Ways for Parents of Autistic Children to Cope

Being the parent of any child, while exhilarating, can also be very difficult. But when you’re the parent of an autistic child (autism spectrum disorder -ASD), it can feel overwhelming. There’s a whole world of autism knowledge to learn, not to mention the special needs your child will have. 

The bright side is that you’re far from alone. Millions of people have been through it before, and we know more about autism than ever. And when you need a little help, you can refer to this list of tips for coping when you’re parenting an autistic child.

Ways for Parents of Autistic Children to Cope
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
Ways for Parents of Autistic Children to Cope

We’ve divided them up into two sections. The first is a set of tips focused on your child and helping them cope with the world.  The second focuses on things that can be good for your knowledge base and personal mental health. 

For Your Autistic Child

Being the parent of an autistic child is hard, but so is being someone who is autistic in a world designed for people who aren’t. As a parent, part of your job is helping your child learn how to deal with that. What we’ve put together are some tricks and tools you can use to make it happen — when you find what works for your child, it makes everyday life easier for you as well! 

Behavior and Communication Therapy 

A major part of ASD is issues with personal interaction. But, especially if you get an early diagnosis, therapy can work wonders. Ultimately, behavior and communication are skills that can be improved, even if you have a different starting point. Working with a professional is almost always the best way to do that. 

Therapy is the most recommended treatment for autism because it meets your child where they’re at and helps them improve. There are several other kinds of therapies that are also available, like educational or family therapy, and as a parent, you can decide if you think they would be beneficial for your child’s situation. 

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Tools To Prevent Sensory Overload 

Sensory Processing Disorder doesn’t always go along with ASD, but they often go hand-in-hand. The bright side is that there are plenty of tools out there to cope with it. Learning what throws your child into sensory overload and then working with them to find ways around it can be a huge help in everyday life. 

Whether that just involves looking for certain kinds of products while shopping, like extra soft clothes that don’t have tags, or buying specific tools, like headphones to muffle sound for loud events, managing sensory processing disorder at home will make everyone feel better. 

Set A Routine 

Autistic children thrive on structure and routine, so it’s important that you establish one at home that you can stick to every single day. Make it clear exactly what you’ll be doing, when, and what’s next and refer to it regularly so your child feels more in control and knows what to do after finishing each task instead of filling the downtime with problem behavior. 

Don’t feel confined to a text schedule or calendar app, either. Many parents have found that visual schedules, with pictures of what your child should be doing, are helpful for kids with communication problems because images are always clear. You can also consider using videos, or something else entirely. Whatever works for your family is what’s best. 

Clearly Communicate Changes 

Unfortunately, life doesn’t always run on schedule. Sometimes emergencies happen and you have to alter your schedule or make different decisions on the fly. But whenever you can prepare your autistic child for upcoming changes in anything from their schedule to getting new furniture for your home, it’s a good idea. 

Start by explaining to your child that something is going to change, and tell them exactly what it is, ideally starting a few days to weeks beforehand. Then work on reminding them about the change into their routine, like bringing it up every day when giving them lunch. They might still get anxious when the change happens, but preparing them for it still makes it easier.


For You 

When you become a parent, it takes over a significant amount of your life. But you still have needs that are important, and you can’t pour from an empty cup. So here are some tips for helping you as a parent cope with the everyday realities of having an autistic child. 

Find and Accept Help 

They say it takes a village to raise a child. When it comes to having a child with autism, between your regular support system and their therapists, doctors, and teachers, that village can feel more like a sizable town. This is a good thing! Your child has special needs, but there are more people who care and want to help. 

Accept the help when it is offered, particularly if it comes from someone where it’s free of charge (after all, having a child with autism can be expensive). Whether it’s family or therapists, in the form of expertise, or just a desire to make your life easier, take it. It’s not a failure on your end if you can’t do everything on your own. In fact, it’s impossible to do it alone, so embrace it. 

Join Support Groups 

No one will ever have your back like your partner, family, and friends. But if they don’t have experience with parenting a child with ASD, then they won’t always understand what it’s like. That’s why it’s invaluable to join communities of people who are going through the exact same thing you are, including a few people who have been there before and can give you advice. 

