Taking care of yourself and maintaining adequate support are essential to well-being, especially for caregivers. Learn to recognize common stressors, practice self-care, maintain supportive relationships and know when to seek help. Professional services are available to assist families, such as support groups, behavioral health services, non-clinical services and parent-mediated programs.
Stress is an ever-present reality for military families, especially those affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), as it affects the entire family. Awareness of these stressors can make these issues easier to bear.
Caring for a child with ASD can be a major financial burden. The cost of deductibles, copays, home safety and repairs, etc. can add up to thousands of extra dollars each year. To help lessen the financial burden, ask others who have experience caring for individuals with ASD (families, doctors or support communities) for tips and best practices to help limit the costs of care.
Daily chores and tasks can also be a major source of stress. The daily tasks of life and maintaining a household, in addition to working full-time are overwhelming for many caregivers. In these situations, being aware of the causes can help minimize the effects.Tips for daily tasks
Caring for a loved one with ASD can be a great source of stress on relationships including couples, siblings, grandparents, etc. Friends and family members sometimes have to restructure their lives and make sacrifices or special accommodations. These experiences can strain the relationship and cause much stress.
Remember that regardless of each person’s contribution, caregiving is difficult. Try your best to see it as a group or team effort and celebrate each other’s contribution and hard work. Feeling appreciated and showing appreciation supports a positive environment. Schedule one-on-one time together. If childcare is a barrier, learn about resources you might be eligible to receive. Encourage open and honest communication so everyone feels heard and that their concerns matter. Protect personal belongings from being damaged or destroyed (locked closet, chest or safe). Accept that frustrations and arguments are a part of every relationship.
A major stressor for parents and caregivers with children with ASD is the future care and well-being of the child. Families may be concerned about what to do when the child turns 18 years old, availability and eligibility of care and treatment, and who will care and provide for the child after they are no longer able.Read more
Safety issues are a significant concern for a child with ASD. Depending on the severity of the child’s condition, they may lack certain skills that would help to determine if a situation is safe. Parents should discuss how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations along with what to do if the situation is unavoidable. Securing a loved one’s safety requires time and planning and being proactive about home and public safety is critical.