Stress and autism - what we've discovered
I received an email recently from the wonderful charity, Research Autism. Their aim is to help the individual and family through the research they carry out regarding interventions and practical help. They are not focused on a cure, but rather practical ways in which the individual and family can be helped in everyday situations.
They recently commissioned the report, A Future Made Together, which found many autistic individuals and their families; ‘regarded stress as probably the biggest single factor affecting their quality of life, wellbeing, relationships and opportunities.’
I would have to agree. Stress affects everyone. I am very aware Tom, even as young as he is, faces daily stressors due to his autism. He can be very anxious and worried and sometimes I can visibly see this stress building up. It has also been well documented that many autistic young people have associated mental health issues, but at present there is a serious lack of paediatric psychologists and psychiatrists. So for these young people, what actual help are they receiving, if any?
It is also well-known those who care for an autistic child or adult, also have an increased level of stress in their lives. Stress when doing simple tasks such as going shopping with their child, finding adequate education and support. Relationships can also be put under great strain, especially if the child does not sleep and if there is a lack of respite services.
More research does need to be carried out to find out exactly what life is like for everyone involved, so more help and support can be given. Based on the report’s findings, Research Autism will continue to highlight the many effects stress has on the individual and those who care for them, as well as finding better ways in which to understand and help with it.
They are also seeking opinions from autistic individuals and families with regards to stress. The online survey consists of 13 short questions and can be accessed here
A Future Made Together, is here