Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I just wanted to post an article I found on being a parent with an Autistic child, and developing Depression. I know a lot of people may find it hard to understand what I am going through lately, and this article, I found fit me right. I am not sure why this is happening, but it is. Please know, that I am coping and dealing with this the best way I can, it is just another bump in the journey.

oxox Vanessa

Certainly, that feeling of never being good enough could lead to depression. And in some cases, individual counseling for moms could be tremendously helpful.

But while feelings of guilt and inadequacy certainly are at play for many parents, there's much more to the story. Families, even those with children at the "upper" end of the autism spectrum, cope with many other significant issues that could lead, at the very least, to frustration, anger, irritability, anxiety and more. For example:

* Parents receiving a diagnosis of autism are also coping with the loss of many of their expectations of parenthood. At the same time, they are losing out on the "parent club" that may have sustained them -- everything from exchanging playdates and childcare with neighbors to coaching the local ball team. That's pretty darned depressing.
* It can be tough to engage in normal social activity with a child on the autism spectrum. Social isolation is known to lead to depression.
* It can be expensive to treat a child on the autism spectrum. Many families go into debt to support therapies that are not paid for by insurance. This can lead to anxiety, depression, and anger.
* Often, mothers with children on the autism spectrum wind up quitting jobs they enjoy (and income they need or want) in order to care for a child on the spectrum. This could certainly lead to depression.
* Many children with autism have a tough time sleeping, and keep their parents awake all night. Exhaustion can lead to depression.
* Parents who have to battle the school districts and state mental health agencies for any type of appropriate services are almost certain to run into issues and circumstances which are unacceptable, but over which they have little control. This is certainly depressing.
* As children with autism grow older, parents often face "retirement" with full personal and financial responsibility for an adult child who depends upon them for everything. This can be quite depressing.

In short, having a child with autism can, indeed, lead to depression, but the reasons are many and complex. No matter how optimistic or upbeat a parent is, they may be unable to cheer up in the face of exhaustion, bankruptcy and isolation.

What is a parent to do in the face of so many negatives? There are a number of options for action. While none will change the underlying truth that autism is here to stay, many can help parents cope better with the emotional strain.

* Find support among like-minded parents of children with autism.
* Seek respite care, so that you and your partner can get away together for a well deserved break.
* Seek professional help from a therapist with experience working with families with special needs.
* Try journaling to relieve your stress.
* Lower your therapy costs by choosing low-cost, low-risk treatments for your child with autism.

Perhaps most important of all, know that you are doing the very best you can for your child with autism. Instead of tormenting yourselves with "what if's," take a moment out to enjoy your child.

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