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Parenting an Autistic Child

Updated on May 10, 2023
L. Childree profile image

Laurie is the single mother of an autistic child. She knows the challenges first hand.

Wake Up Call

Four words will change your life.

"Your child is autistic."

How much and how you cope with the changes is entirely up to you. Finding a place of peace and acceptance takes time.

The Beginning

Autism is time consuming and painful to deal with in the beginning. It takes time to learn coping skills and develop a routine that works. Having a child diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder never occurs to anyone.

Not Alone

The number of diagnoses are increasing with increased knowledge. Education about autism is important to progress. The stress of dealing with Autism can be overwhelming as a parent.

Important Points

  1. Those caring for Autistic children often get so caught up in the day to day needs of their child that they neglect their own care. Doctors visits, therapy appointments, school and daily life can make even the most loving and devoted care givers can begin to feel the pressures of enormous responsibility and need a break.
  2. Finding someone that you trust to care for your Autistic child can be difficult. Family members can sometimes cause trouble unintentionally if you do not make yourself clear with them from the beginning as to the child's schedules and rules. You will also have to make it extremely clear just how important it is that these be followed.
  3. There is still a lack of understanding when it comes to Autism and it requires patience to answer the questions when they out number the amount of available answers.

Helping Parents and Caregivers

There are support groups available to caregivers of those with autism. Talking to parents of other autistic children is a good resource for those who are in need of support.

The ignorance surrounding autism is abundant. There are those who will say things without the slightest knowledge of the disorder that will infuriate you. It is important to remember that it is an opportunity to educate them.

There are some things that everyone can do to assist the parents of autistic children.

  • Educate yourself about autism
  • Ask questions instead of making assumptions
  • Offer to help even if it's just staying offering to watch someone's child so they can take a nap.

Expenses Associated With Autism

  • Therapy
  • Educational Tools
  • Home therapy tools
  • Tutors

Therapy schedule for a single day
Therapy schedule for a single day | Source
Inexpensive learning materials.
Inexpensive learning materials. | Source


Therapies for autism are expensive, not all of them are covered by insurance meaning that you have to pay out of pocket. The amount of the therapy covered and which therapy is covered can vary by insurance provider.

Autism Spectrum Disorders are considered to be a disability so they can benefit from parents applying for SSI to assist in covering the costs of the therapies that can help them to succeed later in life.


There are massive changes that come with having an autistic child. The area of Autism Spectrum Disorders is a specialty, not many are familiar with it. Autism is just a word to some people, and the misconceptions are vast.

  1. Family and friends have to be made aware of the diagnosis. There will also come a time when you have to sit them down and make the situation clear to them, unfortunately there is still an abundance of ignorance when it comes to autism and no one is immune. While you are giving them the news you have to remember that not everyone is willing to learn about things they do not understand and you can not force them to educate themselves.
  • You have to accept the diagnosis and so do they. Your acceptance will sometimes make it easier for those around you to accept although there is a chance they might not and that will have to be dealt with as well.
  • Schedules and finances have to be rearranged to allow you the maximum benefit from the time your child receives learning in a one on one setting.
  • You are not alone there is support available to you. It might take you some time and patience to find it but it is there.


Accepting the Diagnosis means getting on with your life. There is no correct way to deal with the fact that your child has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. The severity of the symptoms and the individuals involved will aid in dictating how long it takes and how well you accept the diagnosis for your child.

There are going to be new things encountered such as doctors you may not have seen before, supplements and therapy sessions. The way that you typically do things might change to cope with your new circumstances but there will come a time that you are comfortable with your routine. Life will begin to happen again with a new normal for you. Often parents will find that they adjust to the new lifestyle faster than those around them who may take a while to stop making those remarks that they do not realize are offensive.

You have to ensure that you get enough rest to avoid suffering from exhaustion. Being well rested can help you to maintain your health so that you can help your Autistic child succeed.


Regaining Control of Your Life. Along with an Autism Spectrum diagnosis for your child comes an increase in expenses, there will also be people that try to tell you what you should or shouldn't do at every turn. You have to step back and breathe in order to know exactly which ones are actually attempting to help you and which ones are trying to take over for the sake of taking over.

Reality- Autism is not curable but it is not fatal either so count your blessings. There is always going to be someone that does not understand since Autism Spectrum Disorders are specialty areas and specialists are few and far between. You have to be proactive and research for yourself instead of relying on what you are told because in the end it is up to you to decide what is best for your child regardless of anyone else's opinions.

© 2011 Laurie Childree


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