I am passionate about the provision of emotional and practical support to the parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and related conditions, as this is something I have personal experience of, and conducted research in this area when undertaking my MA.
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a neurological development disorder, that can affect individuals in their communication and interaction with others. The symptoms may vary from child to child. One child diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism for example may experience a different set of difficulties to another child with the same diagnosis.
From my own experience and during research undertaken for my MA, I found that support for children diagnosed with ASD is of course widely available. However, support for parents of children with ASD is difficult to come by or even non-existent, even though the research indicates that these parents experience more stress than parents of children with any other disability.
It can be tough for a parent to go through the various stages, from first recognizing signs of developmental delay in your child, through to diagnosis and perhaps dealing with the legal system to get the support that you feel is right for your child.
The causes of stress for the mother of a child with ASD is often different to what may cause stress for the father. Having an understanding of these differences, and being able to talk openly about them can be useful in finding ways to cope, as well as prove helpful in preventing breakdown in relationships.
If you are a parent to a child with ASD you may have conflicting thoughts and emotions. These could range from strongly believing that the experience is positive and fulfilling, to maybe feeling isolated or that you are losing your identity in supporting your child, or that your relationship with other family members is affected.
Sometimes, it could be a matter of coming to terms with these changes, and accepting new roles and responsibilities. Being able to talk things through one-to-one with someone who understands how it could be for you in this situation could be beneficial to you during this transition.