The Challenges of Raising a Child With Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. According to the CDC, in 2020, approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Studies also stated that boys are four times more likely to be diagnosed with autism than girls.

Raising children with autism often brings stress and many challenges. Caretakers often need to keep the child from running away, manage meltdowns, advocate for special education needs, avoid sights or sounds that overload senses, and drive to therapists or doctor’s appointments. This is the case with Rosa. A 31-year-old mother self-referred to therapy due to experiencing various depressive symptoms and behaviors, high levels of anxiety, and overwhelming guilt related to her son’s Autism spectrum disorder.

Like Rosa, many mothers of children with ASD, who tend to serve as the child’s case manager and advocate, are less likely to work outside the home and experience higher stress levels. Like many other caretakers of autistic children, these symptoms and behaviors significantly impacted Rosa’s home and community functioning.

Over the course of Rosa’s treatment, Rosa worked closely with her therapist Lilia. They worked on improving her positive coping skills for her to be able to recognize, tolerate and accept emotions related to life stressors. They also improved her communication skills and learned stress-reducing strategies to help better manage triggers to her depressive symptoms and other life stressors. Rosa and her therapist practiced reframing negative thinking patterns and developing more self-awareness, problem-solving, and assertive expression.

Rosa has since been able to advocate for herself and her needs and has formed better and stronger relationships with her family and friends. Rosa credits her therapist for helping her reinforce her strengths and commitment towards eliminating her mental health barriers and overall improvement through modeling, praise, and skill-building. Rosa has embraced her supportive and empathetic relationship with her therapist and continues to become a better version of herself. Building a community of support and trust is vital to help overcome the stress and challenges of raising an autistic child. Therapy and support groups are great tools for parents to find the support and resources needed. If you or someone you know is experiencing challenges like Rosa, reach out for help by scheduling an appointment to meet with a therapist.