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Why Autism Moms Earn Less

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A new study shows that mothers of children with autism earn 56 percent less on average than moms with typically developing kids, but the reason why might come as a surprise.

Rather than difficulties related to the autism diagnosis itself, researchers behind the new study say they believe the lack of support available for kids with autism — even as compared to those who have other types of disabilities — is likely the reason behind the stark income disparities uncovered.

For the study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, researchers analyzed data from a national government survey of families of nearly 70,000 kids including 261 with autism and 2,921 with other health limitations.

They found that while mothers of children with autism were likely to be older and more educated than other moms, these parents consistently earned less money. Even as compared to mothers of kids with other health limitations, moms dealing with autism took home 35 percent less, the study found.

Overall, the toll was significant, with families that included a child with autism taking in 28 percent less income on average than families with typically developing kids.

“It’s really just a hit in income,” says David Mandell of the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia who served as the study’s senior author. “I expected just from interacting with so many families with autism that we would have mothers leaving the workplace, but I did not expect the income difference.”

Interestingly, Mandell points out that mothers of kids with autism are only 6 percent less likely to be employed, but the dramatic disparity in earnings resulted from these moms working in lower wage jobs or working fewer hours. He believes the trends are due to the demands placed on parents when the treatment approach for their child is unclear.

“Raising a child with a disability is hard, but for children with many disabilities there’s a clear system. For kids with autism there’s a lot less known about what they should get and there’s a lot of disagreement about who should provide it,” Mandell said.

As a result, parents spend significant time negotiating for services and carting their children to a variety of providers which limits the time they can devote to work, he said.

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Comments (33 Responses)

  1. Marjorie Madfis says:

    Yes, I am certain that I earn less than people with my experience, skills, and expertise (30 years in marketing with 16 in interactive marketing) because I “chose” to not pursue opportunities including management due to my need to put time into becoming educated and advocating for my child, because I have not family support for me to travel on business, and because need to spend see first hand what is going on with my child who is now 16.

  2. Kelly says:

    I really think that there needs to be a look at severity of disability rather than comparing other health limitations (which could include those whose disability is managed by medication alone) to families of children with Autism. I am not sure this would be easy with the study as is. My guess is that given families of children with what would be considered more severe disabilities there wouldn’t be as much of a disparity among family income. My family cannot have two parents working full time because of the needs of our daughter who does not have Autism. I also have a lower income than I could because I have traded that for flexibility in hours, need for extended time off for unexpected hospitalizations etc. What I am trying to say is that it is not so much the name of the disability as the severity of the disability that is the cause of the lower income. I wish we could stop trying to make it seem that families with Autism are so much worse off than families with other significant disabilities. I do appreciate the raising of the issues all the same but it is not specific to any one disability.

  3. Thomas Charles Wood says:

    Interesting statistical correlation.
    It should be noted too, that adults with Autism, including Asperger’s Syndrome “earn” far less than their non-disabled peers, if they are even in the workplace @ all, “negating” any & all “progress” made towards persons with Autism becoming “functional” adults in society.

  4. Martha says:

    My son does not have autism but has multiple severe disabilities including quadriplegia and epilepsy. I earn approximately 50% of what my former college peers now earn. I agree with Kelly that severity of the disability and not the particular type of disability affects how long the mother was out of the workforce, requires a job with flexibility, etc.

  5. robert says:

    i knew this a long time ago , when my husband had to take a lesser job , just to be there incase my son had a melt down , all the doctors appt. you have to go to , all the over time you cant take cause you have to take care of them 24/7 even when there are adults , just finding a job that fits into that time frame there are in school is nuts , and when they are adults guess what no school , All the sleep you lose at nite cause your son wth autism loves to stay up all nite , so we are not like other family one adult has to take on many jobs and the other is caregiver all this is not by choose like in the 70s, There is no way to get ahead you are just getting by , all the dreams you had are gone , your a caretaker now , it makes me so mad love my kids , system stinks

  6. WIll B. says:

    As a single father of an autistic 3 year old boy who is with me full time, I am also making much less than 56% of what I had been earning before his diagnosis. After 20 years in an industry that demanded significant amounts of my time and ability to travel I now have to have a job where I work from home that has far less earning potential and constantly feels at risk of loss because I need to spend so much of my time in therapies for my son, parenting a challenging child who rejects child care providers, and of course he is only in preschool so have only a few hours a day where I am actually able to get any work done. Parenting an autistic child is challenging FOR MOMS & DADS ALIKE, for sure!

  7. hdemic says:

    Good grief,
    I am alittle tired of the word autism. Any mother of a severe special needs child earns less. and every child now adays is diagnosed with autism or autism spectrum or sensory something or other another. Articles like these just takes away from parents who have a severely disabled child. The word autism has been rode into the ground. How about writing about schools not doing thier jobs. Or SSI giving to people with alittle back pain or bad marriage. or the so called anxiety disorder. One person I know is on disability because he can’t stand being around people. He was stating this at a get together with a beer in his hand. How about getting daycare to kids and adults with real disabilitys so parents can still work. We would still be glad to pay. How abouth that?
    sincerely,
    mother with a severely non autistic handicapped child who is thinking of adding the work autism to diagnosis to jump on the band wagon. ha ha

  8. Sylvia says:

    The problem is if your child has behaviors that are not controllable not anyone understands who are you going to leave him or her with that knows how to handle the child’s uniqueness, therefore mom’s stay home because they can’t find adequate child care. Also there are not many activities for kids with autism the few that do exist are not always accesible. Private places do not have to include your children and then alot of autistic children tend to be social ostercized when among their neurotypical peers. I can comment as I have a 21 year old and have lived many of these problems.

  9. Andrea says:

    I certainly earn less. Im a nurse, a single mom and currently back in school persuing my Masters degree to become a behaviorist. I have recently had my hours cut because I have to make phone calls and answer emails on my breaks to the MANY members of my son’s team. Seems really unfair that women get extra time to breast pump when these appointments are every bit as detrimental to my child’s well being.

  10. robert says:

    i dont think we should be fighting over that fact , that the study was done on autism , to even live with a adult or child with autism is very hard , i work with lots of very sick children and many that have feeding tubes and wheel chairs , blind etc. , why is it always autism cause autism is new i guess and lots of the safety nets havent been put in place yet , like the children in wheel chairs come in with nurses same with the child with feeding tubes which they should , lots of there parents work , if you have a child with autism a nurse is not going to help , they dont have a childrens hospital to take care of children with autism , there is no back up plan the state doesnt have one so it falls on the parents , other families members will not watch them for you unless they are not that bad , there also mental places that will take people but they dont take autism not unless there is no place they can go , to the woman who wrote why an autism study , why not , if your child is very sick we would want you to get the help you would need and we would want you to be able to work aswell

  11. Paige Lavery says:

    Unfortunately its not only moms of Autistic children, but also moms with developmentally disabled children too!

    Paige

  12. susie says:

    my son has autism and he is 22 and it makes me really mad when you are wishing you could add autism to the list of things that is wrong with your child , please go right ahead maybe one day you may great your wish a family member might have it for you this is for , ill pray on it tonight !!!!

  13. hdemic says:

    My pont is a severely disabled child is a severely disabled child. The so called labeling doesn;t matter. My child doesn’t get a nurse or an aid. i pay out of pocket for the privilage of working part time. she is going on 18. She will now have 0 income. She has always had 0 income. I will still pay. There are severly autistic people and there are people on the autistic spectrum. Schools will always have a problem having any program in place when we know there are many good programs. My child is home schooled. My child is very cerebral palsy and total care. There are no safety nets for anyone unless you allready have lots of money. the laws are backwards. They can write as many articles as you want but if nothing ever is implemented these articles mean nothing. Its something we all ready know. If the gov’t wants are taxes than let us work. I have the oppurtunity to work as much as I want but I don’t nor can I afford caretakers that don’t exist anyways. I am not comparing kids here I just saying it doesn;t matter in the end. thats my venting for now. PS I work in a hospital.
    Sincerely,
    mom of a disabled child

  14. Barb says:

    I agree that Autism and any sudies around it are getting too much attention. As the mom to two young adults with developmental disabilities (one with Autism and one with Down syndrome) it is very frustrating to read these studies when they leave out other children/adults with disabilties as severe or more severe than Autism. I have gone from being able to work full time until the boys were no longer eligible for child care (age 12) to a part-time job following the school year (earning half of what I had been earning working full-time) until almost 2 years ago when my job was eliminated due to state and federal budget cuts. There is NO adult aged (or over age 12 day care) support available like there is child care. Trying to find a job that will allow me to work from 9 am – 2 pm while my guys are in school/day program has been laughable. Add to that the issue of what to do with them during school breaks and employers won’t even give you a chance to show how good you could be at the job. I am at the point where I feel that going to college was a waste of time and money. Some of you might say, well there are always group homes. Here in New York State I believe the waiting list for group home placement is 1600 people and there is a no build policy in effect. Can’t even get Respite services on a consistent basis. Haven’t had Respite in 6 weeks, even though we are scheduled for 3 hours a week. Yep, lack of support.

  15. Robin Hansen says:

    This is not only true for autistic kids it is also true for kids with learning disabilities. Parents of children with LD’s spend enormous amounts (at it has been research documented) of time on homework and money on tutoring just so their kids can try to keep up in class, All though kids with LD’s seem the most neurotypical , they are far more likely to end up incarcerated than other children with disabilities because they are perceived as “normal”. The fact is most who do not get tons on intervention by their parents graduate from high school illiterate and unable to make a living which can lead to substance abuse and worse. I am a parent of both a high functioning autistic and a child with LD’s and over all, my child with LD’s took way more of my time time while he was in a public school. Once I litigated his placement into a special needs school, then our life became much more normal. I spent more time litigating for the autistic child but his placement in a special school was also the best solution for all of us. Yes they are now both in college.

  16. annie says:

    I’m getting so tired of all other disabilities being paled in comparison to autism in all of these studies. My son has a severe developmental disability. He’s non-verbal for life, violent, severely ADHD, has physical disabilities and intellectual disabilities, food allergies etc. etc. Of COURSE I don’t work, I have zero access to a nurse or any other such public support, we also can’t access (unless through private pay means) behavioral therapy because he isn’t labeled as Autistic. Severe developmental disabilities are financially devastating no matter what the label because they require a full time job’s worth of paperwork, therapies, meetings, doctors, specialists, assistance with self-care, and emergency phone calls from teachers in the middle of the day. If parents are really thinking that kids who don’t have autism but have significant disabilities are running around with special private nurses all day, you are sorely mistaken. My son is on a 6 year wait-list for a program that he is joined in by children with autism, that will provide some respite and medical care, yet there is also an additional fund separate from that that is only for children with autism with a one year waiting list, so technically where I live, it would be the opposite of many of the statements here as far as the availability and disbursement of funds and resources… What it really comes down to is that there isn’t enough resources for ANY family significantly affected by a disability, and our efficiency obsessed society can’t deal with hiring a parent that is going to need to take sudden breaks for emergencies other parents would never dream of having.

  17. Thomas Charles Wood says:

    Whether Autism or another severe disability, parents earn less, due to needing to be there to care for & advocate for their severely disabled children.
    Employers have no sympathy for employees whose children have disabilities.
    The same is true for us adults living with Autism & in my case, also living with Cerebral Palsy.
    Employers do not want anything to do with us.
    Sad, but true.

  18. Vikki Stefans says:

    I’m a pedi rehab doc and I was not suprised to read this. I see some kids with both autism and physical disability, and even with severe physical disability, the stresses of autism seem to be the greater burden, both for the child and the caregivers. The inability to handle “normal” sensory stimuli causes a terrific amount of suffering that most of us “neurotypical” people cannot imagine. The demands of caring for the children who need full-time one on one supervision to prevent injurious behavior, AND sleep poorly on top of that are astonishing. This is not to downplay how hard it can be to provide total care to a fully physically dependent child – even one who happens to be sweet-natured and is generally a ray of sunshine, or at least not as demanding of full attention at every moment – its tough; it can be very tough in cases where a high degree of medical instability is added to that in particular. But the world of autism can be much more stressful and demanding even than that. Within the spectrum of autistic disorders is a huge variation in functioning and behavior, so I would not even mean to imply that EVERY child with this diagnosis is that much harder to care for, I’m just saying that commonly the physical diabilities are the lesser of the problems that most families with a combination of special needs actually face.

  19. dmmcc says:

    first, @hdemic, a couple of points. The number of people seeking a non-present autism diagnosis is about the same as people seeking a false cancer diagnosis. Autism affects one out of 110 children. CP one out of 303, Downs Syndrome one out of 1000. It is drastically prevalent and this obviously forces skepticism in society. I think that a parent with a severely disable child might feel the way you do, because perhaps you feel that this article disvalues the intense struggles and challenges that ANY family dealing with disability face… However, autism has several struggles that aren’t common with other disabilities. One is dealing with people like you that actually scoff at the realities people like me face. Another is the fact that my child is affected invisibly, meaning, it isn’t readily apparent by looking at her that she is disabled. She can have better days, and fool someone for about 5-10 minutes, and bad days where there is no fooling. Try to imagine how frustrating that is, in dealing with the public. Lastly, I want to say, shame on you for your selfish and heartless words. As a mother to a child with a disability, you should have more compassion and understanding for parents dealing with this at times HORRIBLE challenge. It is discouraging and divisive. Give me your address, I’ll mail you a pair of my shoes, and you can see how you feel after a few weeks.

    To everyone else, what can potentially make autism a little harder at this point is 1)lack of insurance coverage for treatment in many states 2)lack of firm/stable treatment opinions from professionals 3)the looming HEAVY burden of having this mythical “developmental window” in which if a parent does everything perfectly, maybe their child won’t end up ‘so fucked up’ (and if they dont do it perfectly, then perhaps it’s all ‘their fault) 4)lack of respite 5)behavioral problems that (from my experience within a school district) that tend to cause more interference (phone calls, pick ups, escapes, etc) than other disabilities. My two cents, thanks for reading.

  20. neiko says:

    I am really sad that we parents are fighting each other over labels. We should be praying for one another, supporting each other, and fighting for coverage/services for all whith special needs & for those who are thir caregivers.

  21. Deidra Hicks says:

    I agree this could and does apply to most disabled children and their parents, but the comments about there severly disabled child (who does not have autism is just a tad too critical) if you spent enough time around a child with autism or even some of the sensory processing disorders then you would see that is also a critical. My son has Sensory Processing Disorder (mild autism in laymans terms) and is it very limiting to his life in general, he also has other “CRITICAL” diagnosis like a brain tumor. I don’t think this or any other article was written to lessen the load any other parent of any type of disabled child is going through they are just addressing one issue that has come up. Who knows enough of these types of articles no matter the type of disibility and maybe employers and goverment agencies will listen and start helping us (who are struggling financially) as a result of a disabled child or adult.

  22. aajai21 says:

    Just a few things, I first of all can’t imagine having a child who is autistic and the stress it must place on a parent, I can however share this, Down Syndrome actually affects 1 in 700. It receives less funding for research than any other disability even though it is the most common chromosomal abnormality. It is a multi-system disability, which means in a school system, it can’t be used as an actual label because it is too broad to mean anything to educators. I have done broad studies on autism due to the fact that I at one point thought my sons might have a dual diagnosis to learn that there are some similarities that can be shared by all cognitive impairments. Down Syndrome children can have issues with every body system, neuro included and all people with Down Syndrome will eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease if they manage to live long enough. The youngest person with Down Syndrome shown to already have an early onset development of Alzheimer’s was 2 years old. Children with Down Syndrome are at a high risk for issues, with vision, hearing, Celiac’s disease, hirschsprung’s disease, 50% are born with heart problems, allergies, gastric issues, Leukemia, sensory disorders, skeletal formation, speech delays, mild to severe cognitive impairment and many, many, other things. My son has a dietitian; Primary Care Physician; Asthma, Allergy and Immunologist; Cardiologist; ENT; Gastroenterologist; Ophthalmologist; Low Vision Specialist; Physical Therapist; Occupational Therapist; Speech & Language Therapist; Occupational Therapist with specialized training in alternative treatments for sensory and peripheral sensitivities and a whole other list of people from school who are also part of his team, the list above are for what we have paid for privately. We studied sign language because we had no idea if our son would be verbal at all. Also, do to my ethnic background, some people are not sure or can’t tell if he has Down Syndrome. So he gets the “what are you retarded or something” comment more than I care to admit.
    @ dmmcc says: As for your statements “To everyone else, what can potentially make autism a little harder at this point is 1)lack of insurance coverage for treatment in many states 2)lack of firm/stable treatment opinions from professionals 3)the looming HEAVY burden of having this mythical “developmental window” in which if a parent does everything perfectly, maybe their child won’t end up ‘so fucked up’ (and if they dont do it perfectly, then perhaps it’s all ‘their fault) 4)lack of respite 5)behavioral problems that (from my experience within a school district) that tend to cause more interference (phone calls, pick ups, escapes, etc) than other disabilities. My two cents, thanks for reading.” with Down Syndrome, at least in my experience, all of the above apply and have also been my reality. Even my son’s teachers, none of them have any actual experience teaching children with Down Syndrome, they all have experience with educating children with Autism, and this is outside of the classes that are only for children with Autism to which he can’t belong. In the world of Down Syndrome, our son is considered extremely healthy, rarely sick and his team of doctors and visits and appointments are all for routine care!! Please note I am not trying to complete or say my situation is more difficult, but really I don’t see how what I am dealing with is different or harder than that of a parent of a child with Autism. All people with Down Syndrome are not always happy, sweet, jolly, smiling and mild mannered with only mild cognitive impairment to contend with. That is a stereotype. As parents of a person with special needs, I feel like we are all in the same boat. The only difference I can discern is I know exactly what causes Down Syndrome, but that doesn’t mean there is anything more to be done about it, removing an extra chromosome is not currently an option. Where as a parent of a child with Autism on has many possible theories and nothing concrete to understand how the Autism occurred.

  23. Nadine K says:

    Sorry but I don’t agree with this article , I think that parents of children with many different disablities earn less! I have taken so much time from work over the years to care for ,advocate for and seek services for my son with M.D. . Both my husband and myself have had to navigate through all kinds of difficulties and this entails time from work resulting in less hours and there for less pay!! Not going to say its easy for any of us whether the child has Autism or not.

  24. Susan L says:

    So true that almost ALL parents who have a child with any developmental disability and or chronic health care need will earn less money. I am the parent of an awesome young man with the condition of Autism. My son has changed my life and I would not be the person I am today without him. I work full time for a non profit where I give emotional support and training to families who have a loved one with a disability. I don’t make alot of money but I DO have the flexibility that I need to be there for both my kids. Life is about making choices.

  25. Allison says:

    “Autism Moms”? This is hardly a use of ‘people first’ language. How about “moms of kids with autism”? I expect better from Disability Scoop.

  26. jerjorju says:

    @ Kelly Did you not read the article where it says “Even as compared to mothers of kids with other health limitations, moms dealing with autism took home 35 percent less, the study found.”? Apparently the study consider other disabilities or health issue.

  27. ohmydays says:

    Seems to me all the ones banging on about this being “just about” austistic kids are the ones without kids with autism. Thats like me slamming a study into your childrens disabilities. Yeah, I have a 5 y.o severely autistic daughter, non verbal with severe developmental delay on top of that. We have this diagnosis and get sweet F.A!! So personally, I am all for more studies into autism so we get moved nearer to the top of a very large number of kids in need. I think you seem to figure with this diagnosis you get a free pass. Uh no! Higher functioning autistic kids, with Aspergers, though in my opinion get tonnes more support … I think autism is just portrayed as a social disorder, well look at the more severe end of the spectrum and you’ll be shocked at what issues you may find

  28. hdemic says:

    dear dmmcc,
    My child was severely abused as a baby (i won’t say what) which resulted in not just cerebral palsy symptoms but also many behaviaral issues such as not sleeping, not making eye contact, can’t stand being in inclosed spaces. Her severe physical disabilities is on top of here behaviral issues so =No I , I don’t want your shoes. I just want to walk in my own. All of these parents of severe disabled people have thier own crosses to carrry and unless the many programs that do not get implemented because of the constant labeling nothing gets done. These studies don’t mean anything unless they are fully disclosed. Most of them are just points to get something published. One of my own orthapedic doctors was talking about writting a paper on the benefits of bearing weight. I was thiking to myself (this is allready an established fact like from 20 yrs ago). Why are they not working on getting kids up on thier feet. Back to the subject. I have no idea about yous shoes. nor do you have any idea about my shoes. I just know that labeling gets nothing done across the board. Human beings have certain basic needs and across the board they are not being met. A crap load of money is being sent to the schools, states for special ed. The knowledge is there. Implementing programs are not. And we allready know-wasting money is big. So yes my child is very autistic. but as any special needs parent knows, you can only take care of things that are pressing the most. Autism to me is just only one more thing on a list that is allready big. And it doesn’t do a darn thing. My big thing right now is how many painkillers does it take to ruin my liver so I don’t take to many. You see my back kind of hurts.
    Sincerely,
    keep on trucking,
    mom of disabled child in Michigan
    PS really didn’t mean to hurt your feelings but if we don’t start to gang together it really will never work.

  29. mike says:

    single dad raising autistic son alone for 15 yrs my income was cut in half when had to take care of his therapies and appointments alone, would lose jobs because of it.

