Coping and support

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Raising a child with autism can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining. These suggestions may help:

  • Find a team of trusted professionals. You'll need to make important decisions about your child's education and treatment. A team, coordinated by your doctor, may include social workers, teachers and therapists, who can help look at and explain the resources in your area. Make certain this team includes a case manager or service coordinator, who can help access financial services and government programs.
  • Take time for yourself and other family members. Caring for a child with autism can be a round-the-clock job that puts stress on your personal relationships and your whole 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. Other families struggling with the challenges of autism may have useful advice. Many communities have support groups for parents and siblings of children with autism.
  • Learn about the disorder. There are many myths and misconceptions about autism. Learning the truth can help you better understand your child and his or her attempts to communicate. With time, you'll likely be rewarded by seeing your child grow and learn and even show affection — in his or her own way.
  • Keep organized records of visits and evaluations 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.
  • Stay current on new technologies and therapies. Researchers continue to explore new approaches to help children with autism. See the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website on autism and autism spectrum disorders for helpful materials and links to resources on autism.
Oct. 06, 2012