‘Me’ time for parents with Autistic children. Impossible?

Having a child diagnosed with Autism, must be one of the most stressful challenges facing any family. Most parents struggle with the void of communication, emotional responses and unexplainable behaviour, tantrums, frustration and behavioural difficulties a child with Autism cannot help but exhibit.

How important is taking a time-out? Doing something for yourself once in a while?

Most psychological studies conducted over the past few years seem to suggest that time away from the children can provide parents with a refreshed attitude, and a renewed coping mechanism for parents. But how easy is it to get away and leave the children, especially those with specific needs?

Autism Daily Newscast asked real parents, worldwide for their opinions.

Trudi Riley, 33, from Norfolk, UK said:

“I have a daughter with a multiple diagnose ASD being her main problem. She is extremely complex and at 9 yrs old hasn’t been in school for 6 months with no prospect of county doing there job properly. She has challenging behaviour and the extreme meltdown’s leading to self harm.

“l have constantly been here for my daughter but having 3 other children who want to access everyday activities which are often to much of a sensory overload for my asd child most of the time ,so for self, family time and quality time has become few and far between, I think it’s the system that sadly let’s the children down and the families, I can’t remember in 5 yrs when me and husband had a full night sleep of more than 5 hours and with him working the main daily care falls on me,and she is medicated but that’s a mine field.  It seems society doesn’t have very many resources available for certain ASD diagnosis, my child breaks my heart when she looks at my other girls and saysmummy I want friends‘, but lacks social skills and behaviours others don’t understand.

“We love all our girl and she is no different she is a princess too ,me and her dad have become her parents, friends and punching bag , but nevertheless it’s so rewarding when she tells you ‘I love u mummy daddy both the same’. Being told I love you from her or a kiss or tactile contact is very rare and on her terms, but I wouldn’t change her and yes self time is limited if at all, but God doesn’t promise a perfect life he sends gift of children like this to who can love them endlessly with out fault.

“It’s a learning curve, for sure, they don’t come with a manual when people judge her outside or us as parents were doing our best in a very awkward system and society and who’s perfect anyway?”

Aimee Riach, 28 from Queensland, Australia explains:

“My step daughter has autism but she is extremely high functioning. She loves nothing more than to go off into her own little world and play….. For hours and hours she will sit in her room with her dolls and a million bits of paper that she has cut up. God help me if I threw any of them away lol. I would like a little LESS me time when it comes to her lol. Best part of the day is when she gets home from school and tells me about her day.”

Lisa Marie Upton, 32 from Yorkshire, UK, says:

” I am currently in pursuit of a diagnosis if aspergers for my eldest. He’s still up has had two meltdowns tonight and takes a lot more of my time than the other three put together even the six month old although trying to get appointments with the consultant is as time consuming. I feel that it takes as much time trying to get support as it does dealing and helping him. I was writing emails at 2 am a few nights ago after he finally got to sleep.”

Anna Kennedy OBE, has two teenage sons with Autism, and stresses that “me” time is vitally important to mums and dads who need to take care of themselves with the odd pampering session in order to take care of their children. She has organised a fashion show called ‘Wear it for Autism‘ to highlight the importance of this issue.

She explains:

“The idea behind Wear It For Autism was to spoil those who usually never get a chance to treat – or even think – of themselves. Living with autism can be challenging and extremely demanding so we wanted to create a special event, that would be fun for all involved – as well as raise vital funds to campaign for the rights of those with this disability.”

The fashion show and pampering sessions will take place on the 10th of September in The Vinyl Studios in Soho, London. Tickets will be £25, and are available through emailing :  lisa.robins@thevines.org.uk or call 01895 619734.