Whether you need a place to vent with parents who get it, suggestions on products to help with sensory processing, or you have questions and you’re not sure where to turn, support groups can give you the backup you need. Go to one in person or join one online, just so long as you make sure you have that resource. 

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Take Advice With a Grain Of Salt 

No one should give a new mom unsolicited advice, but this often happens. Even if you seek out help, other parents still only know what worked for their kids. Dr. Stephen Shore famously said: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.” If someone gives you advice that doesn’t work, know that you might not be the one who is wrong. 

Expert advice holds more weight since they look at things objectively and are highly educated on the subject, but there’s still so much about ASD that nobody understands. Never be afraid to get a second opinion or disregard advice that isn’t working. Your primary source of information is never someone outside the family, it’s your child and whatever is working for them. 

Take Time For Yourself 

Being a parent is one of the most wonderful and fulfilling things you’ll ever do, but it’s also exhausting and constant. If you need to have someone else look after your kid and take a day for yourself to relax and unwind, that’s okay. You’re not a bad parent for needing time away from your child. 

Use your village (or town) of support and take the day that you need when you need it. Instead of burning out, getting exhausted, and having limited patience, you’ll be rested so that when you’re back to spending time with your child, you’re energized and present. 

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Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself 

There are so many things to do and be aware of when you’re the parent of a child with autism that it can feel like you’re always behind and you’re never doing enough. That feeling gets compounded if you’re also working an 8-5 job, even if you know that you need the job to make ends meet. Accept that you’re doing the best you can, and let go of everything else. 

Whether you do that with religion and trusting in a higher power, giving yourself a mental health day, or leaning on your friends, when you give yourself a break and acknowledge that you’re not perfect, doing the best you can not only become easier, it becomes a true joy.


Parenting an autistic child won’t be anything like what you expected parenthood to be before. But with some help and a few coping mechanisms, you’ll find that no matter what your child is like, being a parent is one of the best parts of the human experience. 


Author Bio:

Aaron Smith is an LA-based content strategist and consultant in support of STEM firms and medical practices. He covers industry developments and helps companies connect with clients. In his free time, Aaron enjoys swimming, swing dancing, and sci-fi novels. 

How To Improve Your Sleep Schedule 

Between your daily responsibilities and your responsibilities as a mother, it can be tough keeping up with it all. Typically, one of the first things mothers sacrifice is their sleep so that they can make enough time to fulfill every need. We understand this lifestyle takes a toll, so let us help you by showing you how to improve your sleep schedule so you can feel as rested and energized as possible. 

How to Improve Your Sleep Schedule
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
How to Improve Your Sleep Schedule

Schedule a Bedtime and Wake Up Time 

Much like how your baby or child has a bedtime, you should also set one for yourself. Keeping a strict bedtime will condition your body to be ready for sleep at that exact time, which will make it easier for you to settle into bed and fall asleep. Similarly, you’ll want to set an alarm and pick an exact wake up time for you to get up on a consistent basis.

On mornings where you have extra time, it may seem like a good idea to try and get some extra sleep. Although tempting, you want to stick to your schedule. Oversleeping will make you feel groggy and just as tired as when you went to bed, whereas having a set wake time will regulate your body to feel energized once you’re up and ready to go. 

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The Role Diet Plays in Your Sleep 

You should strive to eat healthier to improve your sleep schedule. Food is your body’s fuel, so knowing when to eat and what to eat will keep you from accidentally staying up too late.  Try to stick to a healthy diet with the right amount of vitamins and minerals

Fast food may be tempting for its convenience with your busy schedule, but processed junk food is high in sugars and carbohydrates. This will keep your body abuzz when trying to sleep and you’ll likely spend more time twisting and turning throughout the night. On the other hand, you don’t want to go to bed hungry, otherwise your body will be far more concerned with eating than sleeping. 

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Learn How To Get Back To Sleep 

One of the greatest challenges for some mothers is having to wake up in the middle of the night to tend to their babies and then trying to get back to sleep. If you have trouble going back to sleep, the best way to improve your sleep schedule is by making it about relaxation instead of sleeping. If you focus only on sleeping, you’ll become impatient and fixate on what’s making you uncomfortable. Instead, do a quiet activity for a little while until your body begins to feel worn out once more. Your bed will feel incredible once you get back into it. You can also look into natural sleep aids to help if you’re still struggling with sleeping.

