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Collaborative Post

4 Challenges That Parents Of Autistic Children Will Face

As any parent will tell you, raising a child is the hardest thing that you’ll ever have to do. In those first few months, most parents will probably swear that they’ll never have another child as long as they live, but then they remember how amazing it is to raise a family and quickly change their mind. Raising a child with autism brings its own specific challenges and it can be incredibly tough to deal with. We spend a lot of time talking about the specific challenges that the child themselves faces, which is important, but it’s also worth considering how hard things can be for the parents.

A lot of parents feel that their friends and family don’t understand what they’re going through because they haven’t dealt with the specific challenges involved with raising an autistic child and that can feel quite isolating. Meeting other parents of children with autism is a good way to find a support network but it’s also nice to just have those problems recognized. With that in mind, these are some of the most common problems that parents of autistic children may face.

Lack Of Sleep

Exhaustion is a big issue for parents that are raising an autistic child. Studies show that children with autism often have lower levels of melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for regulating sleep patterns. This means that they don’t need to sleep as much as other people and they can often get by on around 3 or 4 hours. That might be enough for them, but it’s certainly not enough for you and you should ideally be getting around 8 hours a night. The problem is, once they’re up, you need to be up as well to look after them. That means that a lot of parents of children with autism simply aren’t getting enough sleep. Lack of sleep can have a big impact on your health so this is a problem. The best way to get around this is for you and your partner to take turns sleeping in some days so you can both fight the symptoms of sleep deprivation whilst also making sure that your child is being looked after.

Marriage Problems

Caring for a child with autism can be incredibly stressful and they will take up a lot of your time, and that can affect your marriage if you aren’t careful. If you don’t have time for one another and you’re both stressed out all of the time, you can easily drift apart and before you know it, you could find yourself looking for expert divorce solicitors and talking about how to divide up all of your stuff. But that doesn’t have to happen as long as you recognize that having a child with extra care needs can put a strain on your marriage and you take steps to keep things healthy. Make sure that you put time aside to spend together and ask family members to help out with childcare sometimes so you can go out and do things together. It’s also important that you let your partner know how much you appreciate the things that they do for you and the family.

Planning Holidays

Planning a holiday is so much harder when you have a child with autism. Routine is very important and when you’re at home, you have everything set up in the right way and you can ensure that all of their needs are met. But taking them into a new environment where they might not necessarily have everything that they need, coupled with the stress of a new situation and a break in routine can be very hard on them. When you’re planning a holiday, you need to consider all of their specific needs and work out whether you’ll still be able to meet them outside of the home environment, which puts a lot of parents off taking their autistic child on holidays. But it’s important that they don’t miss out on those great family experiences. There are places that accommodate children with autism if you contact them beforehand so really, it’s just a case of doing your research first and finding somewhere that is a good fit for your child. Speaking to other parents and getting their recommendations is a good way to find suitable holiday destinations for a child with autism as well.

Dealing With Schools

Mainstream schools are often very underequipped to help children that have special educational requirements so if you decide to send your child to one, you may have some trouble dealing with the teachers. Even though they are trying their best to give your child the support that they need, they don’t often have the training they need and when they are trying to teach a classroom filled with students, your child might not get the attention and care that they need. The key here is communication between you and the school. Before your child starts, you need to meet with the teachers and explain what specific needs they have and give them advice on caring for them. If there are any resources that you can offer, that will be a big help as well.

If your child isn’t getting on well in a mainstream school and the teachers simply aren’t equipped to care for them effectively, it may be worth considering a specialist school instead. There will be more teachers per child so they can dedicate more time to each child and they will have specialist training and resources to help a child with autism. Often, it’s the best option for your child and they will get a lot more out of their education at a specialist school as opposed to a mainstream school that isn’t really set up to cater to their needs. When they get older, you can reconsider and think about putting them back into a mainstream school if you think that they are able to deal with the environment better.

These are the challenges that you’re likely to face as a parent of an autistic child. If you’re prepared for them and you take them in your stride, you can give your child the care that they need.

DISCLOSURE – This is a collaborative post.

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