Five Ways Single Moms Can Take Care of Their Autistic Child

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In recent years, awareness about mental health has increased exponentially, leading to a destigmatization of issues that were previously hard to talk about. Mental health and developmental disorders affect millions globally and across all age groups. On the surface, the person may seem fine — healthy even. However, internally, they may be struggling more than we could ever imagine.

While many mental health issues can be treated, neurodevelopmental issues are a different ball game. There are several types of neurodevelopmental issues, and autism is one of the most prevalent. This is a lifetime condition, and caring for a child with autism can be a bit of a tricky road to navigate. If you’re a single mom, you’ll have your work cut out for you, even more so than the typical family dealing with autistic children. That said, there are several ways you can make coping easier for yourself and your child. Keep reading below to learn more. 

Opt for specialized therapy 

Caring for a child with autism without any prior information can be hard. Autism is an incredibly complex condition, and you won’t be able to develop the necessary skills on your own. It can manifest differently in all children, and learning how to deal with the triggers alone can be very challenging. 

Specialized therapy is vital if you want your child to be able to develop healthy coping mechanisms. This therapy can help your child adapt to their environment and develop better resilience. Applied behavioral therapy is one of the most effective treatments for autism. ABA therapists can help encourage several desirable behaviors in autistic children and can teach you how to minimize undesirable behaviors too. As a mother, you may ask yourself does ABA therapy work, and the answer is a resounding yes. ABA therapy can make your child’s condition much more manageable and can help you bond better with them too. With time, ABA therapy can help autistic children gain greater functionality. 

Take a break 

Caring for a child is a full-time job, and when you have an autistic child, you’ll have your hands even fuller. There can be multiple things you need to consider to ensure that your child is healthy and happy at all times. Moreover, as a single mum, you’ll have quite a bit of responsibility on your shoulders and very little chance to catch your breath. 

In such a scenario, it’s always important to take a break and recoup. If you’re mentally and physically fatigued, you won’t be able to be as present in your child’s life as you need to be. Ask a trusted family member to step in every once in a while so you get a chance to look after yourself too. Moreover, caring for a child with autism can be emotionally tasking, and speaking to someone about your emotions can be useful. Many mothers experience a great deal of guilt about their parenting skills when dealing with a child with autism. Thus, heading to a therapist can be the best decision for you and your child. 

Set schedules

One of the biggest reasons children with autism can experience distress is if they don’t have schedules. Autistic children can have a hard time adjusting to any newness in their routine, no matter how minute. Things such as a delayed bedtime, new foods, or new people can impact them a lot and can cause them to act out. 

If you want to keep problem behaviors at a minimum, it’s important to give your child a set routine they can follow. The more structure you add to your child’s life, the easier it will be for them to stay stress-free. If there are any changes that you can’t prevent, you should let your child know in advance so that they aren’t caught off guard. This can include informing them of big changes, such as taking a day off from work or school, having guests over, or going out somewhere new, and small changes too, like introducing a new meal. Although it can seem like a hassle, doing so can help keep your child’s anxiety levels low. 

Work at their pace

As a parent, it’s important to consider your child’s capabilities before you set any expectations, and even more so when you have a child on the spectrum. ASD is a vast umbrella, and every child with ASD has different strengths and weaknesses. One of the biggest issues parents of children with ASD have is that they may expect their child to one day function at the same level as neurotypical children. 

This, however, is a faulty way to think and can harm your relationship with your child immensely. Instead of trying to get them to function the same as a neurotypical child, figure out and focus on their strengths. Many children on the autism spectrum have unique talents. Some children with ASD may have Savant syndrome, where they have amazing talent in one area. However, even if your child isn’t a savant, they may still have a penchant for a certain field of interest, without flourishing in other areas. It’s important to recognize their talents without forcing them to excel in areas they aren’t interested in. 

Budget accordingly

When caring for a child with ASD, you may need extra funds than you would normally. There can be a lot of things that can need extra financing if you want to ensure your child is as comfortable and healthy as possible. Every child with ASD has unique needs, and depending on the severity of their condition, you may need to go for specialized treatment. 

Specialized treatment can include speech therapy, occupational therapy, social skills therapy, specialized teaching, and more. You will also need to schedule routine checkups with your doctor and mental health service provider. For a single mum, paying bills for everything alone can be pretty challenging. To fund a better lifestyle for your child, applying for grants or increased child support can be extremely helpful. This way, you can ensure that your child gets all the attention and care they need and can access vital resources easily. 

Conclusion 

Single mothers can have a lot on their shoulders, and you might worry if you’ll be able to provide a child with ASD with the care they need to flourish. Although this condition can require some extra attention to understand, these tips can help you ensure that your child is healthy and happy. These tips can be easy to incorporate into your everyday life and can help your child adjust better as well.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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