Step six:  Take Care of Yourself and Your Marriage:

     Once you have a child diagnosed with autism, it is very easy to eat, breathe, live, and sleep autism 24 hours a day,  7 days a week,   365 days a year to the detriment of  your health and the  relationships with your family and friends.  The gamut  of emotions you  experience can be overwhelming.  The stress on your family and your marriage can be more than you thought possible.  It is estimated that approximately 50 percent of all first marriages in the United States  eventually end in divorce.  The divorce rate among families with autistic children may be higher than this.  There are studies trying to accurately determine this.   Regardless, autism is going to create a lot of added stress in your life.  There will be stress over financial issues.  How are you going to pay for all the expensive therapies your child needs?  Who is going to pay?  Is your insurance company going to deny your claims.  Will you have to fight with your  insurance company or school district  to get therapies covered? You can only afford a limited amount of treatments . Which treatments are you going to choose?   There will be stress over time constraints.  How are you going to get everything done  today.  You work but also have to get your child to and from school and to  speech , ABA, and  occupational therapy .   You may  stress over the appropriate way to handle the tantrums your child will have. You may  stress over what the future will bring.  The list goes on and on.  You become  physically and emotionally drained.  Because you are tired it  is very easy to put exercise, vacations, down-time, intimacy, and romance on the back burner.  Ignore these for too long and you will create a whole new category of stress.  My wife and I  have come across two very powerful and helpful books that you should strongly consider adding to your autism home library.  The first book is  Married with Special Needs Children A Couple's Guide to Keeping Connected.  The second book is the Autism Mom's Survival Guide,  Creating a Balanced and Happy Life When Raising a Child with Autism. 
Married with Special Needs Children  is an excellent book written  by two women who have extensive experience helping  parents who have children with disabilities.  A big part of this  book are  quotes written by parents with disabled children and how that  has affected their marriage.  Here's what Virginia W. Stern from the American Association for the Advancement of Science had to say as found on the book cover.  " This book recognizes the overwhelming stresses affecting family dynamics that can cause or widen existing cracks in marriages of parents with children with disabilities.  The authors share candid anecdotes from parents who have lived it and offer a wealth of sensitive and realistic suggestions to make a marriage work."



What can you learn from this book?  The book is divided into 15 sections.

  • The Structure and Foundation of a Good Marriage
  • No Longer Cruising Down the River:  The Early Stage of Adjusting to Disability
  • Practical Solutions to Practical Problems
  • Communicating and Problem- Solving as a Couple
  • Romance and Sexual Intimacy
  • Negotiating and Implementing Livable Roles
  • Stress Management and Coping Strategies
  • Heartfelt Conflicts:  Opposing views on Protection, Expectations, and Helping Your Child
  • Supports Outside of Your Family
  • Serious Marital Troubles
  • A Marriage Transformed
  • Divorce Considerations
  • Remarriage:  The Need to Do It Differently
  • Learning from Long-Term Marriages
  • A Closing Thought
Will you find this book helpful?

Ask yourself these questions.

Are you so tired at the end of the day, that the last thing on your mind is romance and intimacy?  Wouldn't you just rather  sleep.

Do you feel emotionally and physically drained because of the added responsibilities placed upon you and not having the time or energy  to get them done?

Are you caught in an endless cycle of self pity?  Why me,  Why us? Why  our child?   What did we do to deserve this?

Are you upset with your spouse for not helping out with their fair share ?  Do you feel like the entire burden of childcare rests in your lap?

Are you experiencing major grief  and pain and yet your spouse seems disconnected emotionally  and not reacting to the diagnosis like you think they should ?  Does this upset you?

Are you upset that you have accepted you child's diagnosis of autism but your spouse is unable to accept it and move forward?

Do you and your spouse differ on how you handle disciplining your Autistic child?  Does this create tension in your marriage?

Do you feel guilty when you are enjoying yourself?  Do you feel like you should be dedicating all of your time to making your child better?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, highly consider adding this book to your autism home library. 

Best online sources to purchase this book

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