 

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Author Bio

Christina Duron is a writer living in the Chicagoland area. Her passion for writing and mental health help create thought provoking and engaging pieces and hopes to use them to empower mothers and women to embrace the beauty of motherhood.

7 Reasons Why It’s Hard To Control Your COVID Anxiety

The novel coronavirus has a long list of terrifying effects that can lead to stress and anxiety. Though the coronavirus is a physical disease, it has quite a detrimental impact on our mental health as well, and unfortunately, not many people are talking about this. COVID anxiety is becoming a real and dangerous problem.

However, if we are going to take care of our mental health, we need to know why it is difficult to control our anxiety and stress during the pandemic, and I hope reading the rest of this post helps you out.

7 Reasons Why It's Hard to Control Your COVID Anxiety
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.
7 Reasons Why It's Hard to Control Your COVID Anxiety

Medical Uncertainty

COVID-19 is a new virus that we haven’t seen before, and that means that there are many uncertainties surrounding it. The virus is behaving quite weirdly, and it is difficult to understand who is safe. 

For instance, experts believe that older people are more at risk from the virus, but there are several cases where young people have succumbed to it. In contrast, people in their nineties with underlying conditions have survived. 

Similarly, experts say that if you recover from the virus, your body develops immunity against it, but several people have contracted the virus more than once. 

Therefore, this medical uncertainty is one of the major reasons it can be difficult to manage COVID anxiety. 

Financial Uncertainty

The coronavirus has caused a lot of financial problems as well. People are losing their jobs, and companies are going bankrupt, and this has created a very financially stressful situation. 

People who can’t work because of the pandemic are uncertain when the lockdown is going to end, and they will be able to resume their work. People working online don’t know if they will have a job next month, and people who own businesses are uncertain whether their business will survive. 

This financial uncertainty is another reason for lingering COVID anxiety. 

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Frightening Headlines

In normal situations, watching the news and staying updated is a good habit. However, during this pandemic, looking at the ever-worsening statistics does nothing but increase your stress. 

Therefore, you shouldn’t keep up with how many cases are reported every day and how many people are dying. You should do your part to stop the spread of the virus, and after that, there isn’t much that you can do, so what’s the point of worrying yourself about the virus. 

Unfamiliarity

Humans are generally afraid of change, and saying that the coronavirus has changed the way we live is an understatement. From distance learning to online jobs and the continuously changing safety guidelines, things are changing too fast because of the pandemic, and it is making it difficult for us to deal with stress and anxiety. 

An effective way to deal with stress and anxiety is vaping. You should check out High Voltage Extracts refill cartridges to counter stress and feel less anxious. 

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Lack of Structure

Ever since the pandemic started, our lives have been lacking some much-needed structure. We don’t have a schedule or routines, and this has a very negative impact on our mental health. Without a healthy routine, dealing with anxiety also becomes very challenging. 

Therefore, even though you don’t have to go to work, you should create a healthy routine for yourself and follow it.  This can help ease symptoms of COVID anxiety.

A Lack of Leadership

In a situation, like we are in now, the general public looks towards its elected officials and medical experts for guidance and leadership. However, with the nature of the virus, even our leaders are unable to provide us with steady support. 

Medical experts are learning about the virus, and their statements are continuously changing. This lack of leadership from the people we look towards is another reason why dealing with COVID anxiety is so difficult.  

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Inability to Seek Support

Since we have to stay in our homes, for the most part, seeing support for anxiety and other mental issues has become quite difficult. People can’t go to support groups, getting therapist appointments is difficult, and above that, we can’t even hang out with our friends without risking getting infected. 

Therefore, it is very challenging to deal with COVID anxiety, as there is a lack of emotional support. You should try to build a better bond with your family members and talk to them for emotional support.


2020 has been a very challenging year, and as it reaches its end, we are starting to see some slivers of hope. Though the pandemic isn’t over for now, and it will affect next year as well, knowing that we have battled through a year of it makes us more confident that we can handle it a little longer until the vaccine starts to be used. Just keep your anxiety in check by following the tips mentioned in this post, and hopefully, this pandemic will be over soon. 


