What is autism spectrum disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental type of problem that manifests its symptoms in early childhood. ASD is one of the developmental disorders; It can show different deficiencies in different areas in different periods of life. In this sense, it is important to make a developmental evaluation in the diagnosis and evaluation process.

As a matter of fact, although the symptoms of ASD are similar in all ages in general, the understanding of the symptoms and their impact on life can be different (Motavalli Holly, 2017). Parents in autism spectrum disorder perceive differences in the development of their children from the age of one. This situation is observed more in the main developmental dimension when the child is in the middle of his/her peers. Parents need to analyze some observed changes in this regard appropriately; The reason for this situation is that some periods are valuable in the development of children, the value of which is necessary for ASD to intervene early in the absence of developmental stages that should be in the period (Ergün, 2019). Delayed symptoms may begin at age 1 in 75% of diagnosed children; In addition, symptoms are seen at the 25% level at the age of 2 or 3 years. Behavioral disorders in autism begin to attract more attention as the child gets older.

In this direction, it is possible to say that the child exhibits more behavioral deterioration when he is 1 to 2 years old (Aydın & Kınacı, 2020). Early diagnosis symptoms in autism spectrum disorder are discussed in the following direction; observing atypicality in the developmental course of children, avoiding eye contact, no reaction to the name, finite imitation ability, lack of social smile, unresponsiveness, social miscommunication, behavioral problems (repetitive movements, rotational movements), lack of attention, focusing on an object, inability to interact positively, meaningless voices pulling out, lack of easy hand, arm, head movements, lack of words, playing with parents and other individuals, not reacting to connection-based attempts, giving exaggerated reflections to stimuli (such as loud noise, light, crowd, etc.), acting as if there is no need for parents, routine love, issues in eating food, uneasiness and incomprehension in the direction of parents (Bodur and Soysal, 2004). It should not be forgotten that the symptoms of each diagnosed child are different from each other and their deficiencies also vary. This is actually the equivalent of the spectrum name of autism spectrum disorder.
is specific to the situation. According to the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria, there are weight levels that characterize the disorder in line with the autism expansion. These load levels are valued as social and restricted repetitive behaviors. In this direction, it requires accurate reinforcement compared to each level level. If the primary level is not reinforced in terms of social contact, it causes problems with its deficiencies in the social sense. Has difficulty initiating social connection and appears reluctant to social bonds. He has a structure that speaks in only single-structured sentences, has difficulty in establishing friendships, is inclined to communicate but is unable to do so. In the restricted XXI repetitive behaviors, inability to show flexibility in behaviors, deterioration in one or more functions, troubles in transition in the areas of ingenuity, problems of arrangement and creation impair independence. In the second level, severe impairments in the verbal and non-verbal connection areas, showing wonderful reflections to the reinforcer even at the time of reinforcement. Presumably, there are signs of social connection that speaks in plain sentences, is left alone with limited interests, and has excluded parties in their interaction. Limited
in repetitive behaviors, inability to show flexibility in behaviors, difficulties in the face of changes, repetitive behaviors, experiencing significant trouble in changing the focus and situations. At the third and most severe level, invaluable reinforcement is required because verbal and non-verbal social interaction abilities are severely impaired, and it is very limited and makes few connections. Moreover, they are closed to all kinds of social connections and always react. In the restricted repetitive behaviors part, inability to show comfort to the behaviors, taking a lot of effort in changes, and evident deterioration in repetitive behaviors. He has a high difficulty in differentiating the focus and the action he takes.

Autism Spectrum Disorder and Family

The concept of family is the smallest building block of the society in which family members share their basic needs together through marriage and blood ties. These basic needs are interest, love, material-spiritual needs, education, socialization, etc. are listed as. Indeed, one of these needs in the family
Problems that develop due to family problems cause effects on individuals in the family (Bodur, 2021). Having a child with autism spectrum disorder in the family greatly affects the parenting role and individual role of parents. In particular, the parents of children diagnosed with autism are exposed to serious problems with how they will behave towards their children and what kind of life they should build. This rush; The effect of the horror that parents feel against the sudden and out-of-control situation is heavy (Darica et al., 2017). Parents who have a child diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder; There are four models that characterize the reflection in the face of the situation (Dennis, 1999; Gökcan, 2008). In the first model, the model that states that parents accept the diagnosis by taking various steps and can provide harmony to the sudden situation is called the step model. Parents who have a child with an atypical developmental course; As soon as they learn about this situation for the first time, they enter into an emotional circulation. However, they experience a reactive process in which feelings such as disappointment, sadness, mourning, disapproval, guilt, and defense are experienced gradually (Aygen, 2011). After the reactive process, they enter the period of getting used to the situation, harmony and acceptance. In the second model, the fact that parents are in a constant sense of grief and distress due to the influence of family, experiences and social attitudes is always called the grief model. In the third model, mothers and fathers proceed with more logic than feelings; The model that creates a system with an awareness for the future in comparison with the costs of the society in which they live is called the personal structuring model. Basically, in this model, when parents have children with different developmental characteristics, they get into trouble because of a lifetime of experience other than the cost of society. At the end of the bewilderment phase, parents enter the restructuring cycle.
It constructs different structures to the name of the state and creates the dimension of harmony (Aygen, 2011). In the last model, the model that argues that the feelings of parents who have children with different developmental stages are related to the behaviors of those in social life is the model of helplessness, powerlessness and meaninglessness. Indeed, the fact that the social environment considers this phenomenon negatively and without analysis causes parents to feel these feelings as well. In order to fulfill the parenting mission in a meaningful and healthy way, parents must be able to regulate unhappiness, anxiety, hopelessness, unhappiness and emotional turmoil. There are usually close problems in the families of children with special needs, but it is emphasized that the dose of the problems can vary according to the diagnosis of the child. Considering the study conducted with families with children with autism spectrum disorder, it was found that the tension felt by the parents was related to the level of behavioral problems experienced by the child (Davis ; Carter, 2008). In addition, parents who have a child with autism spectrum disorder are frequently faced with caring for their children and neglecting themselves due to the incomplete information they have learned about ASD. Although this situation is seen as a heavy attention and care that parents show on their children, it actually increases the parents’ loss of life, social isolation, hopelessness, and mental difficulties such as emotional regulation, worry and depression due to the situation (Tümlü, 2021). Autism spectrum disorder brings different problems in families due to the difference in the scope of diagnosis symptoms, but the attitude of parents with children with ASD towards special needs is commonly formed in the light of social and social information. In general, the society’s perspective on special needs is described as a deficiency (Stoneman & Gavidia-Payne, 2006). Because of being with special needs, the negative cognitions of parents with their health, education, material and spiritual suffering (Harris, 2008; Darling, Senatore, & Strachan, 2012); It can make the troublesome situations of families even more unbearable and bring along the trouble of organizing feelings. In addition, parents who have children with autism may lose their self-confidence due to the worry of how they will proceed after the diagnosis and what their future lives will be like. The fact that the cause of autism is not known exactly, and there is no definite treatment, is aggravated by the feeling of insecurity in families. Indeed, parents may experience negative feelings about the ways they will accept autism and the responsibilities they will assume, and they may experience difficulties in coping with these feelings (Bodur, 2021). While it is known that individuals with special needs lead a healthy life with their families, it is possible for a child with a diagnosis to join a family with proper dynamism, disrupting the life stability of the parents and causing mental problems (Dereli & Okur, 2008). The main reason for this situation is the fragile nature of the parents of the child with special needs (Çakmak, 2022). The fact that parents hold themselves responsible for their children who have been diagnosed causes them to feel many emotions. It seems clear that in the face of these, the emotional regulation of parents is a valuable phenomenon both for their own vital dynamics and for their children with special needs.