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Autism Moms Have Stress Similar To Combat Soldiers

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Mothers of adolescents and adults with autism experience chronic stress comparable to combat soldiers and struggle with frequent fatigue and work interruptions, new research finds. These moms also spend significantly more time caregiving than moms of those without disabilities.

Researchers followed a group of moms of adolescents and adults with autism for eight days in a row. Moms were interviewed at the end of each day about their experiences and on four of the days researchers measured the moms’ hormone levels to assess their stress.

They found that a hormone associated with stress was extremely low, consistent with people experiencing chronic stress such as soldiers in combat, the researchers report in one of two studies published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

“This is the physiological residue of daily stress,” says Marsha Mailick Seltzer, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who authored the studies. “The mothers of children with high levels of behavior problems have the most pronounced physiological profile of chronic stress, but the long-term effect on their physical health is not yet known.”

Such hormone levels have been associated with chronic health problems and can affect glucose regulation, immune functioning and mental activity, researchers say.

In a companion study, the researchers followed up with the same group of mothers daily to interview them about how they used their time, their level of fatigue, what leisure activities they participated in and whether or not stressful events occurred. This information was then compared with data from a national sample of mothers whose children do not have disabilities.

Mothers of those with autism reported spending at least two hours more each day caregiving than mothers of children without disabilities. On any given day these moms were also twice as likely to be tired and three times as likely to have experienced a stressful event.

What’s more, these moms were interrupted at work on one out of every four days compared to less than one in 10 days for other moms.

Despite all of this, mothers of an individual with autism were just as likely to have positive experiences each day, volunteer or support their peers as those whose children have no developmental disability, researchers found.

“On a day-to-day basis, the mothers in our study experience more stressful events and have less time for themselves compared to the average American mother,” says Leann Smith, a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who worked on the studies. “We need to find more ways to be supportive of these families.”

In particular, the researchers say that parents need better respite options and flexibility from their employers. Further, they say, programs to help manage behavior problems can go a long way toward improving the situation for mothers and their kids alike.

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Comments (235 Responses)

  1. Ann Hughes says:

    This article is so true. This is my life :) My daughter has high functioning Autism and she is 19 years old. She is happy alot of times, but when confusion and anxiety set in she has alot of physical and mental aggression. I feel so bad for her going through this, because she hates it. She’s exhausted from her “meltdowns”, and it’s also exhausting as Mom to go through. I would love to know of a support group of parents that have similar problems. Please send a list of any support groups in my area (Tomball Texas 77377 or Houston area), or on-line support. Thank you! Ann

  2. Breezy says:

    It’s not just mothers of children with autism that have this severe stress, I am a parent of a child , now adult with cerebral palsy and developmental delay. Lifting, seizures, feeding issues, finding caregivers, getting the equipment needed to keep her safe and caregivers safe while meeting her needs is extreme and is a daily struggle. Having any child with a severe disability is extremely stressful.

  3. Jeanette dakessian says:

    Amen to that!!!! I’m a single mom of a 12 yr old low functioning autistic boy. I also have a 10 year old “typical” girl! I work full time! My son has become aggressive and I’m making calls during breaks to Drs & special Ed director! Stress is an understatement!!! Exhaustion!! Lack of sleep( he wakes up at 5 a.m. Every day ready to go!! )
    On the flip side! He has taught me patience , love & to truly appreciate the small things in life!!! Like making it thru cvs without a meltdown!!! Success!!!!
    I think us moms should be paid to be able to stay at home with our autistic children!!

    Mine is still in pull ups & doesn’t shower without help! Ugh but I love him dearly!!!

  4. Shelley Thomas says:

    This is my reality as well. I have the hormonal imbalances, frequent disruptions at work, etc. However, the light at the end of my tunnel came through my introduction to Partners in Policymaking. It’s a national advocacy training program for those who want to advocate on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. Until then, I felt socially isolated and that no one understood what I was going through. No one in my family had dealt with anything like this and although I am very active in my community, very few people could relate to my experience. Because of my journey, I am beginning a business to help women gain strategies for learning to achieve balance in their lives. Although my business, Selah Retreats, was birthed out of my experience of parenting a child with special needs, I also recognize that most women lack balance in their lives for whatever reason. Therefore, I plan to offer resources and a support network for women to learn how to prioritize our wellbeing and wholeness so that we’re able to be more effective in our other roles as wives, mothers, employees, etc. SELAH.

