Primary Caregivers Of Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder - Perceived Psychological Burden
Keywords:psychological burden, Caregivers of children, Autism spectrum disorder[ASD].
Background: According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), DSM V criteria  Autism spectrum disorder is characterized by three cardinal features: qualitative impairments in social interactions; qualitatively impaired verbal and nonverbal communication; and restricted range of interests . Parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder[ASD] differs from parenting a child without ASD in a number of ways. Raising a child with ASD puts tremendous pressure on the parents and caregivers due to increased responsibility and social stigma.
- To assess the psychological burden among primary caregivers of children with ASD
- To correlate between psychological burden and severity of ASD found in children.
MATERIAL & METHODS: Study Design: descriptive cross-sectional study. Study area: The study was conducted on caregivers registered at Child development centres, Hyderabad or were a part of ASD online support groups. Study Period: 1 year. Study population: Primary caregivers (father or mother or anyone else) who were caring for a child with ASD. Sample size: Study consisted a total of 225 subjects. Sampling Technique: Simple Random technique.
Results: There is significant association between the demographic variables such as financial status of the caregiver, age at which the child was first noticed by the caregiver to behave differently and psychological burden of the caregiver of a child with ASD. And demographic variables such as gender, age, relationship with the child, education of the caregiver and employment status does not have a significant association with psychological burden of the caregiver of a child with ASD.
CONCLUSION: Family members helping the caregivers who look after children with ASD should be part of an education program designed to support those who shoulder the burden by providing knowledge about ASD and therapies, training in problem-solving and communication skills, and also offering coping mechanisms. To lessen the challenges of caring for children with ASD, the Press and Media must play a significant role in providing the caregivers with proper information.