It is not always easy to be the parent of a child on the autism spectrum. There are joyous moments, but there is no denying the challenges parents face, and the toll these take. Parents worry themselves sick, fight for services, sacrifice careers, sink into debt and more. How exhausting!
Everyone has negative feelings that come and go over time, but when these feelings become more intense and leave parents totally drained of energy it may be a warning sign that much needed respite is in order.
Research has proven time and time again that respite services can make a significant and positive difference in the lives of families, allowing a break and an increase in social and emotional well-being.
Many of us can rely on our families to provide temporary relief from our children. However, not everyone has this luxury. A number respite services for families of children with special needs are offered in this province. Services like www.respiteservices.com and Holland Bloorview are a few of many options worth looking into.
Interview potential candidates
You’re going to want to interview a number of potential candidates before you decide to leave your child in someone else’s care. Many respite workers have experience working with special needs children, which is key.
You want to ensure you ask all of the right questions before selecting a provider. Click here for 10 items you will want to discuss with potential respite worker before you make a decision.
Plan a night out
Now that you have found care for your child, it’s time to plan a night out. Make dinner plans with that friend you haven’t seen in months, go to a party or attend a show. It’s time for you to have some fun!
Not everyone can afford a day at the spa, but there are many things you can do to relax and de-stress.
You may enjoy meditation or yoga, listening to music, gardening, seeing a therapist or counsellor, going for a walk or to the gym, reading a favourite book or watching a favourite TV show. The goal is to find the method of self-care that works for you, and then build it into your day or week.
Have a date night
If you’re married or in a relationship, a night out on the town is essential to keeping the spark alive. I truly believe this is vital to maintaining a solid and happy relationship with your significant other.
My husband and I try to plan date nights as often as we possibly can but between his work schedule and our son’s hectic schedule, it isn’t always easy.
We recently went to see Bruce Springsteen in concert as my husband is a huge fan. What a night! We had a great time and enjoyed singing and dancing the night away together.
The ‘Boss’ entertaining the crowd
Here we are enjoying our date night. (Apologies for the dark photo)
Okay, so not everyone can get to a Springsteen concert, but it’s an example of one of many things you can do for yourself.
Living a full and balanced life when your child has special needs can be difficult, but don’t let yourself burn out, it could affect the level of care you are able to provide for your child.
Be a caregiver to yourself for just a short while – it can make all the difference!