Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 40

AUTISM THERAPY Interesting Ways OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY Can Help Parenting Stress By Karen RAZON and Emily SPENCER “[Having a child diagnosed with autism is] very stressful. I don’t have time for my husband, and I don’t have time for me! ...I’m always thinking that what happened to my son is my fault. I’m trying to do my best! He needs me!” — Anonymous Parent D oes the above statement ring a bell? Are there days where you feel as if you’re on a seesaw, teetering between feeling able to handle the stress and feeling choked with the weight of anxiety? Raising a child diagnosed with autism can be a unique and beautiful experience. However, despite the perfect family picture others may see, there may be times when you feel your life is shattering into many pieces. YOU ARE NOT ALONE According to current research, parents of children who have been diagnosed with autism undergo the greatest degrees of stress compared to parents of children who have been diagnosed with other dis- orders or parents of typically developing children (Harper, Dyches, Harper, Roper, & South, 2013; Hayes & Watson, 2013; Kuhaneck, Madonna, Novak, & Pear- son, 2015; McStay, Dissanayake, Scheeren, & Koot, 2014). Parents of children with autism commonly experience stressors including the delay in the diag- nosis of autism, the financial burdens of treatment, and marital and family quality. It is also common for parents of children with autism to have concerns for the futures of their children regarding their indepen- dence and social stigmatization (Altiere & von Kluge, 2009; Frye, 2015; Lee et al., 2012; Rivard, Terroux, Par- ent-boursier, & Mercier, 2014; Bitsika, Sharpley, & Bell, 2013; Harper et al., 2013). 40 | Autism Parenting Magazine | Issue 74