Saturday, January 31, 2009

4 Secrets to Help Parents of Autistic Children to Cope

Being the parent of an Autistic child is amazing and rewarding, but at times it can also be difficult and frustrating. On those days when things have gone all wrong, you may feel like you’re juggling 50 flaming torches and all you feel like doing is letting them all drop wherever they want. Learning to cope will keep you juggling until the frustration passes and the sun comes back out. Here are 4 secrets to help parents of Autistic children to cope.

1. You Can’t Do It Alone –

Sometimes, mothers and fathers feel as if they should be doing everything alone. Well, at some point it’s time to wake up and realize that you are only human and although super powers would be appreciated, you just don’t have them. Learn how to ask for help. Whether you have your spouse watch your child while you run errands or leave your child with a trusted and responsible sitter for an evening – it’s nice to be able to rely on others at times. When you’re able to get rest and a little time away, it can help you cope much better. Then, you will be refreshed and ready to take on a new day with your child!

2. Get Support –

When you have others around you who just ‘get’ what you’re going through, it can be a huge source of support, tips and advice. This is why so many parents of autistic children join local support groups. Chances are there’s one in your area as well. Even if the idea of getting to know a crowd of people you’re not familiar with makes you apprehensive – it will be a rewarding and fun experience. It’s a great way to learn how to cope and you can get lots of great information and tips.

3. Create a Journal –

Even if you’ve never written in a journal before, it’s important that you try. Being able to get your frustrations out through the written word is very cleansing – and it’s just for your eyes so you don’t have to worry about what other people say or think. Simply write whatever you feel and allow yourself to get your frustrations, worries, fears and other thoughts off your chest. This is a very cleansing and helpful process that can be used for almost anything – and it works wonderfully for parents of autistic children.

4. Talk about Your Needs –

Your family and friends can be your biggest source of support and help when it comes to raising your autistic child. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs – if you need someone to pick something up for you or if you need a sitter for a weekend night. Chances are, your family and friends already admire you for being such a devoted and wonderful parent – they won’t mind helping you out from time to time. If no one knows what you need, you certainly can’t expect them to offer it, right?

Parents of autistic children often feel as if they are learning the largest and most important lessons of their lives as they raise their children – and learning to cope is a wonderful way to ensure that you are prepared to learn each of those little lessons.

Photo: Michelle Meiklejohn

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