Regional News from WTAJ
TYRONE - The CDC estimates that one in 68 children has an autism spectrum disorder, and that means many more kids are the brother or sister of someone with autism. One local mother has launched an effort to help these family members who may sometimes feel forgotten. Michelle Baughman's daughter Sage didn't start speaking until she was five. Now, nine, she's a student at Tyrone Elementary School", she says proudly. She's classified as a high functioning child on the autism spectrum and in a regular third grade classroom, with the help of an aide. But she doesn't always blend in well with the four other kids in her family. "If we're in a very crowded area like a park or a party, sometimes that's too much stimulation for her and she gets very upset," her mother says.
Sage has a meltdown, which might seem like a temper tantrum to someone unaware of her diagnosis, an embarrassment to family members. But it's a familiar situation to those providing services to kids with autism.
"The siblings are kind of taking the brunt of that aggression sometimes, when things aren't going well with the kid with autism," says Lindsey Hasson, an admissions coordinator with the Home Nursing Agency. She hears about that behavior frequently as she helps families sign up for counseling and support services provided by her agency.
Then, there's the extra time children like Sage requires from their parents. Other children in the family can feel forgotten. Michelle says "I think they've been used to it because it's always been our way of life, but sometimes they have a lot of questions."
And Michelle believes, so do brothers and sisters of other kids with autism so she reached out to the Home Nursing Agency for a way to help her family and others. Her proposal: a support group for siblings and families of children with autism.
"When she came to us we're like 'hey that's goes right into some of the things that we do best.' We do a lot of individual and group therapies," says Curt Melton, clinical child adolescent supervisor, Home Nursing Agency.
The Home Nursing Agency is in the process of setting up a support groups for sisters, brothers and parents children with autism. They'll look at the common problems faced by these families and work on strategies for coping with them. Home Nursing Agency is inviting families of children on the autism spectrum to join their support groups. For more information contact Lindsey Hasson or Brett Miller at 946-0261
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Copyright © 2015 Renda. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.