Author Bio

Josh Lees is a final year psychology student. He is a passionate writer and loves to research about mental and physical health. He has published many articles regarding different mental conditions. To find out more about his journey head over to https://kootenaybotanicals.com/.

How to Create a Powerful Morning Routine to Lower Your Anxiety

We’re so excited to share this guest post from podcasters Kyle and Jeremy, The Social Ninjas!  They talk about the power of a good morning routine and how it can lower your anxiety and boost your life satisfaction.  Anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression can benefit from having some type of routine in their lives.  Starting the day off right sets the tone for the rest of the day, so a morning routine is a great tool to have for better mental health.

Create a Powerful Morning Routine to Lower Anxiety
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

What is Decision Fatigue?

Decision fatigue is something that social psychologist Roy F. Baumeister discovered. It is the idea that you have a limited cognitive ability to make good decisions. The more decisions you make, the more the “gauge” on your brain for cognitive energy decreases. Questions like “What should I wear?”, “What should I eat?”, “Should I go to the gym today?”, etc. all have an impact on that “gauge” by making your brain process different decisions it needs to make which uses up that energy. The goal is to keep your limited cognitive ability as long as possible throughout the day.

Decision Fatigue Might Be a Source of Anxiety

Think about it. According to Dr. Annabali, brain scans show that those with anxiety have too much activity in the basal ganglia (the part of the brain responsible for worry, feeling anxious, fear, etc) and the amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for survival fight or flight reactions of what you fear). Now, think about how decision fatigue might impact your basal ganglia and amygdala. The more decisions you are making the more stimuli your brain is processing, which is straining your brain more than it needs to. Now you just have to learn how to limit that decision fatigue, but how can you do that?

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Create a Morning Routine!

Everyone who knows me well knows that I am a huge advocate for morning routines. This is probably the single best thing you can do to reduce decision fatigue. By creating a morning routine of self-care and doing the same thing every morning, you eliminate so many decisions that you would normally have to make.

I start by waking up at the same time every day so I don’t have to ask myself what time I should wake up. I eat the same thing every morning, so I don’t have to figure out what I want to eat. I do the same things at the same times every morning so there is no decision at all for me to make. Right now, I have my morning routine created to where I don’t make a single decision for the first 3 and a half hours. This helps my brain stay at a high energy level and keeps any anxiety I might usually have to a minimum.

Eliminate the Unnecessary Stimuli

Pick Your Clothes the Night Before

This just eliminates another decision you must make in the morning. I have even heard of people buying the same colored and style of hangers so that they all match in their closet. This helps make it easier on their brain to process the stimuli involved in picking out the clothes.

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Clean Morning Area

Wherever you are going to be spending your morning, make sure it is spotless clean. It helps your brain and makes you feel so good. Think about the last time you went to a hotel and the feeling you got after walking into the spotlessly clean room. You probably felt good and relaxed. Keeping your brain relaxed can help your decision fatigue and anxiety decrease. Now think about how you feel when you eat breakfast at your table with tons of junk on it. This increases your decision fatigue and anxiety and you miss out on that “clean-hotel” feeling.

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No Social Media or News

Stay off the social media and news channels, especially in the morning. Think about what you do when you wake up. What’s the first thing you do? Most people check social media, turn on the news, check email, etc. This increases your decision fatigue so much by doing this! You are forcing to process so much stimuli and follow-up thoughts. After the first hour of being awake after doing this, you have already used a ton of your mental energy and have very little left to manage your anxiety.

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Add a Healthy Practice to Your Morning Routine

My morning routine changes from time to time depending on the environment or situation I am in.  For example, I had to tweak my morning routine when I had a newborn in the house and also when COVID came about, but here are a few of the key things I ALWAYS keep in my morning routine.

1) Meditation

According to Dr. Annabali’s book Reclaim Your Brain, “Meditation helps to eliminate feelings of anxiety and anger. Using MRI scans, researchers at the University of Wisconsin looked at the brains of meditators and discovered that during meditation their amygdala (the part of the brain responsible for the fight-or-flight impulse) switches off, and the prefrontal cortex (the area of the brain responsible for feelings of peace, compassion, and happiness) lights up.”

