Just as a flight attendant instructs everyone on a plane to “put on your own mask first before assisting others” in the case of a cabin pressure emergency, so too should you first take care of yourself outside of the role as a parent. Raising a child with autism requires a lot of time and energy. At times, you and your family may feel overwhelmed or strained. It is important to remember that in order to take care of someone, you must be able to take care of yourself first.
While autism primarily affects the individual diagnosed with the disorder, it also impacts the entire family. For instance, some families find they can no longer go out to eat at a restaurant together because the child may be too disruptive. Siblings may be hesitant to invite friends over to the family’s home or may struggle with how to play with the child with autism. It is for these reasons that treatment goals should be developed for both the child with autism and the family. Indeed, the family’s overall quality of life likely influences outcomes for the individual with autism.