They were concerned about small-scale studies which found having a child with autism was detrimental to maternal psychological functioning. They wanted to investigate this theory using a large-scale population-based study. They also wanted to determine how the relationship between the mother and her child were affected by autism. The title of their research article is ”Psychological Functioning and Coping Among Mothers of Children With Autism: A Population-Based Study”1.

When I first read the title, a little voice inside me asked: ”What psychological functioning and coping?” Late night web surfing does not bring out the optimists. Or maybe cynicism is brought on by sleepless nights when your child decides they are going to tear paper until 3 in the morning. Or it could be from those 10 minute meltdowns at the grocery store just when you thought you were going to make it out of there incident-free.

So, when the results of this study which interviewed mothers of 61,772 children (364 of which had autism), indicated mothers of children with autism were highly stressed and more likely to report poor or fair mental health than mothers in the general population, I believed my question had been answered. Yes, we are stressed. Not much of a shock, there. What did surprise me, though, was the results which showed mothers of children with autism also report having a close relationship with their child and better coping with parenting tasks. We were also less like to be angry with our child, and there were no indications of an increase in violence in our households. The results were based on self-evaluations and compared with those given by mothers in the general population. In addition, the results were also adjusted to accomodate for the child’s social skills and demographic background. Based on my own personal experiences and those of my other friends with children with autism, I would say these results were spot on. I have the medical bills to prove my mental health has seen better days. Many mothers, including myself, have found relief from some of the anxiety from medications such as SSRI’s. Nonetheless, some days I feel like a mountain collapsed on me. But other days, particularly those when I relfect on how far my child has come, I am convinced I can move mountains.

So, if you are a mother new to the world of autism and reading this for the first time, do not give up hope. While most of us will agree living with autism is no picnic, it has its rewards. Think of yourself as a contestant on Survivor. While some of the challenges and situations on this reality show seem surreal (come on, who’s going to have to eat a rat or perch atop a pole for 30 minutes?), so will be some of the trials and tribulations you will experience as a parent of a child with autism. When you have a child who needs to be taught inhibition, you learn quickly what surreal is all about. But unlike the reality show, there is one bonus—they’ll never vote you off the island.

1 ”Psychological Functioning and Coping Among Mothers of Children With Autism: A Population-Based Study”, Guillermo Montes, PhD and Jill S. Halterman, MD, MPH, Published online May 1, 2007, PEDIATRICS Vol. 119 No. 5 May 2007, pp. e1040-e1046 (doi:10.1542/peds.2006-2819).


Keeping Current--Autism Research

If you or a loved one is affected by autism, you want to stay up to date on the latest developments in autism research but seeking out this information can be overwhelming. The Autism Research Institute is one answer to this dilemma. The website itself is a wealth of information on the subject of autism, including the latest advances in medical research. In addition, they provide a quarterly newsletter which will keep you apprised of the latest developments is an immeasurable resource.


Researching Autism on the Internet

Your child's doctor may be one of the first sources of information regarding autism, but the Internet can also also provide a wealth of information. While, it is not a replacement for proper medical care, it can provide preliminary information such as symptoms to look for and treatment options. The key to researching autism on the Internet is to choose organizations with credible reputations to ensure the information you obtain is current and reliable. The Autism Society of America and National Institute of Health are two such websites with which to begin your internet crusade. As you learn more about autism, you may find yourself intrigued by personal web pages which provide information on specific individuals with autism. These may provide you with hope and inspiration but please proceed with caution. Treatments which may have worked for one person are not guarranteed to work for all. Likewise, the internet is also used by persons who wish to cash in on the vulnerabiltiy of caregivers and parents new to autism. Always confirm any potential treatment options with a physician who specializes in autism.


Researching Autism Statistics

Many people find a great deal of comfort in numbers and statistical information. The statistics related to autism can be very reassuring for some parents of autistic children. Finding information such as the number of children affected by autism, the success rates of specific treatment methods and information relating to instances of autism in specific states. Some parents may think that finding this information is difficult but the Fighting Autism website can provide you with a wealth of statistical information related to autism (


Knowing Your Rights When Your Child is Autistic

Learning that your child suffers from autism can be a shocking blow to many parents. You may feel overwhelmed and lost but you can't let your feelings of dismay keep you from understanding the rights that you and your child have. Autism research isn't limited to the treatments, studies and developments related to autism. It also includes laws that apply to your child. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles children with disabilities to a public education that is both free and appropriate. Understanding your rights under this act will ensure that your child is not denied an education based on the fact that he is autistic.


Educate Yourself First

If you are the parent of an autistic child, autism education is a subject that you cannot afford to neglect. Autism education is important for a number of reasons. You should stay up to date on the latest research and treatments so that you can ensure that your child is receiving the best treatment possible. While it is true that you should educate those who interact with your child on a regular basis about autism, the education process needs to begin at home. Utilize resources such as knowledgeable medical professionals, resource books and the Internet to arm yourself with information such as early indications, treatment options and applicable laws.


Ways to Contribute to Autism Research

Autism research isn't just for scientists and medical professionals. Those who have friends or relatives who are autistic or have been affected by autism in any way can contribute to autism research. One way for individuals to contribute to autism research is by participating in walks that are organized to benefit autism research. These walks, similarly to the popular ones held for breast cancer research, enable those who participate to solicit sponsorship for their participation in the event. These fundraisers can be an excellent source of financial contributions. The money raised from these events can be donated to research groups to further their work.


Educating Others about Autism

Telling other people want to do, isn't always easy but when you have knowledge to share that can be useful to those who assist in your child's education you should try to educate them about autism. Sharing your autism research with those who come interact with your autistic child might be very useful. It will not only give them a better understanding of your child's condition but it can also give them helpful tips for interacting with your child or dealing with behaviors that they exhibit. While educating others may seem intimidating to some parents, it is really worthwhile. The information that you share with others can make a world of difference in the way that your child deals with their condition and functions in society.


Understanding Autism Research

Whether you are researching autism for your own personal use or for the purpose of publishing a paper on the subject, it is important to have a full understanding of the information that you obtain. Autism research can be difficult to understand, especially for those who are not involved in the medical professional. These information sources will often be filled with medical jargon that can be confusing. The best way to ensure that you understand the information that you find is to seek out the assistance of a medical professional. Setting up a consultation with a specialist in the field of autism can provide you with a great deal of insight. After you complete your research, review the information that you have obtained and create a list of questions to ask the specialist. They will be able to simplify the information into layman's terms that can be easily understood.

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