When you first find out that a loved one has autism, the news can be difficult to deal with, whether you had a hunch that might be the case or it came completely out of the blue. If you’ll be the one caring for them, the situation may be even more overwhelming for you.
As you find your way through the maze in front of you, remember that you’re not alone. About 1 in 54 kids in the United States is on the autism spectrum, and more than 5 million adults are as well. There are many resources available, starting with your doctor.
At Texas Mind Science, with offices in Richardson and Flower Mound, Texas, we often treat patients with autism. Here are a few things our expert team has learned about how you can care for your loved one who has autism.
Empower and protect
One of your goals should be for your loved one to develop as much independence as possible. You can support them and empower them to reach their own goals for the good of their physical and mental health.
At the same time, you should always be aware of their situation. Communication can be difficult for them, and it may be difficult for them to realize if something is happening that would not be beneficial for them.
Be ready to adapt
You will likely develop a routine as you settle into caring for your loved one with autism, but you should also be ready to adapt as their symptoms and abilities change, and as you learn more about what your loved one needs. Being flexible is key to handling their needs in a way that best suits them.
Avoid information overload
People on the autism spectrum do better with smaller amounts of information rather than a large dump of details all at once. You may have to speak slowly, repeat keywords, and avoid too many questions and figurative language that can be hard to process.
Take care of yourself
Caring for a loved one on the autism spectrum can be a demanding and isolating task. It’s easy to forget to take care of yourself because you’re so wrapped up in what your loved one needs, but to be at your best, you have to take time to recharge both physically and mentally.
If no other family members are available to help, you can look into respite care to give yourself short breaks.
If you want more information about how to best care for your loved one with autism, please call one of our Texas Mind Science offices to set up an appointment, or you can schedule the appointment yourself with our convenient online scheduler.