Every parent of a child with autism is different, but there is some common ground I have found with many parents. If you wish to care for and minister to families with autism, there are five things you should know.
- Autism parents are exhausted physically. Many children with autism have sleep disturbances that affect the entire family. I went an entire year getting only three hours of sleep per night.
- Autism parents are exhausted emotionally. You can never let your guard down when it comes to autism. There is a need to be hyper-vigilant. Long-term hyper-vigilance can lead to PTSD.
- Autism parents have extra pressure on their marriage. The divorce rate is already too high in society, autism can make this worse. Even if the parents do not separate, it is easy for the marriage to just slip into co-caregivers.
- Autism parents are extremely protective. Nothing comes easy when it comes to autism. This includes getting services and treatments. Autism parents have to fight every step of the way. Don’t mess with an autism parent.
- Autism parents love their children fiercely. Of course all parents should love their children, but something really special happens with autism. Love is not based on what the child can do or what the parent can do. It is a deeper love that is soul to soul. It may or may not be expressed with words but it is a strong and deep love.