To the parents of children with ASD,
Over the past 15 or so years I’ve worked with you in various forms. Some of you lap up what I have to say, some of you use my ears for a debrief, and some of you probably get angry with me from time to time because I know as a psychologist what I have to say isn’t always welcomed (don’t worry, I don’t take offense!).
I actually can’t believe how you manage to hold everything together. You turn up for multiple appointments with various professionals each week, you fork out huge quantities of cash, you avoid certain social situations at times, spend countless hours in lines at medicare or on the phone to government departments, you show unconditional love and advocacy for these little beings who may not always show it but will be eternally grateful for your sacrifices. You probably flit between the successes of your child’s development and the gut-wrenching grief of their diagnosis encompassing the unknown for the future and the everyday challenges he or she faces.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m so privileged to be involved in your life as one of the professionals in your tribe. I get to see the beautiful connections between you and your kids every day, I get to see the awesomeness that your child has to offer the world today and in the future.
The job of a mum or dad is always a selfless task, but ASD adds another dimension. Did you know that the overall level of family well-being in families of kids with ASD is lower than in other families? It probably won’t come as a surprise to hear that rates of divorce and mental illness are higher in ASD families too. But did you know that the stress and lower levels of well-being in the family can actually reduce the positive effects of therapeutic interventions? So all that money, time and effort could be diluted by the negative impact of parental stress? Awesome! Just what you all want to hear. Add some more pressure Amanda! The good news is that research has shown that brief and targeted interventions to help increase your confidence as a parent in terms of behaviour management, decision making around intervention choices and improving your own well-being can actually improve the early intervention outcomes!
This is why I’ve organised the ASD Parent Retreat at Balgownie Estate Vineyard where we address ways to increase your parenting confidence in the above areas as well as how to look after yourself and just have a really fun day! I want you to know how important you are as a person and to invest in your own health and well-being because it not only improves the quality of your own life, but the outcomes of your child’s therapeutic interventions.
So….to borrow a famed phrase from Molly Meldrum, ‘do yourself a favour’! and get yourself an ‘early bird’ ($190) ticket to the ASD Parent Retreat where you will get ALL the incredible opportunities on offer. To book, email us with your contact details, number of tickets and payment method: firstname.lastname@example.org or call us 9079 8043.
Keep up the amazing work guys and I hope I see you at the retreat.
Amanda Abel – Paediatric Psychologist MAPS
Photo credit: Alison Postma