Autism: Literature Review And Future Studies

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Autism is known to be one of the main leading risk factors that causes psychological problems such as stress and depress among parents (Grace et al., (2018). The aim behind this study was to explore the challenges of parents and caregivers looking after their autistic children. According to Lindsey and Barry, (2018). Autism is a disability which reduces the development of children socialisation, communication, repetitive interests and challenging behaviours. Symptoms normally appears before the age of three years and it is a non-curable disease Kocabıyık, and Fazlıoğlu, (2018). Autism was noted in 1990 and children with autist were then sent to specialist multidisciplinary assessment and this usually takes months for a child to be diagnosed (Taylor, Jick and MacLaughlin, 2013). Rejani and Ting, 2015 argued that children with autism can also exhibit some form of unhelpful behaviour such as repeat activities and self-abusive behaviour. Most studies have proven that the level of stress among parents with autistic children are much higher than those with children with no autistic (Rejani and Ting, (2015). Majority of families with children showing signs of developmental delays are more at risk of developing psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, distress, guilt poor social life, less happiness with life, poor parent child interaction and hopeless Kocabıyık, and Fazlıoğlu, (2018). However, parents with autistic child who experience high level of stress may need professional support and family support Yusuf et al., (2019). Care Act (2014) was introduced to support disabled people in terms safeguarding to protect autistic children from abuse and neglect. And it also gives duty of care to local authorities and protecting service users’ rights as were as their carers Leighton, (2015). “The Children and Family Act which provides a new special education needs and disability support system, covering education, health and social care” Parkin et al., (2019).

Literature review

Parents with children who have the autism spectrum condition experience high risk of stress level and complicated social life compared to those parents with children without autism Lichtlé et al.,( 2019).The challenges of bring up a child with autism increase parenting stress and can affect the caregivers dairy functioning and also can cause health issues such as depression and poor health issues Grace et al., (2018). Most children with autism usually show and act different in their behaviour in use of objects, relating to people and verbal and nonverbal communication Shire, Shih, and Kasari, (2018). However, the behaviours that children with autism normal present, appears different from other children, they are often linked with difficulties in child development and education Mehrabi, Hajiabolhasani-Nargani, and Najafi, (2016). In addition to autistic behaviours, children with autism also present emotional and challenging behavioural, which are common in a number of children with the condition Mehrabi, Hajiabolhasani-Nargani, and Najafi, (2016).

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On the other hand, mothers with autistic children also experienced mental challenges and other health related issues such as depression than parents with non-autistic children. In addition, one of the major problems of the depression that those mothers’ faces are also associated with the child behavioural problem. Rejani and Ting (2015), also argued that parents with lack of knowledge for parental skills for looking after their autistic child were getting tired and overwhelmed (Preece, 2014). However, professionals working with autistic children has now introduced some education programmes for parenting caregivers with children with autism, but it was not possible for most parents to be able to attend the programme because they were looking after their children Preece, 2014.

Mobile technology mainly text messaging has been recognised to be a hoping method in managing of chronic diseases and promotion of various health related behaviours (Mehrabi, Hajiabolhasani-Nargani and Najafi, 2016).

Therefore, children with autism spectrum disorder are described as struggle with communication as well as repetitive behaviour and co-morbid developmental, psychiatric and medical conditions such as gastrointestinal symptoms, epilepsy and seizures, asthma and food allergies Wilson and Peterson, 2018. However, these challenges in social communication and playing with other non-autistic children has made it difficult for them to play with other and this has made it difficult for parents (Shire, Shih and Kasari, 2018).

Davis and Carter (2008) also emphasised there is link between the delays in children’s social communication, trait of autistic behaviours are usually related with parenting stress, emotional and behavioural problem such as emotional symptoms which can be the cause of parenting stress Huang et al., 2013. This study aimed to examine the effects of autistic behaviours and those of individual emotional and behavioural problems on parenting stress in caregivers of children with autism.

According to Crane et al., 2016 they have been a huge delay for a child to receive a diagnostic on time and this has cause high level of parental stress and lack of trust in the healthcare professionals. Nevertheless, these has led parents to seek alternative treatments for their children Crane et al., 2016. When a child is been diagnostic with autism, most parents often feels lonely and put the blame on themselves for the situation this has cause depression, stress and anxiety for most caregivers Rejani and Ting 2015. It has been revealed that mothers with autistic children shows more signs of stress than fathers and social support was found to be the best cognitive of parents with anxiety and depression Rejani and Ting,( 2015).

