Coping with the diagnosis of autism is one thing, but then having to cope with it on a day-to-day basis is another. Autism can be very hard on a marriage, a family, and anyone who is close to that family. As a parent, you may lose much of your personal time because of the care your child needs. This can end up making you depressed, cause you to withdraw from caregiving, and even make you or your spouse want a divorce. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
As parents, support one another by making sure to set aside time for yourselves. Make time to talk together about the things that both of you have to deal with on a daily basis. If either of you (or both of you) are having problems coping with the stress, you need to recognize your limitations and get professional help.
It is important that you deal with problems as they come up because small problems can turn into big ones if they’re not dealt with and can lead to resentment or angry outbursts. These problems can also weaken your marriage and make you more stressed.
Below are eight helpful tips to help you cope with autism in your family.
This is the number one thing you can and should absolutely do. Getting support from other parents and families that have “been there, done that” is the best way to help you cope with autism. Not only can you get encouragement and inspiration from other families’ stories, but you can also get practical advice, information on the latest research, and referrals to services and qualified professionals in your community. By talking with other people who have similar experiences you will see that you are not alone. There are organizations that are available to give support including your local autism support groups, and online support groups for autism. You may also want to look into counseling, as this can be very helpful as well.
Take One Day At A Time
Being a parent and caregiver of a child with autism is a 24 hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year job. Because of this, one of the biggest challenges you will face is being tired. Your life can also be very challenging and frustrating because the time you have to yourself is limited. In addition to this, because autism can be unpredictable it can make you feel out of control sometimes.
Taking things one day at a time makes it easier to focus on the things that you can control in the moment and to live each day to the fullest. Be happy about the little victories that your child has every day and the moments you share together.
Don’t Be Afraid To Go Out In Public
Isolating yourself from the world will only make you feel more alone in dealing with autism. You don’t have to be alone in this.
Often when we are stressed out, we take out our frustrations on the people that are closest to us. It is important that you as parents and your whole family work as a team when it comes to your child with autism. Even though it may be hard to find child care, try to take breaks as a couple from the everyday care giving, and also make sure that if you have other children, that you are giving them the attention that they need and deserve.
Most parents want to know that when they die, their children will be safe and taken care of. You may choose to have another family member take this role, or find another guardian. Either way, making a plan ahead of time can help you be less worried about the future and may give you some piece of mind. Lawyers who specialize in special needs estate planning can help.
Ever heard of the saying “Laughter is the best medicine”? Well, it may be true. In order to keep a healthy perspective on your life, it may help to laugh a little. Parents that are able to laugh and say, “You’ll never guess what our child has done now!” often cope better with this disorder.
The Cup Is Half Full
Sometimes it may seem that your child is not progressing and that all the help, love, and support you have given is going nowhere. It’s at these times when you may have the “cup is half empty” point of view.
Things may not be as bad as they seem. It’s important to remember that over time, progress is happening, and will continue. If you and your family can celebrate even the smallest signs of progress, you will be better able to keep your hope alive for your child’s future.
Many parents find that being involved in their local autism organization, community programs, or school services gives them strength and a sense of purpose. Being involved with these types of organizations helps parents see themselves as important contributors to the well being of others as well as their own child.