The unexpected plus of parenting with autism

August 23, 2022

The unexpected plus of parenting with autism

Parenting can be a challenge for anyone, but for parents with autism it comes with its own unique set of difficulties. While parenting any child can be tiring and overwhelming, parent’s with autism can often face unexpected challenges while providing the necessary guidance and support their child needs in order to thrive. Many people have misconceptions about the capabilities of autistic parent, leading to stigma and discrimination when in reality they are just as capable and loving as any other parent. A primary challenge is dealing with sensory overload, which can make everyday tasks like feeding or bathing stressful or even impossible for some parent-child combinations. But with patience and determination - plus help from support systems - parents with autism can learn to attend to their child's needs and teach them valuable social skills in a way that suits both parent and child.

•Kirsten Hurley, a parent with mild autism (Asperger Syndrome), is raising two children: Alex (9) and Isla (4).

• Her son Alex was diagnosed with autism at 14 months old and her daughter Isla does not appear to have the condition.

• Kirsten has found that parenting can be challenging due to sensory overloads but also sees advantages of having autism when it comes to raising an autistic child like Alex.

• Despite challenges such as sensory overload and teaching social skills to their children, parents with autism have valuable parenting skills which are often overlooked in scientific literature.

• She has had difficulty getting help from professionals due to misconceptions about people on the spectrum feeling emotionless or incapable of participating in life such as parenthood. In recent years however there is recognition of people on the spectrum participating in all aspects of life including parenthood.

• An online survey suggests there are thousands of parents worldwide who have been diagnosed with autism and many more without a diagnosis, yet only recently scientists began studying adults on the spectrum which includes these parents too.

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