Parents of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder understand the hard work, time, and love it takes to give their child a fulfilling life day in and day out. But with this time, also takes a lot of energy and patience, wearing many parents thin, and leading them to feel they are fighting the battle against autism alone.
It is a challenge to care for individuals with complex needs while navigating multiple service sectors throughout life, according to a study published in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Research. Parents not only have to manage their child’s behavior and balance the associated stress, but oversee the well-being of the rest of their family, too.
Parents can find it difficult when their child demonstrates unusual behaviors in public. If parents feel stressed and unable to cope, their own health can be at risk. Another study published in Autism reports that parents of children with autism often report higher levels of depression, anxiety, and mental health–related issues.
In a study published in the Chinese Journal of Contemporary Pediatrics, fathers and mothers of autistic children were significantly more at risk of suffering from obsessive-compulsive symptoms, depression, anxiety and paranoia than the parents of neurotypical children.
As the Journal of Pediatric Nursing reports, number of parents report struggle accessing diagnoses and services for their child, as well frustration with health care providers’ knowledge of ASD and lack of communication. Moreover, the risks parents experience as they care for their child with ASD far outweigh the protective factors for self-management of parental stress.
We need to remind ourselves as autism supporters and parents of children with autism that we have an important responsibility! Not only do we need to care for our children but we need to care for ourselves. We need to remember that what we do is possible when our own physical and psychological needs are met as well.
By staying healthy, mentally and physically, you and your child’s future will be brighter every step of the way. Sign the pledge to remind yourselves and other parents of children with autism that we’re all in this together!
Click below to make a difference!Whizzco