  5. Amy Martinez says:

    I totally agree. To Jeanette dakessian, there is a program where we get paid to do take care of our kids, but it is not till they are 18. Its called the HCS program and the wait list is 10 years. This program is offered in Texas but I dont know about other states. I got on this program last year and when my son turned 18, they offered it to me and I took it. It is called Foster Care. Basically, your disabled adult lives with you and you get paid to take care of him. It is tax free money. The amount you get paid is depending on what level of need they are on. My son is on the highest level of need because of his aggression. I also have a daughter that is 17 and will be the foster care parent to her once she turns 18 next year. The only downfall to this program is that it doesnt offer respite and you have to use your money that you get from foster to pay other people to do respite for your kids. My son is high functioning autism and my daughter is low functioning autism. As for being able to work, I haven’t been able to cause with me having 2 kids and them having their meltdowns and having seizures, there was no way. I haven’t worked in 6 years.

  6. carrie says:

    good information! been telling my doc this for years, although I think the numbers are a little low. I was called every day for a couple of years by the school or the day care with meltdowns everyday from minor to severe.
    would have loved to participated in this study

  7. BEVERLY says:

    Reading what others have written is so very true. My 12-year old son is autisitc, along with other medical conditions. He suffers with seizures, he sleeps walk, and he is extremely hyper. Being his primary caregiver is hard work. I know all to well about lack of sleep, and feeling alone in this fight for my son. I have a 14-year old daughter, who is an angel, as well as protector of her brother. They have an unbreakable bond that is oh so real. My son has brought a great deal of joy, fullness and love into my family. Although, the fight for him can be at time unbearable, but seeing some process he has made, and hearing these word, : “I love you” or respond back to saying, ” I love you too.” makes all the lack of sleep worth the many nights without much sleeps.

  8. Mary Lucyk says:

    I don’t have any help with my son who is down’s and asd. I am on a 10 yr. waiting list for services such as respite. I have been on this list for 5 yrs. in which time I have suffered alot of stress. My son has also suffered being in the school system undiagnosed for asd. He recently started having siezures due to high stress in the classroom. I really need someone to care about mine and others hopeless situations while waiting on a list.

  9. Eric says:

    I’m a widower, raising my Autistic child completely alone since his Mom died when he was 2. Men aren’t even included in studies like this, we are completely off the charts and also abandoned by the women’s groups who fight for equality, but forget about the men when the men are the “mothers”. These studies need to include both men and women who care for the child solely. Government supported respite services in Illinois have been completely cut off in Chicago where I live.

  10. Helen says:

    I agree with the article. I am a mom of 2 teens diagnosed with Autism. I also have ADD. Balancing services for two, working, and having time to invest in my marriage is a challenge; ensuring I don’t get distracted. Carving time for just me is a struggle. I have a constant feeling of being overwhelmed due to real life. My extended family does not understand because we are the first family to have children with this diagnosis. Luckily, we maintain a great sense of humor. We take the comment “weird” as a compliment. We celebrate the fact that we are all unique and gifted in different ways.

  11. Robin Costello says:

    Ditto to all your comments. My son is now 22 and I’m exhausted, burnt out and I have no idea where my hormones are. Thank goodness my son has stabilized with the medication cocktail and age. My concern now is what will happen to him when I’m gone. We Mom’s understand them best.

  12. Tara Montague says:

    Caregiver stress is the same with any child with special needs, not just when one has a child on the autism spectrum. Why do studies like this tend to segment out our populations instead of including all disabilities? And including dads as primary caregivers as well as moms?

  13. Tara Evans says:

    Yes, being a parent to a child with any disability is extremely stressful. But– “Despite all of this, mothers of an individual with autism were just as likely to have positive experiences each day, volunteer or support their peers as those whose children have no developmental disability, researchers found.” I think this is important to remember. Stress can be overwhelming sometimes, but I always look at it like this :: My son’s disabilities have taught me to live in the moment and appreciate, celebrate and cherish the little things in life. I really do have a lot of stress in my life due to Aaron’s issues, but I have more joy than anything else because of what his disabilities have taught me.

  14. Pen says:

    Was there a control group ie. mothers without autistic children?

