Home > School and Learning > Learning Differences > Autism > Coping Tips for Parents of Children with Autism

Coping Tips for Parents of Children with Autism

When a child is diagnosed with a disability, you would expect society to rush in and help. But that doesn't happen. Parents are usually left alone, without support or guidance, to figure the whole thing out. Children with disabilities are excluded from community schools, activities, and social events on a regular basis. In fact, I've been told by some families that their children are even excluded from family gatherings.

It's not surprising, then, that many parents feel alone and isolated when their child gets a diagnosis of autism. Not only can there be very real social exclusion, but there's an emotional isolation as well. Parents feel alone in their grief. They have spent the last few years going on outings and interacting with friends whose children are developing typically, and now they are devastated by the fact that their own child has significant disabilities in a variety of areas.

Rather than continue to socialize as normally as possible, some parents will go out of their way to avoid having to compare their child to their friends' children, frequently declining invitations to parties and outings. The fewer invitations they accept, the fewer their chances to connect with friends and realize they can still enjoy themselves.

Similarly, many parents allow their fears of how their child might act out in public to prevent them from leaving the house. This starts a bad cycle: the child is isolated socially and therefore doesn't learn to behave in social situations; as his behavior in social situations deteriorates, the parents feel even more compelled to stay at home. And so on. Meanwhile, the parents are losing touch with their friends and relatives, and their feelings of emotional isolation increase until they feel truly abandoned.

If your child has behaviors that make it difficult to go out in public, read the chapter in this book on disruptive behaviors and start getting control of the problem behaviors. Try to create as many positive social opportunities as you can, so your child can learn and grow. Meanwhile, find someone to help you out now and then, so you and your spouse can still go out together.

Next: Depression >>

From Overcoming Autism by Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D. and Claire LaZebnik. Copyright © 2004. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here or on the book cover. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


8 Epic Emoji-Themed Crafts, Activities & Recipes
Check out the best emoji crafts, activities, and recipes! They're perfect for an emoji-themed birthday party or anytime you need DIY (and screen-free!) summer activities for kids, tweens, and teens.

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme!

10 Free Summer Learning Worksheets
Print these free printables for preschoolers and kindergarteners to help your child's mind stay sharp until September!

Ready for Kindergarten?
Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks