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Some self-care tips for autism parents

When you have a child with autism, it is important to reach out to them when they need you. In order to do that, parents must focus on self-care. Here are some tips for parents who have children with autism.

When you have a child with autism, care giving is not an easy task. It can bring many challenges. Stressing out and getting exhausted does not help. As parents, it is important to stay calm in order to support your child. There might be many things that bring you down. As much as you support your child, it is also important to know your strengths and weaknesses as a parent.

Sangeetha John's 17 year old daughter Sherin who has autism is a writer who has published her own books. Sangeetha, who is Sherin's strongest pillar of support says that parents must take it easy and not stress out.

Every parent needs a me-time regardless of whether their child has a disability or not. I love the small family trips that we make. I enjoy time reading a book and being myself. All that helps. As human beings, we all have different phases at different times. Change is constant. So understand that and move on-Sangeetha John.

Here are some self-care tips for autism parents

  • Engage in things that you love- Most parents hardly get any time for themselves, whether you have a child with autism or not. But it is very important to follow your passion and engage in things that you love doing. Love watching movies or reading a book? Find time for that. All these can be ideal stress busters too. Children who have autism tend to get angry quite fast or will have mood swings. So in order to reach out to your child, it is important for you to be happy and peaceful.
  • Exercise and eat healthy- Self-care is not just about doing things that you love, but also keeping yourself fit and healthy. There might be days when you feel worn out and exhausted. Working out and even doing basic cardio exercise can be of help. Make sure that you eat healthy food so that your body feels good.
  • Ask for help- Many parents who have a child with a disability might be shy to move out and ask for help. Make a list of things that you need to do and outsource them if needed. This can be cleaning the house or even washing clothes to make things easier for you. If you know another parent who has a child with autism, you can get in touch with them and see how both kids can bond. In the meantime, you can get some time for yourself.
  • Go easy on yourself- When you have a child with autism, you might have to go a little overboard to help them. But understand that every parent does all that for your child. Do not stress out too much. Instead, go with the flow and take things calmly. Trying too hard will only make u worn out and stressed.

Griva Shah, co-founder, Pearl Special Needs Foundation in Ahmedabad has started a respite care programme for parents who have children with disabilities.

"A parent who has a child with special needs have to stay active and vigilant 24 hours a day. This can be tiring. Most of the times, other family members refuse to take care of the child pointing out that they have a disability and hence the parent has to always be there with the child", says Griva Shah.

Also Read: Here is how caregivers can avoid being burned out

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