  15. Teresa Daniel says:

    It is tough. My son is 14, 15 in January. High functioning as. He also has epilepsy and other disabilities. He has melt downs, and gets very angry. I have serious epilesy and can not drive or work. No hubby, he couldn’t deal with it. I love my son. He is the music in my life. I am so proud of him when he learns something good. He’s my side kick.lol

  16. 20 miles away says:

    may Nancy Lanza rest in peace- her stress is now over. seems like most have forgotten that she was victim # 1 on December 14, 2012. Naturally, I have ALL the victims, young & older, in my prayers & thoughts this week

  17. Nicolena says:

    I am a mother of a 17 years old Autism Son with Panic Disorder and Anxiety. Also Partial Agenesis Corpos Colosum…I understand everyones frustration with the system and how do we as parents help our children when there is no help out there. Medicaid doesn’t help (constantly apealing) DDD doesn’t know anything. And each State is different. My son will be 21 in 5 years and then the stress of having to figure out what services he can get as a adult is stressful enough. Constant Worring is all I do. I currently live in NJ and I am wondering what states out there have the best programs for Children like ours who are becomming adults. ANYONE out there know?

  18. Christine Snyder says:

    Honestly, I think the stress is worse. Because you never get R&R from the worry, and the responsibility doesn’t end.

  19. Marie says:

    It is important to develop a life plan for your disabled children and not expect school or government to offer support or respite. I have three adult children with significant autsim and all have independent lives. I didn’t worry about the “I love you” or if they ever looked at me – I gave them independence, acceptance for who they are and skills to work outside the home. You waste your time waiting for the school district (IEP) or state to provide support. It wasn’t around for me and as our economy stagnates I am sure it will be gone.

  20. Helene Christopher says:

    I have a 21 yr old violent autistic son. I have often said I feel like I am in training for the Special Forces. You just always have to be prepared for the explosion that can occur at completely random times.

  21. Mary Cavanaugh says:

    I can so relate to this. This is why it is so important to treat this early. Unfortunately many Pediatricians who are causing this are not even acknowledging the symptoms when they first occur and treatment is being delayed until the parent goes outside the box.

  22. Ann .J says:

    My son was recently diagnost with mild to moderate autism.
    I was recently diagnost with Adult ADHD. I also suffer with depression any anxiety for years.
    Along with physical problems. The only thing I know to do is pray. Any advise?

  23. Denise Dear says:

    As a mom of adult (twins) young men on the spectrum, I have nothing but praise for those given this task of raising healthy and productive children. My sons’ are currently two courses away from completing their first college degree, and I just recently enrolled in a Masters program. For the last two years, I worked as an 1.1 and 2.1 Inclusion Aide helping teens with autism and other disabilitiesparticipate in sports and other activities through the Park District. Although, I have never experienced rage or agression at home, it can be frightening when all you want to do is help.

  24. Pontus says:

    Really? You can’t even to begin to compare what a combat soldier goes through to that of a mother with a autistic child. Imagine spending your entire waking hours with the threat of getting your head blown off by a sniper, getting blown to bits by an RPG (rocket propelled grenade) or IED (improvised explosive device). This article is a joke. Those parents who feel so stressed out by their autistic child should place them in an institution as these children will never be normal.

  25. Rose says:

    To Pontus:

    Wow! I have never been in combat, but I have a 20 year old autistic son. I’m assuming you have been in combat and you don’t have an autistic son. I would never want to trade places with anyone in combat. However, I believe that what the study is saying is that the cumulative effect of the years of stress on moms with disabled children is the same as the effects of the after-effects of being in combat. In addition, I am assuming that most combat veterans volunteer to be in the armed forces. I didn’t volunteer for this; it’s the hand I was dealt. I didn’t go through basic training; I wasn’t psychologically prepared for how drastically and forever my life would change. I didn’t go into this with a “Rah-Rah attitude”. It’s not what I signed up for. My thanks to all those who serve to keep our nation and others safe. My heart goes out to them; but, it goes out to any parent who is given a disabled child.

  26. Rose says:

    Oh, and even if I wanted to, which I don’t because my son is a joy, those “institutions” to which you refer are few and far between because of budget cuts. I know people who have been on waiting lists for years trying to have their child placed in a group home because they can no longer cope.

  27. Rurh says:

    For all the young mothers with disabled children. Take care of yourself. This is not a concept we are familiar with. I’m now 47yrs old with many health problems.Two autoimmune, seven surgeries in five years, skin cancer, and fibromyalgia. I was extremely active and continue to on a lower level now but the longevity of my child’s disability has done a number on my physical health. So take time to enjoy things whenever you can. Not having the financial support makes thing even more difficult. Hang in there and surround yourself with positive people.

  28. Angie Williams says:

    I have 3 boys all with high functioning ASD. They are 12, 9 and 6. I have been a single mom for a little over two years as my husband of 14 years decidced he didn’t want to be a father or husband anymore. All of their care is my responsibility. There are no Aunts or Uncles or cousins or extended family to provide respite but occasionally my stepmom (who has her own health issues) can watch them for short periods of time or during an emergency. I have been unable to work for 8 years. My oldest was diagnosed when I was pregnant with my 2nd. My 2nd son was diagnosed 4 months before my youngest. At the time I was shocked and overwhelmed. I barely sleep and maybe once or twice a year I get to do something relaxing by myself that is not hurried or on a strict time schedule. I wish I only got a call once every 4 days!!!!!!!! My boys all go to different schools and have different levels of cognitive understanding. There is never enough hours in the day. They are all on medication to reduce their agression and meltdown–which helps tremendously, but not completely. All require speech therapy and occupational therapy. 2 require physical therapy and all need counseling to deal with the abandonment issues of their father disappearing out of their lives. I don’t have a social life and don’t date because I feel it would be unfair to anyone to bring them into our situation as it would be confusing and stressful for the boys. I don’t know about combat, but I know about having to restrain my boys from hurting themselves or others and have watched both my 12 year old and 6 year old being dragged into their respective schools screaming.

    People DO NOT UNDERSTAND! Most people don’t even have the compassion to attempt to understand. I did not plan for this. I worked all my life until December 2004 when I had to leave my job due to missing too many days to take care of my 2 young boys at the time. I have 2 BA degrees and 3 minors. I also have some post-bac work. I would love to go back to school to get my Master’s degree, but that is not possible at this time.

    I love my boys and they are so loving and protective of each other and their mom. I just don’t know what the future holds for them in this world. It has been 9 years since my oldest was diagnosed and there is still very little information on genetics, or information on where this life crippling neurological disorder comes from or how to prevent it. I have similiar symptoms to PTSD due to the years of sleep deprivation, noise level (one of my boys is a screamer), and frantic schedule of driving all 3 to and from 3 different schools every day. I would not trade my children for anything, but I sure would like to trade the mean, heartless and cruel people who think that ASD kids can control their outburst by yelling at them or hitting them. I would love anyone who thinks that it’s a joke or not real to come and watch my boys for the weekend—I don’t think many people could last a day!

  29. Jennifer Frank says:

    I have heard of this before but I just don’t seem to able to equate my level of stress with that of PTSD or what a soldier goes through. This is basically all I know because my son has been like this from day 1. We have a good days and most of the time, it’s a constant battle trying to get my 13 year old to do what he’s supposed to do: his list of chores in order to earn his computer time or TV time or DS time. The plan is going well ( sort of ) but I just can’t agree with the statement that moms of kids with autism have the same kind of PTSD as a soldier. Sorry. I am a single mom and dad isn’t around or interested in helping out with the new system we have at home so I’m doing most of this stuff on my own. I will admit that at the end of the day, I turn into Bitch-Mom because I am tired from working and then going to the gym or out for a run and then taking care of the kiddos. Having a hubby to help out with that would be great but I’m not sure I can give up any control of my household. Where are the “cabana boys” when you need them? ;-)

  30. Jennifer Frank says:

    Anna Martinez: There is no such thing as tax FREE anything! I have a son with autism and a daughter who does not. I am single AND I WORK! If you are an able bodied woman with both kids in school, you can also work! I get so angry when I see all these women just throw in the towel to get government money, which should NEVER be taken unless you absolutely need it, so they can sit at home all day. If I were to do that, I would go insane. I thank GOD for my job because it’s allowing me to be able to leave the house every day and be with other adults. I am in Texas, too, and I don’t know of any “foster” program that allows you to stay home and get paid for it. And don’t tell me I don’t understand because I DO understand what it’s like to have a child like yours – I have one. It’s one thing if you are destitute and you, yourself, have disabilities of your own, but it’s quite another to rely on the government and MY tax dollars when you are a healthy, strong and relatively young person. Even when I started out being single, I have never been able to get assistance for anything, however, the last thing I ever want to be is dependent on the government to help raise my kids. If you can – and this goes for all of you – GET OUT AND WORK! Not just because it’s better to but because you SHOULD in order to keep you from going stir-crazy in the house all day. It gives you peace of mind that you can have a job, have that adult interaction and to give you the self-worth you need to keep going every single day. I cannot imagine rolling over and letting government provide every little thing just because I have a kid with autism. Keep letting autism run your life and you will never have a life. just my honest opinion….