On the other hand, Professional working with children on the autism spectrum who shows challenging behaviour regularly receive training in both positive behavioural with support techniques and physical interventions, these training are rarely offered for parents with non-autistic children Preece, (2014). Furthermore, the local authority and National Health Service offered a range of services for supporting for parents to manage their children’s behaviour through positive behavioural approaches Preece, (2014). These 5 includes family advisory workers, community nurses, child and Adolescents Mental Health Services and a specialist sleep service Preece, (2014). Parent educational is provided for parents to understand how to manage challenging behaviour. The educational psychologist, teachers, nurses, and social workers normal provides the trainings Preece,( 2014) .

Additionally , none of these training in positive approaches was supported regarding the use of physical help to provide for the family members Preece, (2014).Also the other challenges was that the children with autistic spectrum conditions have difficulties when they grow up to become adults some of them become changeling and they get more aggressive Yusuf et al., (2019). The study argues that changes of supporting an adult with high functioning of autism and Asperger’s syndrome and those who don’t have support since childhood can be hard for the parents Spiers, (2014)”. In addition to that the caring demands for parents with children with autism spectrum is well documented by the National Autistic Society as it is the emotional impact of care” Spiers,( 2014).

While, parents with autistic children has raised a concern if the MMR vaccines is the cause of autism . However, based on the research from the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety they said that there was no evidence from the research that MMR jab affects autism WHO, (2020). Furthermore, other studies also mention that children with autism lack their independence when they move into adulthood for example living with their parents when they are adults or depend on them Spiers, (2014). Kocabıyık and Fazlıoğlu, (2018) also state that the parents with autistic children are lacking their social life and they have lost hope for the future in variety of ways. Family blame each other for the state of the child Kocabıyık and Fazlıoğlu, (2018).

Having a child with autism may lead to the inability to fully meet the daily needs of other family members and it can be linked to poor commination with others Kocabıyık and Fazlıoğlu, (2018). Many researchers suggested that the parenting stress the caregivers feels, the emotional and behavioural problems are critical issues that still need to be addressed in studies examining the relationships of parenting stress with autistic Huang et al., (2013). Given the significant number of main effects found predicting caregiver distress,

Future studies

Future studies should investigate these variables in more details. Family variables including a lack of family resources also contribute to caregivers of a child with autism spectrum disorder. Suggest that family resources are vital for families of children with disabilities, as they may allow for greater access to services related to the child and easier access to social support Lindsey, and Barry (2018). Does early diagnostic help to cure autism?

According to Fernell, Eriksson and Gillberg, 2013 have revealed that early diagnosis helps an autistic child and parents or caregivers looking after the child; to get support at an earlier stage. Though, according to some studies early intervention will help two percent of the children to be cured, and their diagnosis will be gone Fernell, Eriksson and Gillberg, (2013) However, the study highlighted that this only refers to children with high functioning autism as therapies can help them to increase their strengths and work on their weakness. Hardimon, (2018). Finally, parents with autistic children they need more training on how to support a child with autism and training to teach the general public to accept and not to stigmatise people with autism and to also help their families to get more understanding about the disability Hardimon, (2018). I have used these references because they had the more information that I needed for my research.

Data Analysis Pie Chart A (, 2008)

As shown on Pie Chart A; This is a summary of the breakdown of the research funding from government and charity bodies. Most of these schemes were funded between 1996 and 2000 focused on symptoms of autism spectrum, this includes brain differences, mental processes and behaviour. In comparison 17%focused on genetic and environmental causes 17% on interventions;53 % symptoms,7% family and services,4%epidemiology, 2% diagnosis the report emphasized both areas as main concern the for future research, (2008). According to this pie chart autism has a genetic component. It is likely that several genes are involved. Future research aims to determine how genes interact with environmental factors in autism. Wants to find out the brain difference between autistic and non-autistic people? Nevertheless, there is evidence suggesting that in autism brains are big and heavy and there are differences in the cells of some brain regions. Interventions it is agreed that no single intervention will suit all autistic people. Some intervention can have negative as well as positive effects. No intervention has been identified as a priority. There is no insufficient evidence about which autism interventions will be effect and why. 1.7 1.7 5.3 7 4 2 Priorities for research 1st Qtr 2nd Qtr 3rd Qtr 4th Qtr

Analysis of Media Medical News Today-

Autism, Parents face the challenges too. How do parents feel? In the news article parents described their feelings as challenging, overwhelmed, confused, guilty and depressed. Many parents mentioned they got very frustrated when their child behaves differently to others and when people treat or behaves differently towards their child because most people who are not directly affected do not understand the concept autism and when they start judging their child and the family. Many parents who have children with autism are scared to think about the future as they do not know if their child’s behaviour is going to deteriorate or improve in the future. Parents stated they felt guilty to some extent as they are wrongly blaming about their children condition. Not getting help from the other parent angers one parent if they feel that is the case this will break down family relationships Brazier, y. (2016). The high cost of raising a child with autism and the extra strain it puts on parents. The Telegraph 2019. One of the parents said his boy was diagnosed with autism at the age of four years. The mother brought up his son until the age of four and never realised that his son was autistic until one day when she received a phone call from the Head teacher saying, she need take his son to the child and adolescent mental health service .However the Head assumed that her son has autism. Rory was a calm boy, mother claimed than his young brother she said. “with one phone call we were plunged into a new unfamiliar world” Frank, M. (2019 Mothers with autism; l mothered my children in a different way!