Ever since I learned that I started meditating 10 minutes a day every morning as soon as I wake up.  This helps reduce stress, promote emotional health, improves sleep, enhances self-awareness, and so many other benefits!

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2) Practice Gratitude

Gratefulness is more than just a nice or polite thing to do. It actually has been proven to improve mental health. A study was performed of almost 300 adults who were seeking mental health counseling to see if gratefulness had an impact on their mental health. The divided the participants into 3 groups. One group wrote a letter of gratitude to one person every week. Another group wrote about negative experiences and feelings. The last group did nothing. After only 4 weeks, the participants who wrote letters of gratitude every week reported much better mental health.

Gratitude does more than we think. One insight that the study showed from this was that gratitude might actually be impacting our brains. They took MRI scans of brains and showed that people who express more gratitude “showed greater neural sensitivity in the medial prefrontal cortex”. Something as simple as gratitude can actually have a MAJOR impact on your brain and your anxiety.

You now know that gratitude does well for your prefrontal cortex but there are also seven other benefits of showing gratitude, according to Forbes’ Amy Morin.

    1. Gratitude opens the door to more relationships.
    2. Gratitude improves physical health.
    3. Gratitude improves psychological health.
    4. Gratitude enhances empathy and reduces aggression.
    5. Grateful people sleep better.
    6. Gratitude improves self-esteem.
    7. Gratitude increases mental strength.

I like to practice gratitude every morning by writing down five things I am grateful for that are relevant to the last 24 hours of my life. This quick and simple practice has been so beneficial to me and those around me.

3) Learn

Feed your brain with knowledge.  I like to read self-help books or take online courses about things I want to improve upon or just to learn something completely new.  There is something about learning on a daily basis that really gives a boost to my self-confidence. Being someone who struggled with self-confidence in the past, I always keep this in my routine.

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I challenge you to take the time to build a morning routine for yourself.  Start small with one thing or maybe start with just eliminating toxic decision fatigue factors for your morning.  Try it out for 1 week and I can guarantee you will feel much better about yourself and your life.


Author Bios:

Listen to the social ninjas podcast: https://www.thesocialninjaspodcast.com

KYLE MITCHELL  is a mental health speaker, podcaster, advocate, and social media influencer who is passionate about solving the problem of poor mental health in the world and the impact that mental health has on people, especially the youth.

Kyle graduated from Indiana University Southeast in 2015 and received a Business Degree with focuses on marketing and management. Soon after graduating, he realized that his purpose in life is to help people understand what mental health is, why it is important, and what we all can do to improve our own mental health as well as help others improve theirs.

Kyle is a member of NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illnesses) Louisville and is a certified Ending the Silence Speaker for NAMI where he goes to schools and spreads his message about mental health. Kyle is very effective at connecting with his audience by being vulnerable and sharing the struggles he has had with his own mental health.

Further, Kyle Mitchell currently resides in Indiana, loves to run Spartan races, travel, read, and spend time with those who matter most, especially his beautiful wife Paulina & their three kids Braileigh, Avalynn, and Kadyn.

Find Kyle:


JEREMY GREENE is a social coach, podcaster, and influencer. Growing up, Jeremy struggled with severe social anxiety. To overcome this, he decided to become a Social Ninja and now shares his knowledge and experience with others that seek help connecting with others.  To attain his skills, Jeremy searched far and wide. Completing a degree in Communications and Psychology, he continued with numerous training, such as a silent 10-day mediation retreat and facilitating other’s growth in The Mankind Project.  

In the middle of this transformation, Jeremy was offered a gig interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. Terrified, he set out to practice by recording interviews with the general public. This turned into Jeremy Talks to Strangers, an Instagram account profiling the many strangers-turned-friends Jeremy has met. This pivotal moment, led to Jeremy realizing his mission in life: facilitating more self-love and strengthening human connection.

Jeremy’s journey includes coaching others to overcome social anxiety, being featured on ABC News, and traveling the world to offer free hugs. Transforming from social anxiety to social ninja wasn’t easy, but he wouldn’t change it for any other dojo.

Find Jeremy: