I thought autism was the reason he wasn’t happy’
Living with autism is full of challenges for both the child and the family but building a happy home is essential.
Jessie Hewitson, the author of How To Raise A Happy Autistic Child, says it is important parents don’t “lose themselves” after discovering their child has autism.
“Dedication to the support of your child 100 per cent of the time isn’t healthy and can lead to depressed parents,” she says.
“All children ideally need their parents to be happy — and I feel that for many kids with autism, who are hypersensitive to the emotions of people around them, this is especially true.
“For me, working part-time is essential, as is therapy, Pilates and yoga classes, and seeing my friends.
“Don’t feel that to be a good parent, you have to be there all the time.”
In Australia, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) effects one in 100 people and three out of every four children with autism are boys.
Sydney mum Leila Doull cried with relief when her now seven-year-old son Broc was diagnosed as having autism at the age of three.
“I cried with relief because now I’d get help — I had a path I could follow,” she says.
Nicole Rogerson, chief executive of Autism Awareness Australia, says all parents want to raise happy and healthy children, but parents of children with autism have to “think outside the square” to achieve it.