Home situation of the child

Autism is nowadays mostly discovered first around the beginning of elementary school, much later, however, is no exception. Almost invariably the care for these children starts at home. Usually professional care and therapy start slowly; the period around diagnosis is often rather chaotic.
Usually the coping-capacity versus burden balance in families in which autism occurs is unfavorable.
The burden is heavy because most parents have considerable difficulty with children who avoid emotional contact; besides they are often unruly and sometimes aggressive. Forty percent of Dutch parents work less or stop working altogether when the child is still very young. Other children often get less attention and are of course hindered by the behavioral problems of their autistic siblings.
The coping-capacity of these families is less than average, among other things, because other members are often hereditarily burdened. In 45% of the families which took part in the survey of the Dutch Association for Autism (NVA) more than one member has autism, mainly parents and brothers. A third of the mothers (or more) report depressive phenomena.
It’s noteworthy a number of families cope very well; often these parents find their autistic child has enriched their lives.
The aforementioned survey also shows that Dutch youngsters with Asd below 23 years of age live with their parents, and of older ‘children’ 30%. (See table and some US data here.)


NVA, Een plek om te leven. Een onderzoek naar de leefsituatie van mensen met autisme, Bilthoven, NVA, 2008.