  30. Amy Putnam says:

    Our four year old with ASD has really impacted my ability to work. I’m still able to keep up with my career, but only because we have a wonderful nanny. It took a few years and trials and errors to find the right person to connect with my son (and normally developing 6yr old daughter). We pay more for quality child care now because our family members who live closeby are not able to help out (too much stress) and local childcare facilities are not the best environment for him (he is stressed and the teachers/caregivers do’t understand him and his development). We end up paying $1500 -1800 per month for part-time nanny service, which in comparison, would likely be much less with normally developing children. This is taking a huge cut into our income and although we have adapted, it is significantly impairing our future savings for college funds and a new house. I find that I work primarily not for my career advancement or income, but simply to support our childcare needs.

  31. Mary says:

    Gee- Someone just started a study on this but then just made it conversational (again). It should have been on developmentally delayed child(ren) or neurological disorder as a whole or single mom & single dad . Everyone is so put out by this or that. I would really like to go back to school & take speech & English ALL over again so I can be understood & not be felt sorry for me or my family. Don’t feel sorry for me there are other families way worse than ours. I just happen to be the extreme & that Grand Canyon our family keeps falling into – the system calls cracks needs to get fix already. I am tired of banging my head against the wall. I just don’t understand developmental delayed, the other 10,000 syndromes, neurological disorders, & persuasive development disorders- work together & help each other-instead of bring each other down. I already feel like I’m being judge from family to public to the kids school to medical field to changing laws on state & federal levels – oh yeah lets add the military bs to all that. (retired military member in our household) UGH. I need to stop now & embrace the suck. Please laugh from that comment cause otherwise- lets face do we really know what a mental breakdown is? thinking that to myself all the time & while not changing my boys at all- I hope. UGH. Anyhow 3 boys w/ unknown syndrome w/ autism & a few other medical issues. I wish I had lost my money & job to Bernie Madoff instead of this unknown thing. People get being greedy not getting your kid medical help but then I’m being called hydrochloric or mom makes up disease. Like this study whatever- is it really going to change anything. Nope. Just causes more fights. Our family has been exiled from Holland.

  32. Wiglet says:

    Well, shut my mouth! Your article says I’m an ‘autism mom’. And here I was thinking I was just ‘mom’ all along!

    Silly me.

    I do agree with you that I earn a lot less than my friends who are moms of typically developing children. Guess why? Because THEY HOLD DOWN FULL TIME JOBS and I stay at home to manage the kiddo’s stuff! I held down a full-time job, too, until my child turned three and received her official diagnosis. Fortunately, my jobs mostly all sucked anyway. Sure, I never eat out, and I haven’t darkened the doorstep of a hair salon in almost two years, and if I want new clothes I shut up and go to the Dumpster. Still worth it to advocate for my kid, support her school, and practice what we are learning in therapy. Woe am I, the autism mom!

    Boo hoo, indeed.

  33. Jen GA Mom and Counselor says:

    This is true for me, but not for the reasons detailed above. My reasons for working part-time for a family-friendly non-profit rather than making twice as much working in private practice as a licensed counselor are:
    1) Lack of afterschool programs which can handle my son’s differences and understand his needs. He would be absolutely traumatized by being in a typical program where the workers are typically teenagers or people without college education. They would treat him horribly because they would misunderstand his sensory overload issues as misbehavior, they would probably even allow him to wander off, which is my ultimate fear for him.
    2) I am stressed out, I am burnt out, I feel disabled half the time myself because my son is so hard. He has sleep issues, poop issues, needs so much assistance even to get dressed or bathe himself. It is like parenting a toddler for 8 years. I simply could not perform in a high pressure job or work long hours because I feel like I’m barely holding onto sanity as it is. Instead I work part-time and try to take care of myself while he is in school by going to yoga or deep-breathing, taking a walk, just enjoying silence instead of demands and meltdowns.
    3) I have another son who does not have autism and because his older brother does, he deserves and needs more of my one-on-one attention than usual. It is important to me to make time to spend with him to offset the stress of having a brother on the spectrum. If I don’t, he starts to have behavior issues.
    4) Having a child with autism has made me re-evaluate my whole life, and being a full-time worker just isn’t on my priority list anymore. God, being good to my children, myself, keeping my marriage together and happy, etc. those are my priorities and in my situation, you truly can’t have it all.

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