Stress that parents of autistic children and parents of children with cerebral palsy face with

Natasha Mateska1, Vladimir Trajkovski2

1unemployed special educator

2University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”, Faculty of Philosophy, Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

Introduction: Autism is a diagnose that affects every member of the family in different ways. Parents should focus a bigger part of their attention toward the autistic child, which can cause a stressful effect in the family as well as outside the family.

Aim of the study: To determine the stress that parents of autistic children face with compared to parents of children with cerebral palsy.

Methodology: The entire sample includes 90 respondents, of which 45 parents of autistic children and the rest 45 parents of children with cerebral palsy. The survey was conveyed using a questionnaire and methods of descriptive and comparative analysis were used. The comparison of the groups of surveyed was analyzed by using χ2 test and Fisher Exact test. The differences that were taken into consideration were on the level of significance p<0.05.

Results: Parents of autistic children compared with parents of children with cerebral palsy, statistically show significant difference for following variables: support from close community (χ2=7.57, df=1, p=0.006), stigmatization by family and community (χ2=5.4, df=1, p=0.02), isolation by the community (χ2=10.3, df=1, p=0.001), change in the relationship between spouses (χ2=7.53, df=1, p=0.006).

Conclusion: The parents of autistic children are faced with bigger stress in managing the everyday activities and control of life, compared with parents of children with cerebral palsy.

Key words: stress, parents, autism, cerebral palsy

Citation: Mateska N, Trajkovski V. Stress that parents of autistic children and parents of children with cerebral palsy face. Book of abstracts ‡ 9th International Scintific Conference – „Special Education and Rehabilitation Today“. Belgrade, September 25-27, 2015; 31.

ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CEREBRAL PALSY AND AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS

VLADIMIR TRAJKOVSKI, MD, PhD, Full Professor

Macedonian Scientific Society for Autism, Institute of Special Education and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Philosophy, University “Ss. Cyril and Methodius”

Address: Blvd. “Goce Delchev 9A, 1000 Skopje, Republic of Macedonia

E-mail: vladotra@fzf.ukim.edu.mk

Abstract

Relevance: Clinical heterogeneity among children with neurodevelopmental disorders reflects diversity in strengths and needs that can have important implications for therapeutic management. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is sometimes a co-occurring associated condition of cerebral palsy. Whereas cerebral palsy affects motor functioning, autism affects certain areas of brain development. Cerebral palsy (CP) is primarily a motor disorder, caused by a cerebral lesion occurring in the developing brain.

Purpose: To explore autism spectrum symptoms in children with cerebral palsy (CP), and the association between autism spectrum symptoms and medical and psychiatric co-morbidity.

Results: Over the past two decades there has been greater recognition that risk of mental health and neurobehavioral disorders is shared across the broad continuum of developmental medicine, including cerebral palsy. The current best practice for diagnosing ASD in a child with CP is completing a thorough clinical assessment and combining this with the clinician’s

judgement. The assessment of ASD in the face of CP should entail a detailed history, examination and structured observation of the child’s social and communication skills, complemented with standardized diagnostic instruments which are validated for children with motor difficulties. Both conditions are discovered at roughly the same age, usually. Cerebral palsy is usually discovered a little earlier, at perhaps 6 months to 2 years of age. Autism is discovered a little later, usually by 5 years of age.  They are highly variable, with some symptoms present in some children but not others. Both conditions can be very severe or hardly noticeable.

Conclusions: A holistic approach is required when evaluating a child who demonstrates impairments in social communication skills in the presence of motor impairment More attention should be given to autism spectrum symptoms in the regular follow-up of children with CP in an attempt to enhance social functioning.

Key words: cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorders, neurodevelopmental disorders.