Autism doesn’t just affect one member of your family, it affects the entire family unit and there are measures that every member of your family can do in order to help a child with Autism.
There are many things parents can do to help their child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. But it’s also important to make sure that, as a parent, you are getting the support you need as well.
Taking care of yourself is neither an indulgence nor self-centered—it’s necessary.
ABC Pediatrics understands that self-care is important for your whole family, and so is knowing your limits. That’s why we’ve created a list of ways you can help your child, both directly for them, as well as for yourself. Some of the options include:
- Joining a group
- Being a part of the community
- Hiring an advocate for school
- Taking a night off for self-care
- Taking on issues one at a time
- Educating others and continuing your own learning
- Rewarding good behavior
- And more
It is important to understand that every family is different, and not every item listed will be right for every family or their unique situations. The important common factor is that you need to take care of yourself in order to take care of your children – and that goes for physical, mental, and emotional health.
What Can You Do to Help Yourself & Your Child?
Join a Group
This can be a great support for you as well as a great way to learn more about Autism, treatment options, or other systems in your area. Additionally, sharing stories and connecting with others is a great way to promote self-care as well as education.
Being a member of a group can be a place for healing, learning, sharing, and more. And knowing that others are walking the same path as you are sometimes the best encouragement.
Be a Part of the Community
Even if there are no groups in your area, being a part of your community is great for both yourself and your child.
Getting out into the community, being in social situations, and making connections with others are all strong systems that can teach expected behaviors to your child and give you the assistance and social support needed.
Hire an Advocate
If your child is in the school system, then it can be extremely helpful to hire (or find an organization that provides) an advocate.
Though we at ABC Pediatrics know that each and every parent of a child with Autism is an advocate in their own right, it can be very helpful to have someone who understands the school system and laws, policies, and connections to get the best treatments, programs, and classes for your child.
Take a Night Off
Sometimes the best thing you can do is take the night off – and go out with your spouse or partner, friends or other family members to have some ‘unwind’ time.
This can be as simple as a dinner at a friend’s house and a movie, or as extravagant as a concert event or fully planned-out evening. But having a little oasis’ just for yourself, or just for the adults of the household is important in any family.
Take on Big Issues One by One
Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you look at all the goals you have for your child, the many steps in their treatment plan or therapies ahead of them. However, it is important to look at issues one at a time instead of all at once.
In many ways, you can look at any ‘large journey’ much like debt – you start with the largest sum (or highest interest account) and focus on paying just that one down. Then you move onto the next largest, or highest, and so on and so on.
Think of the ‘big issues’ with your child in the same light and focus on just one at a time to keep it manageable.
Educate Others & Yourself
This goes back to advocacy at its roots.
It is important to be willing to educate those around you about ASD and though it can be tiring, if you aren’t willing to share your knowledge, how will others learn and grow?
Additionally, it is important to always continue your own education as great strides are being made with Autism every year. Find comfort in new studies, treatments, therapies, and supports as they are made available, and always keep learning.
Get Involved with ASD Events
Just like getting involved in groups can be helpful, or even in your community, getting involved in ASD events can be a great way to increase your emotional energy on the topic and meet others who are passionate about the same subject.
You can choose to be actively involved, like walking or running in an ASD marathon or 5K, or you can be more passively involved by volunteering or donating your resources or time. There is no wrong way to help out and support local ASD events and programs!
Reward Good Behavior
This is for both yourself, your family members, and your child with Autism – reward the behaviors you want to promote.
Another way of looking at this is the lovely saying ‘water the seed you want to become a tree’, meaning you need to encourage the behaviors you want to see more of.
You want to encourage yourself to do more of the behaviors that will be positive for both yourself and your family, just like you want to encourage your child in their improvements and positive behaviors.
Look to ABC Pediatrics for More Helpful Information, Treatment News, & Support.
We are here for you, your child, and your entire family, and we would love to find the unique needs and strengths that your little one has.
We believe in empowering our clients to be able to reach their goals and move mountains. Don’t hesitate to contact any of our locations if you want to learn more about our organization, therapy or services.
We look forward to hearing from you.