Coping Strategies for Parents of Children with Autism

We all want our children to be healthy and happy. Learning that your child has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is frightening and can bring a lot of stress. You may start to wonder and worry what comes next – unsure about how best to help your child and confused by differing treatment advice.

Parental stress demands extra effort from parents in dealing with demands of looking after your children daily. Thus, it is very crucial to be able to manage it. People who experience stress often adapt to coping strategies is able to handle stressful situations. This would involve effort and strategies with a single purpose of managing stress, regardless of how it works. Although stress is part of family life you can learn to cope with it more positively.

Several studies have been made to address the parental stress on parents with children with ASD. As there is no one way to deal with children with autism, so it is with coping with stress that comes with that responsibility. There are different strategies parents can refer to, taking into consideration that what might work for one parent may be different from another.

Take it one day at a time.

Stress is often related to the feeling that things are beyond your control. Having a child with autism is one of these. You will find life is more manageable if we let go of the “what if’s” and the uncertainty of the future and set your focus on the “now.” It may seem impossible, but good things will always continue to happen each day. Appreciate the little things and get through it one day at a time.

Establish support system.

Human beings do not thrive when isolated from others. So as the famous saying goes, “No man is an island” – we all need someone’s support and contribute to a positive environment. When a child gets diagnosed with ASD, it is best to share this information with people closest to you. Knowing someone is there who understands and listen to you can bring a great amount of comfort. As simple as talking to someone can bring a great amount of comfort. It’s also a good idea to ask for help. It could be as simple as asking your sister to look after your child for a few minutes while you do some errand or your cousin to come babysit while you and your husband go on a movie date.

Be informed.

Get accurate information. It doesn’t matter how much you have or don’t have but ensure you get the right information from the right sources. Start by asking questions and learn how to formulate the right ones. A best practice would be to write down all the questions you have or may think of, so you can bring it up on your next appointment. Don’t forget to seek copies of all evaluations and reports done on your child too.

As a parent, it is in our nature to want the best care for our child, and we can only do this if we know the right information to begin with.

Let go of the negative things.

Learning that your child has ASD can be nerve-racking and you may start to be filled with negative thoughts.

“If anything could be more devastating to a mother than having her child succumb to autism, it might be having to shoulder the blame for the affliction. That’s what happened to a generation of mothers in the 1950s and ’60s, when medical orthodoxy blamed autism on the mother’s failure to bond with her child.”  — A PBS film review on Refrigerator Mothers, 2002. [1]

It is nobody’s fault and no one deserves to take the blame for it.

Love and acceptance

Remember that this is your child. Others may judge and say unpleasant things but what matters is how you think and deal with it. Shower your child with love and care. Do fun things together. Keep in mind that children are valuable, important and deserved to be loved and accepted.






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