It is not easy being the parent of a child with autism. There are joyous moments, of course, but there is no denying that there are also challenges. You constantly worry about your children and fight to provide them with the best physical, mental, and emotional care. In doing so, you may have sacrificed your careers, relationships, or even sunk into debt.
Always remember: You are not alone.
Researchers have tried to understand the strain involved and its effects. They have studied depression, stress, anxiety, and coping in parents such as yourself who have children with special needs. While researching something is not the same as experiencing it, there is no harm in trying to intervene sooner rather than later.
If you could understand what stressors have the most negative impact on your family, wouldn’t you want to be able to address them?
There is a theory known as “The Family Systems Theory” that was first introduced by Dr. Murray Bowen, and it suggests that individuals cannot be understood in insolation from one another. Rather, this theory describes how a family is understood as a whole – as an emotional unit. The idea behind the theory is to illustrate how each member within a family impacts one another. Remaining calm while your child screams does not come easily to anyone. Yet, screaming back will only escalate the situation, spiraling a child further out of control, and further away from you. In other words, by improving child behavior, any parent may become less stressed and better able to manage whatever may come. It is important to note, however, that it is not only the coping skills of parents that need to be addressed. The advancement of better treatments that can improve a child’s functioning will go a long way towards helping both the child and their family.
The rates of children being diagnosed with ASD and other special needs are on the rise. Almost everyone we come in contact with has or knows someone with some sort of disability. This being said, the services for these children are continuously growing and developing into high quality care. This is due to the passion and persistence of parents such as yourselves who demand it from society and the world.
You may be wondering if a life coach may benefit you throughout this process.
It starts with your child. What happens to a child with autism once he or she becomes an adult? Life throws them into a society that is not necessarily designed to meet every individual’s personal needs. Suddenly, the high quality care he or she received at home from you and from the environment disappears. This is where a life coach can step in to make the transition easier on you and your child.
According to a recent survey of parents of children with autism, more than 80% reported that they feel they have been “stretched beyond their limits.”
You have had to take on many responsibilities such as teacher, social worker, advocate, nurse, and more. Do you agree? You worry about the long-term outcomes for your child, the social acceptance of their condition and limited social supports received by parents. Such concerns can be addressed by a life coach.
Many people in the special needs population require support in development by a professional who knows how to effectively communicate and integrate unique learning techniques. The transition to college, choosing a career path, establishing social relationships, starting a family, and becoming a parent are all real-life situations where someone may need support. A Life Coach can be an excellent guide to helping your child by breaking down these monumental life events into small achievable goals – to be taken one step at a time.
Hiring a life coach has been proven to lead to higher levels of self-awareness, increased self-confidence, and lower stress reactions. Here are a few ways in which your whole family can benefit from being coached around the issues you face when raising a child with autism.
Enriched communication and stronger family bonds
Every parent wants the best for his or her child. You hope that they make a life for themselves that brings them joy and fulfillment. Yet, it can be challenging to adjust communication styles as a child transitions from child to teenager to grown-up. It takes even more patience to speak to your son or daughter in an adult manner if developmentally they are still behaving as juveniles.
Having a life coach moves the process along by encouraging and guiding you - the parent - to create a more positive, healthy and mature relationship with your child.
Practical exceptions and acceptance
As a parent, you tend to create an image of your child’s future. You imagine them as a scientist, doctor, or lawyer. Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up in the expectations of what the future will bring. It may be hard to accept that your son or daughter’s path in life may lead them somewhere else entirely. A life coach can help you gain clarity about what the present looks like and steer your expectations to a more realistic state of mind. Letting go of imaginations and focusing on present successes, as well as challenges, creates a more positive outlook that will benefit both you and your child.
Although the path of life may not always be smooth or straightforward, a life coach can ease the transition for your entire family. They can help bridge a gap of potential communication difficulties due to the different way each individual feels, thinks, and learns. Understanding each other’s perspectives will only lead to strong relationships, acceptance and a foundation of trust. Acknowledging the emotional impact of autism will help you prepare for any challenges that may lie ahead. Focus on what your child can do instead of making comparisons with a typically developing child. Appreciate the small victories they achieve and take pride in every accomplishment.
The love and hope that you have for them is probably even stronger than you realize.
You may feel that your child needs you right now more than ever. You also may feel overwhelmed and not even know where to start. Some of you may think “I can’t ask for help. I’m the parent, and I should know how to take care of my own child.” The truth of the matter is that it’s okay to ask for help. There is no single way to cope. It takes time. Every family is unique and deals with stressful situations in their own way. A life coach is simply an option to consider.
They understand the frustrations and difficulties of having a child with autism – there is no need to explain; they get it. You get to choose what you believe is best for your family, so take a deep breath and open up your heart and mind.