Most women with autism are twice as like to be undiagnosed than men!

The Gradian 2017 Most women who are autistic remain undiagnosed according to a survey by the national autistic society. It was reviewed that 10% of women were not diagnosed compared with men with only 5%. However, most of the women hide their condition because they are scared that the social worker will take their children away from them. Nicole aged 39 years was diagnosed at the age of 34 after his son diagnoses. After six years her daughter was also diagnosed with the same condition. They also mentioned that after being diagnosed the children get bullied at school. It is a genetic condition. Most of the mothers recognised their condition after researching about their own Children Hill, A. (2017). Yes! some children suffer terrible, but l fears many parents want them to be labelled. Autistic just to excuse their own failing Daily mail 2018. Child psychiatrics mentioned that about 75% of children he had attended to has autistic spectrum or Attention deficit Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These conditions have under diagnosed years ago. But today he believed that these conditions are massively and over labelled. He also mentioned that children who are not autistic but with mischiefs behaviour and being labelled. How could you tell the different between mischiefs behaviour and an autistic child? Most of the children with mischief behaviour normal shows signs of being stressed, in most cases it might be the bad up bring of the child or the bad parenting were as an autistic child (Shooter, D. (2018).

Reflection statement

The portrayals of autism presented in the newspapers in this study suggest that autism is a condition affecting more boys than girls. One parent mentioned that she gets very upset when her child behaves differently from others and when people treat or behaves differently towards their child. It was highlighted that most people who are not directly affected do not understand the concept of autism and judge autistic child or the parent. And this has affected most of the autistic caregivers physical and mental. Although they were some positive portrayals of autism. According to the articles a lot of children are being affected by the misdiagnose because of their behaviour. But it is argued that some of these children’s behaviour are cause by the poor up bring of the child. Moreover, most women who are autistic remain undiagnosed according to a survey by the national autistic society Autism, (2016). Additionally, these issues affect parents and families were portrayed as important and need to be referred. Autism was introduced as a disorder from childhood or as a concern affecting parents. Though not previously delivered in autism research, study noticed that a person diagnosed with mental health were used as primary sources in only 5 to 600 newspaper articles published over a 1-month period Huws, and Jones, (2011).

Research Question and Outline Proposal

l had examined the content of the newspapers in the United Kingdom for analysis of the autism over four years period from 2016 to 2019. As l was interested in the qualitative portrayals of autism and the articles including autism stories. I collected four articles containing the word autism and autistic from these years. The search was conducted on the range of daily mail, telegraph, gradian newspapers and Medical news today. The month of April was chosen because that the week of World Autism Society Awareness day and l felt that would help me for my media search for children with autism in the UK and the challenges that their parents are facing. The research method approach used to guide the study involved of qualitative content analysis and discourse analysis Huws, and Jones (2011). These methods were used to explain the main discourses which includes sharing meanings and results within the newspaper texts and to find the main ideas of media portrayal of autism and the challenges facing parents’ autistic with children. The discourse analysis approach was used to help to analysis how newspaper stories are set up and structured. This make it possible to explore the relationship between such discourses and social practices Shaw and Bailey (2009). The first step of analysis was to read and read through the article to make it easy to understand the content and to identify common ways of communication. When I was reading questions were used to recognise the discourses within the text in the articles what the main concerns were presented by the writers?


The findings of this study do show that caregivers of children with Autism spectrum disorder do face challenges in many dimensions in their day to day life. The data indicate the journey of parents with autistic children. According to, 2008 further research needed to be conducted to investigate how genetic trait and environment factors are linked with the cause of autism. Therefore, some studies indicate that after diagnosis they are encouraging parents with autistic children to adapt to a new normal life, learn about the difficulties of autism and understanding of the experience and emotions. However, without adequate support from healthcare professionals most of the parents sought help from other autism parents or found their own Celia et al., (2019). Final, most researchers do state that parents of children with Autism spectrum disorder do face challenges in various dimensions in their day to day life. Parents seems to have little choice but to accept these roles of looking after their autistic children when service support was is not there. These problems could be override with adequate support and guidance Yingling et., al (2017). Therefore, it is vital for the Health professionals to access these problems face by the parents and the caregivers by providing them with the needed assistance on time Grace et al., (2018). More research is still needed into causes and productive intervention.


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