Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Parents: Coping with Autism

Taking care of children is never easy – as Mom and Dad, you must be at the beck and call of your children all day, every day. As a parent of a special needs child, you are even more in demand – ensuring that your child is following a routine, making appointments, eating the right foods, etc. It can be very difficult and although you love your child more than anything – at times it can be frustrating. Below, you will find some different ways to cope with Autism and take care of yourself as well.


There’s no doubt that you’re stressed out. On days when everything has gone wrong, it can make you want to crawl in your bed and shut out the rest of the world. However, your child is depending on you to keep going. There are some simple stress-busters you can use to calm yourself and get rid of dangerous stress. Try deep breathing for 5 minutes at a time. Slowly inhale, counting to 10 as you do. Then, exhale slowly, taking the same amount of time as you did to inhale. As you do this, feel the stress draining away and refreshing energy filling your body.

Another great stress buster is writing in a journal. You can trust your deepest secrets, fears and frustrations to the pages of your journal, knowing that it’s only for you and that no one else will read it. Keeping a journal can be very cleansing and can be an excellent outlet for the stress.

Finding ‘Me’ Time:

It’s so important that you are able to cut away small chunks of time that are only for you. Everyone needs a break from time to time and by ensuring that you get one, you will be taking care of yourself. This will make it much easier to take care of your Autistic child. If your child goes to a regular public school, use an hour of your day while they’re gone to soak up some ‘you’ time.

Take a long, hot bath and allow yourself to relax. Watch your favorite show or take a luxurious nap! You should never feel guilty about taking time to yourself here and there – it’s needed and it will refuel your energy so that you’re better able to take care of your family.

Rewarding Yourself:

Any parent has a difficult job – and although being a parent is quite rewarding, who says you can’t reward yourself for doing a great job? Go out to dinner once a month or once every two weeks. Hire a trustworthy sitter or have a friend or family member watch the kids for a night so that you’re able to enjoy yourself with no distractions.

Go to a movie or a show – do something you really enjoy. By rewarding yourself in this way, you will be better able to cope with the stressful and sometimes difficult job of taking care of your Autistic child. Above all, take the time each day to look into your child’s eyes and you will instantly be reminded of why you work so hard to be such a great parent!

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