  31. Jennifer Frank says:

    Pontus – why are you on this board? Do you have a child with autism? I don’t agree with the PTSD thing, either, but how dare you tell us to put our kids in an institution since they will never be “normal”. Can you define normal? Do you realize how many people are not normal in this world? Should we put them in an institution as well? Your advice is severely lacking in a “normal” train of thought. When you work with these kids, it is possible to get them to live semi-independent lives as long as someone can check on them and help with their finances. Thousands of our kids hold jobs, take care of their environments and live a happy existence in their own space not bothering anyone, least of all you. Before you advise others on what to do with their kids, walk a mile in their shoes first. Try to understand what autism is and that these kids are pretty typical on most levels except socializing and comprehension. The only time anyone should be institutionalized is when they become a threat to themselves, their caregivers or society in general and there is no other alternative and if we relied on those things alone for instiutionalization, half of this world would be in one. Do some research. Until then, keep your mouth shut.

  32. lisa mace says:

    what about the fathers too ????

  33. Ana says:

    What about the autistic people themselves? What kind of stress do you think WE feel?

  34. Rose says:

    @Jennifer Franik, with all due respect, I did not throw in the towel, nor do I receive government assistance. In the area where I live, I have tried, but cannot find a job or if I do, I cannot keep it due to the amount of time I have to take off of work to attend to doctors’ appointments and whatnot. In addition, my son does go to school, but he is off the bus at 2:45 p.m. Do you know anyone who is willing to sit with a 6’2, 230 lb. autistic until I get home? I don’t; I have tried to find someone, but nobody will. My son has aged out of his after-school program. I commend you for being able to work. I wish I could. Even if I could find a job working around my son’s school days, there aren’t too many jobs out there that will let me take his winter break off, or take his spring break off, or the two weeks between the regular school year and the summer session, or the two weeks after the summer session. We won’t even mention the many school holidays when offices are not closed. Let’s not paint everyone with the same brush. We live on my husband’s salary and I have a daughter in college. We could use a second income.

  35. Sunkiree says:

    Informative article. I agree that parents of children with autissm is really stressful. I think we need to provide the support they require and applaud them to persevere for learning to occur.

  36. J. Carpinteyro says:

    Wow! It’s nice to know that they recognize how us parents of disabilities are stressed out. I’m always curious what others think about me. I have 5 kids both boys on ASD (1 mild & m/s) & a daughter with neuro-cardiogenic syncope. This is exhausting. I was laid off after 10 1/2 years as an accountant. Can’t find a job that is as compassionate as my last company. My almost 18 year old daughter (neuro-cardiogenic syncope) can’t be left by herself & my almost 17 year old son (m/s autism) can’t either. My 10 year old with mild ASD is doing great. He cant be left alone but he still has time to mature. My 12 year old and 19 year old daughters are so very helpful with my other children. I don’t know what I would do without them. My husband of 20 years is very helpful when he knows I need a break. Lol. I believe disablities is stressful on the whole family even those that are with disabilities, too. I enjoy working, it was my respite and helped us financially. I believe the more positive you are, greater things are to come. Good luck to all those affected by ASD & other disabilities. I’m a mom with Moms EmpoweringMoms group. If you are interested in joining us. Please go to Facebook page for more info. :-)

  37. G Vallis says:

    I think it is entirely disruptive for people to judge one another on this board. Autism is difficult for those who have it, and it is difficult for those who care for them. Resources are slim. Everyone pays-parents, the government, and our children. For most autistics and their caretakers, we simply can’t try any harder, and we’re hurting physically and emotionally. Nobody should be forced to give up a child they love to an institution-and many of those we mothers AND fathers love will be functionally children all of their lives. Of all the things that we, as parents, and they, as people with this disorder, need the most, it is just a little compassion from those around us. It is so easy to be cruel, and takes so little time to offer a kindness–a smile or acknowledgement alone can say that you understand that those with autism, and those who care for them, are not outcasts, but people who are worthwhile, and who belong, and who you know struggle. It goes a long way, and that is one that costs so little.

  38. sdk says:

    Those of us parents with disabled kids suffering from such disorders as TBI, or mental illness have a similar profile to parents of autistic children. This PTSD is not specific to only mothers of children with autism. We have been involved in coping and advocating for our disabled kids before mothers of autistic children came onto the scene. Now they have the same difficulties we have had to experience for years without the “spotlight of autism”. No, the disablities do not dissolve when they get older, it just changes in complexity and duration as well as expense. Welcome to the club!

