Coping and support
Raising a child with autism spectrum disorder can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. These suggestions may help:
- Find a team of trusted professionals. A team, coordinated by your doctor, may include social workers, teachers, therapists, and a case manager or service coordinator. These professionals can help identify and evaluate the resources in your area and explain financial services and state and federal programs for children and adults with disabilities.
- Keep records of visits with service providers. Your child may have visits, evaluations and meetings with many people involved in his or her care. Keep an organized file of these meetings and reports to help you decide about treatment options and monitor progress.
- Learn about the disorder. There are many myths and misconceptions about autism spectrum disorder. Learning the truth can help you better understand your child and his or her attempts to communicate.
- Take time for yourself and other family members. Caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder can put stress on your personal relationships and your family. To avoid burnout, take time out to relax, exercise or enjoy your favorite activities. Try to schedule one-on-one time with your other children and plan date nights with your spouse or partner — even if it's just watching a movie together after the children go to bed.
- Seek out other families of children with autism spectrum disorder. Other families struggling with the challenges of autism spectrum disorder may have useful advice. Some communities have support groups for parents and siblings of children with the disorder.
- Ask your doctor about new technologies and therapies. Researchers continue to explore new approaches to help children with autism spectrum disorder. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on autism spectrum disorders for helpful materials and links to resources.
There's no way to prevent autism spectrum disorder, but there are treatment options. Early diagnosis and intervention is most helpful and can improve behavior, skills and language development. However, intervention is helpful at any age. Though children usually don't outgrow autism spectrum disorder symptoms, they may learn to function well.