Prolonged stress is a leading cause of caregiver burnout for parents caring for their child with autism. Once a child has been diagnosed with autism, parents are thrown into the deep end and left to fend for themselves.
Parents have reported negative effects on physical health and social relations while also experience financial difficulties from caregiver burnout (Tathgur & Kang, 2021). These negative effects can decrease the quality of life of parents. However, through the correct guidance and support, parents can care for their child with autism without experiencing caregiver burnout.
Symptoms of caregiver burnout are:
- Feeling anxious
- Avoiding people
- Feeling depressed
- Feeling tired and exhausted
- Feeling irritable
- Decreased appetite
For more information visit: https://www.autismspeaks.org/tool-kit-excerpt/caring-caregiver
Support, not only for the child but the parents as well, is crucial for all parties involved. Support for caregivers can include:
- Receiving additional support
- Focusing on what you are able to provide to your child
- Creating realistic goals
- Seeking social and professional support
For more strategies visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/caregiver-stress/art-20044784.
Studies have demonstrated that with the right support after diagnosis, parents can have decreased levels of negative appraisal, pile-up stress and increased general social support (McGrew et al., 2014). Caregiver burnout can be negated with the right support and strategies going forward.
Astrid360 plans to provide caregivers with the correct guidance and support to avoid caregiver burnout. Receiving additional support is a vital step to ensuring parents don’t experience caregiver burnout.
Additional support can look like:
- Support workers
- Behavior therapist
- Speech pathologist
- Occupational therapist
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All these supports offer different strategies for children with ASD. It’s important that parents don’t overcommit themselves and try to provide these supports to their child, as that’s were caregiver burnout is also certain to happen. Astrid360 can explain what these supports do and what support would fit their child best. Parents can have confidence that their child is receiving the correct support, tailored to their child’s individual needs, whilst saving valuable time and money.
By focusing on what parents can provide to their child, they are not overreaching and trying to provide professional support that is out of scope. This helps reduce caregiver burnout as parents can just be parents and provide their child with love, warmth and affection. Being a parent is stressful at the best of times. We believe that parents shouldn’t have to worry about what support they needs. That’s why Astrid360 will provide coaching and strategies for parents to avoid caregiver burnout.
Creating realistic goals is a vital part in supporting parents so they don’t experience caregiver burnout. Parents who have a child with autism are at a higher risk of experiencing stress (Nik Adib et al., 2019). By creating realistic goals and using professional support, parents can decrease the stress associated with caring for a child with autism. Parents who live far away from health institutes experience higher levels of perceived stress (Nik Adib et al., 2019). Astrid360 looks to accommodate these parents by providing them with an online platform to help navigate appropriate support.
Caregivers are at an increased risk of caregiver burnout if their child exhibits perceived disruptive behaviors (Marsack-Topolewski & Maragakis, 2021). Disruptive behaviors are a way for children with autism to communicate their needs. Given the social communication difficulties associated with autism, it is expected that most children would engage in some form of disruptive behavior when growing up. Whilst it’s important to recognize this behavior as a form of communication, parents have to deal with these behaviors and try to best accommodate their child. If the need cannot be met, parents may be trying to de-escalate the child for hours. This is were most of the caregiver burnout occurs, trying to give your child attention and de-escalate for what could be hours. However, by using the correct supports, like behavior therapists, disruptive behaviors can be analyzed to determine why they are happening. It is not always clear why some behaviors occur but a behavior therapist can help set up supports and replace disruptive behaviors to alleviate caregiver stress and burnout.
One of the most important aspects of avoiding caregiver burnout is continuing social relationships. Humans are social beings and by taking that away, overall life satisfaction can decrease. Caring for a child with autism does take up a lot of valuable time. Parents have to make sacrifices which often involve declining social gatherings and events. This can have an enormous detrimental effect on parents mental and physical health. The CDC provides resources for caregivers: https://www.cdc.gov/aging/caregiving/index.htm
The take home message is that parents are not alone! There is adequate support out there to help parents care for their child with autism. Caregiver burnout can be avoided. By receiving the correct support, parents can rest easy knowing that their child is getting a tailored support plan that will help them well into the future. Astrid360 wants to help parents by streamlining the process to save parents valuable time, stress and money. For more information visit: www.Astrid360.com
Marsack-Topolewski, C. N., & Maragakis, A. (2021). Relationship between symptom severity and caregiver burden experienced by parents of adults with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 36(1), 57–65. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088357620956927
McGrew, J. H., & Keyes, M. L. (2014). Caregiver stress during the first year after diagnosis of an autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(10), 1373–1385. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rasd.2014.07.011
Nik Adib, N. A., Ibrahim, M. I., Ab Rahman, A., Bakar, R. S., Yahaya, N. A., Hussin, S., & Wan Mansor, W. N. A. (2019). Perceived stress among caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder: a state-wide study. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(8). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16081468
Tathgur, M. K., & Kang, H. K. (2021). Challenges of the caregivers in managing a child with autism spectrumdisorder— a qualitative analysis. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 43(5), 416–421. https://doi.org/10.1177/02537176211000769