It is very common for parents and guardians to experience high stress levels related to caring for their child. Often days and nights may seem never ending running one into another. Stress and fatigue can make for an emotionally toxic environment for all members within the household. Statistics suggest that 80% of marital relationships dissolve with the stress, coping, and challenges related to the care and acceptance of a biological child with autism.
Take time out for yourself and your married relationship. Listen to your partners concerns, fears, and joys. Make dates outside of the home with your spouse at least once a week and if you are the primary caregiver, make time for yourself daily. Exercise and eat healthy foods to decrease stress and maintain daily stamina.
State and local governments usually have respite resources for children and adults with disabilities. Many outside agencies offer services that will individualize care for your child based on their unique needs. Networking with other families may provide invaluable resources and altruistic support.
Use visual schedules, visual communication, and develop routines with your child to support their independence and to decrease stress. Provide plenty of appropriate breaks throughout the day to meet your child’s sensory needs. Remember, if your child begins to look more autistic, then it is time to make a change, redirect focus, or utilize calming strategies that work for your child. Keep an observation journal to help you determine next steps and keep a personal journal to record your feelings and reflections.
Above all, be consistent, follow through, be firm, and be loving!
Choose your battles carefully and embrace your joys every chance you have! Your child will teach you what you need to know in order to meet, reach, and teach!
“It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt