Raising a child with autism places some extraordinary demands on a family as a whole (Autism Society, n.d.). Parents are not the only ones affected. In fact, a child’s siblings are just as much affected, if not more. It is without doubt that every child’s dream is to have a sibling or siblings to play with, to grow up with and to share their childhood with. However, children with autism may not be able to play or interact with their siblings just like typical children would. Furthermore, they require more attention and care from their parents and this may affect their siblings. Sometimes, their siblings may suffer in silence, feeling neglected and less loved, or even feel the pressure for the need to be a role model.
On the 15th August, last Saturday, EAP Malaysia held our first ever (but definitely not last!) EAP Family Day to celebrate all the families of our kids. It was a carnival themed event, with a bouncy castle and pinwheels, special booths for ring toss, count the candy, face painting and tattoos! It was a huge success as we saw families come together on a Saturday morning to see their kids perform, dance, sing and act on stage. There was pride and love on every single face throughout the kids’ performances. These are the moments we work for, the moments we look forward to. We also had an honour moment, where we specially honoured one family for the incredible sacrifice they make to make sure their child receives 35 full hours of therapy as recommended.
Once you have chosen a school for your child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the next step will be getting your child ready to start. It is natural to have extra concerns about preparing your child for the transition to school. For instance, you might be worried about how he’ll go about learning a new set of routines and activities. However, with the right planning, you can help your child start school successfully (Raising Children Network, 2013).
Education can make a real difference for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (The National Autistic Society, 2014). Your child with ASD has the right to the same educational opportunities as all other children (Raising Children Network, 2013). Preparing for school is a complex process when you have a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder and planning for the transition to school should start as early as possible (Autism Victoria, 2015).