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Coping Tips for Parents of Children with Autism

If the greater problem is that it's emotionally difficult for you to see other children who are developing typically, that's something you're going to have to come to terms with. I would recommend trying to find a good friend, a family member, a psychologist, a support group, or even your child's therapist to talk to about these feelings. Many parents also report that on-line chat groups can provide a good form of emotional support. In fact, one mother of a child with Asperger's syndrome met another mother on-line whose child was very similar, and not only did they offer support for each other, but they also shared ideas for working through challenges. You need to be able to talk with someone who'll listen and sympathize. Remember that your friends are probably full of admiration for you right now because you are showing strength in dealing with something you've all had little experience in. Enjoy their company and be honest with them, and you'll find yourself grateful to have friends who'll rally around you.

Not surprisingly, depression is common in parents of children with autism. Sometimes it lasts a long time and sometimes just a short time. I have some parents who experienced such depression after their child was diagnosed with autism that their doctor prescribed antidepressants. Once again, I recommend finding someone you can talk to who will help you work through your feelings of sadness. It's natural to be depressed upon hearing that your child has a disability, but if that depression leads to inactivity and withdrawal from society, it will damage you, your marriage, and your children.

One thing that parents have said to me over and over again is that their initial feelings of depression and hopelessness lifted once they plunged into actively seeking interventions for their child. Nothing is more depressing than uncertainty and inactivity. When you start taking the necessary steps to improve your child's symptoms, you'll feel energized and hopeful again. Raising children is always a roller-coaster ride, but a sense of competence and optimism will see you through a lot of the harder times.

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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.


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