For many parents, having a child with Autism can be a frustrating and lonely experience. You are expected to be involved deeply with their therapies, and their life, often putting their needs far above your own. This is true for all children, but is especially draining when your child has a disability that needs constant attention.
Whilst other parents are enjoying their free hour provided with community day cares or classes, your child may not handle that well yet… grocery trips can be a hellish experience; as other parents enjoy talking vegetables your talking your child down from a ledge after another sensory overload… as other children play with others in the park you watch as yours inspects something intently and alone. This doesn’t mean to say Autism isn’t amazing, and wonderful and deeply fulfilling, but as parents we have to acknowledge for our own sanity, that sometimes it’s painful.
So here are some things you can do for yourself when ABA therapy hours are up…
Some communities run support groups, a few are for autism and a quick Google search may pull-up some in your area. These groups of parents often get together to talk about their experience, understand, care and support each other through their own unique journeys.
Sometimes it’s hard to get to physical location or find somebody to watch your child on the spectrum. With the internet you have access to support online whenever you need it.
My Autism Team is an online social network where people share their day-to-day highs and lows with their autistic children.
A live chat room, this room is specifically for autism.
Facebook offers many groups for Autistic parents.
BubHub is an online forum for special needs children.
Reading is therapeutic for many people, and there is a host of literature on the subject of autism. This serves to help you feel less alone, to understand your situation better and even see a positive ending to a similar situation.
Crazy Love: A Traumedy about Life with Autism – A comedic and touching account of a parent’s life with autism
The Reason I jump – Written from a 13 year old boy’s point of view, who happens to have autism. Incredibly powerful and moving.
Ketchup is My Favorite Vegetable – A memoir of a mother’s journey with her autistic child
Your child is not the only one who may benefit from therapy. Talking to somebody neutral who is there souly to listen without judgment can do wonders for your stress levels. Therapy isn’t always about fixing something, most of the time it’s just putting two minds together to overcome a difficulty you can’t handle alone.
As a mother of two autistic children I can’t advocate enough for exercise. Autism is mentally draining and I often find my mental capacity crashing but my body wired and tense. Exercise helps to balance this, which in turn keeps you sleeping, less emotional and in better physical health.