Autism Learning Felt, Personal Talk, Stress Factors

The Stress Encountered By Parents Caring For Autistic Kids

Raising a child is stressful but even worse with a child that is autistic. I recall having my eyes on my daughter all the time to prevent her from running away, having to cope with her tantrum and other problem behaviors, preventing her from being exposed to light and sounds that overload her senses, and having to see the pediatrician and therapist several times every week. How will I forget to mention the rambling of the teachers on the special needs of my children?

While a child without ASD will likely sleep at night giving the parent time to also sleep and ease off some of the stress, a good number of autistic children also suffer sleep disorder which leaves the parent sleep-deprived. I went through all that and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down even as my daughter is getting older. 

I used to think that the problem was peculiar to me alone until I found a study that said otherwise. According to researchers, several studies have shown that parents taking care of children with autism experience more stress than parents of normally-developing children.

How The Stress Can Impact On The Life Of Caregiver?

The negative effect of stress on the life of a parent or caregiver taking care of a child with autism does not only impact on the health of the parents or caregivers but also on their social interactions. There was a day I took my daughter to a grocery store. While I was trying to get something from the top shelf she ran off and began to pick stuff and spoil them. 

The shop owner was furious and drew my attention to take care of my child obviously suggesting it was a case of bad parenting. It took me many years (including the help of a psychologist) to live above the negative social reactions and stigma. The psychologist told me that stigma usually increases the stress of parents or caregivers taking care of a child with autism which was one of the reasons I had to fight it. 

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In extreme cases of high stress, mental issues are likely to occur including anxiety and depression.

Stress is bad for the parents because research has shown it has a negative impact on the gastrointestinal system and cardiovascular immunity. In extreme cases of high stress, mental issues are likely to occur including anxiety and depression. I never stopped feeling depressed until I got over the social stigma.

Even more pathetic is the fact that parents taking care of children with autism are so focused on the health and well-being of their children that they hardly pause to think about themselves and their own health. The irony of it all is that when a parent or caregiver is highly stressed, it also affects the child. 

The Psychological Stress Of Caring For Children With Autism

If I am to point out the most psychological torture I had to endure bringing up my daughter, it will be my inability to communicate with her. This alone made me cry and gave me sleepless nights which of course increased my stress level. If there is any chance at improving the symptoms of autism for my daughter, I will surely take it.