Raising a child with autism can be overwhelming and as caregivers, it can sometimes feel as if no one understands what you and your family experience on a daily basis. Given my experience working with children diagnosed with Autism the following are tips for parents who may identify as feeling “overwhelmed” in their daily lives.
1. End the self-blame: As parents, we are taught that we must put ourselves on the back-burner to care for our children. Therefore, parents sometimes feel guilty for wanting time for themselves. Emotional and mental health is important and impacts how we handle challenging situations and cope with our feelings. Take time for yourself and let go of those feelings of guilt
2. You’re a Priority: Finding time for yourself might seem impossible with the many appointments and maintaining a household. Setting some time aside for yourself for meditation, engaging in a hobby or learning something new can-do wonders for your well-being. Taking time for yourself by reading a book, taking a walk, or even listening to your favorite music can help you unwind and reconnect with yourself in order to be more present.
3. Organize Support: Parents and caregivers tend to try to do everything themselves but learning to stop sweating the small stuff and asking for help from others is important for remaining balanced. Finding support through your child’s school system, family members, medical professionals and mental health providers can make the difference in helping you remain balanced.
4. Get more sleep: In a day and age when people’s lives are increasingly hectic, getting enough sleep can pose a problem, let alone for parents living with a child who has been diagnosed with autism. Children with autism may have a higher inability to stick to schedules and the inability to communicate their basic needs.
5. Connect with other parents and caregivers: Being a parent of an autistic child can feel socially isolating, so finding ways to connect with other parents via support groups can help minimize these feelings and provide a higher feeling of unity and support. It is a great opportunity for parents to talk and exchange ideas and establish a connection.
About the Author: Patricia De La Garza, LPC
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