  39. leona says:

    i have two disabled adult children and one of my chldren has autism.yes i am very stressed because this world is so unfair and judgemental. i am afraid for my children’s life becuase this country is so barbaric their is no oder and no compassion.no is to be trusted vas far as iam concerned the police,judeges the politicans,doctors. i trust no one because once you put yourself out their you are going to get hurt.i to get some help so i can go on vacation i have not had a vacation since my ywo children were born.i wish there was away i can obtain some extra money or even win a prise so i can get some type of relaxation and me time, i need to get away i feel like iam going to lose my mind i always tired and depressed.

  40. t keller says:

    siblings of autistics have as much, or more, stress than the parents do.

  41. Tina Acevedo says:

    RIGHT ON…..

  42. angela garia says:

    Yes i agree, a mother with a child with any disability is very hard and stressfull, I am a mother to an 11year old boy who has autism, We have many good moments but there is always worries in the back of my head for the present and the future.

  43. Bjorn Luminaire says:

    When my longterm partner was diagnosed with ASD it felt like my entire world had been turned upside down. On one hand it was a relief for both of us to finally understand what they’ve been enduring since birth & in another way, my entire relationship with them was immediately plunged into what felt like Twilight Zone. What caused me the most stress was being forced by choice & out of love, to un-learn NT ( I believe I’m on the spectrum also, although undiagnosed) ways to respond to an ASD person’s way of being. I believe the duration of stress we feel is in direct proportion to the length of time it takes us to transition, accept, & begin to integrate methods of communication with our ASD person in a way that’s suitable for them. The real secret is love & resisting assumptions, know eventually the stress does subside & one day you’ll feel as though you’re in open calm waters, finally, there’ll be rough days, even an occasional storm but they’ll not last as long as you once remembered. I just wanted to share this & say I understand, you must know you’re not alone.

  44. Avril says:

    I am a mom of a child with ASD but as hectic as things can get I would never compair it to the stress levels seen in combat. I pearsonally think that is not a fair representation & takes away from what our men & woman do & face. Am I being shot at? Hell no! Is someone trying to kill me? Not a chance. Am I watching ppl I love die all around me? Not even close. I’m back home with my kids safe & sound dealing with each situation that comes my way. But it’s how you deal that matters I guess.

  45. Clare Dickens says:

    I have 2 special needs children,+ have been thinking it would be great to start a respite trade program with other moms, No Money involved, Just trading respite/ Parents that know what you are dealing with and how to deal with issues . I have had no respite in years and I’m sure there are lots of parents like us! I live in Council Bluffs Ia. and have 11 year old and 12 yr. old boys.

  46. Karen B says:

    I have one son who is in combat and another son with severe Autism (non-verbal, violent, incontinent, melt-downs, seizures, on Ketogenic diet, other severe health issues, etc.).

    My son in combat has it rough. But he gets leave where he can put his feet up and relax and head to the beach and catch some waves. He’s signed up for 6 years — it was his decision — and when his 6 years are done, he can continue, or he can go on to something else. I can’t.

    Parents with autistic kids never get leave. It’s 24/7 every day of the month, every month of the year. There’s no 4 or 6 years of duty, and then you’re done. It goes on for a lifetime. While the combat soldiers are moving on with thier new careers, going on vacation, enjoying retirement, guess what we get to do? We’re still changing diapers, fending off attacks (sometimes in the middle of the night), cooking special meals, washing the bed linens for the 4th time in a week, running our child to the doctor’s office, to the neurologist, the behaviioral specialist, the speech therapist. We’re fighting for meaningful IEPs, fighting for respite, fighting for a spot in a group home while we’re dealing with our own age-related illnesses. Our options even for a simple meal out are limited to places that wil tolerate our son making wierd noises, throwing chairs over, etc.

  47. Dale says:

    This does not surprise me. Imagine how it feels being a parent with autism caring for child with autism. Exhausting!

  48. Krishnaprasad Acharya says:

    One animal on earth suffering from stress and anxiety is man. Why? The simple answer is we are thinking, analyzing and interpreting irrationally. To be a rational thinker is best and simple medicine. It is possible by doing meditation and other relaxation techniques. It needs few minutes in a day, but its result is far better than modern medicines like anti-depression pills and tranquilizers.

  49. Marilyn says:

    Ann, Your life appears to be my own. Our daughter, almost 23, and us are living it too. My health is failing fast. I am afraid I won’t be around to take care of her. She needs me. It’s so frustrating. We live in a tiny town (350) with little to no assistance. No groups. Not one person in our church even take time with her. My heart breaks for her, not me. Praying for miracles for us all.

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