When a child is diagnosed with autism many concerns and challenges can arise within a family. Everyday it’s a new obstacle to overcome; whether that be negotiating with the school, dealing with outbursts, helping your child make friends or transitioning to adulthood. These challenges often leave parents feeling alone and overwhelmed. The tips below are a few ways to help keep the feelings of isolation at bay.
1. Reach Out
Find support through your special needs community and through other parents who are going through a similar situation. Social media outlets are a great way to connect and stay alert to any new programs or information that are being made available in your area. Joining local networks either online or locally in your community can be a huge comfort. Learning and listening to stories of others can help you feel less alone in times of stress and chaos.
2. Preserve Your Marriage
Don’t forget to show appreciation for your significant other. Sometimes mental and physical exhaustion can put a strain on a marriage. Focus on being a better team and set aside time for each other so you can grow together instead of apart.
3. Do Something for Yourself
Coordinate respite care for your child so that you can do something for yourself. It can be something as simple as entertaining a hobby, exercising or just finding something that reduces stress. Allow yourself this time to focus on your needs. Getting out of the house or breaking a routine can help you feel less isolated.
Keep an open line of communication between teachers, aids and other parents. Check in frequently and be open about issues or challenges you or your child may be facing to help those around you adjust to the situation. Being open and communicating regularly with those involved in your child’s life will help create a productive environment that leaves you feeling less alone.
5. Prevent Child’s Isolation
It can be difficult to immerse your child socially. Many parents take on this task for their child who may be struggling to find friends on their own, or may simply not want to. One way to ensure that your child with autism is staying socially active is by joining groups like the autism society or participating in community activities that allow them to develop social skills and make friends. Social integration or occupational therapy can also be helpful.
These are just a few ways parents have sought to end isolation. For more information and resources on planning for your loved one with special needs, browse through our website at specialneedsforum.org.
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