Parents of children with autism typically experience more severe and more persistent stress than other parents. In fact, researchers have discovered that mothers of children with autism display a level of chronic stress that is comparable to that of combat soldiers. It’s important for parents to be proactive about their well-being, just as they would for their children’s health. One way to actively manage stress is to develop a plan to deal with the challenges associated with autism. An autism therapist can help parents develop this plan and offer guidance for addressing challenges across multiple settings.
Find Some Time for Yourself
After developing a plan to handle your child’s autism-related challenges, evaluate your schedule to find some time for yourself. You might meet a friend for coffee while your child is in school, for example. While on your lunch break at work, you might walk over to a nearby park to enjoy nature.
Work with Qualified Babysitters
It can be challenging for parents to introduce new babysitters to a child with autism. To find a babysitter with the necessary experience, you can ask other parents of kids with autism for referrals. Then, introduce the babysitter gradually. Have the babysitter tag along with you and your child during your daily routine. Your child will have the chance to get to know the babysitter better and the babysitter can have a chance to get to know your child’s unique needs.
Join a Support Group
Once you’ve found a suitable babysitter for your child, you might consider taking the time to join a local support group for parents affected by autism. Being surrounded by other people who are dealing with similar issues can be a source of comfort.
Consult a Counselor
If you’re still struggling with your stress, you may wish to consult your doctor or a mental health counselor. Professional counseling offers the opportunity to openly share your concerns and to actively work through them.
With parent training courses available at The Behavior Exchange , families can become empowered to help their children and improve the overall family dynamic. Our autism specialists also provide behavior classes for children with autism, which use the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. To request more information, call our office near Dallas at (214) 556-3947.