Chicago School of Psychology student seeks participants for unique study

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology student Kimberly Krawczyk (M.S., M.A.) is seeking participants for a unique study. Krawczyk is interested in interviewing parents or caregivers of those with autism, preferably 18 years old and younger. She particularly wants to know the effect that poverty has on raising a child with autism.

I had the pleasure of participating in this study. I think it is an interesting subject, something that in all of my years of being a parent of children with autism, was never addressed. So much focus is on the surface level of autism, but never on the emotional concerns of the parent living in an impoverished state while raising the child.

I shared my background with Krawczyk, from my years of living in the Cabrini-Green housing projects to my lack of emotional support from those closest to me. I expressed that raising autistic children alone is tough enough and if you don't have emotional support, the situation can become overwhelming.

Krawczyk asked me how do I cope and I immediately answered with lots of prayer. I mentioned to her that a great percentage of parents who care for autistic children while living in poverty, are more likely to engage in drinking or abusing drugs. The pressure to provide for these children on a limited income is immense.

Instead of seeking professional help, the parent may not oblige due to the lack of information given or because of the stigma of being crazy, if they do. Some parents are so mentally and physically exhausted that they just don't want to get involved with anything.

Thankfully for me, I took whatever opportunity came my way when it came to getting help for my autistic children. Thanks to my oldest son's preschool teacher at that time, she noticed that he was not developing properly and suggested that I have him evaluated. Doing such had benefited us both--he was placed in the proper learning environment and for me, a huge weight was lifted as I finally knew why he behaved the way he did. When I noticed that my youngest son was developing slowly, I automatically knew what to do and now he is in the proper learning environment.

Living in poverty while raising an autistic child, needless to say, is very depressing. However, being informed of various programs and studies such as Krawczyk's, softens the blow. Talking about your experiences in this area can really be empowering not only for yourself, but also for others in similar situations.

For more information about this study regarding poverty and autism, please contact Kimberly Krawczyk at (414) 640-2258 or email her at kak5211@ego.thechicagoschool.edu. Certain criteria apply.

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Filed under: Health and Wellness

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