You Are Not Alone. You Are Important.


Submitted by: Kasey Gerhart, BCBA

Is he the only one who does this? I feel so alone. I don’t know what to do. Do other families go through this? How do I handle this? She just won’t listen to me! Are there other parents who never feel like they know what to do? My sister must be the only one who…. I don’t know anyone else who has a brother that…

Do any of these sound familiar? You are not alone.

When he wakes up again at 2:30 in the morning and refuses to go back to sleep. You are not alone.

When she refuses to let you brush her teeth and throws her 10th tantrum of the morning, you are not alone.

When your IEP meeting has been rescheduled for the 6th time, you are not alone.

When you and your spouse are arguing over who is going to help with dinner/pickups/drops off AGAIN, you are not alone.

When your little sister rummages through your drawers and takes your new toys, you are not alone.

When your big brother’s appointments make your Dad miss another soccer game, you are not alone.

So, what is there to do about it? Talk to someone. You do not have to do any of this alone. Join a community group, a support group, talk to other parents during pick up and drop off at the clinic. Exchange phone numbers, emails, Facebooks!

I am going to repeat, you are not alone. But moreover, you are important. Studies have shown that parental stress can significantly affect not only general family dynamics, but treatment outcomes, treatment implementation, and effects on siblings[1]. You are vital to your child’s progress, and therefore your emotional and physical well-being are important. We love our kids, but we love our parents, too!

You can go to for online information and REAL stories written by other families navigating this crazy world called autism. In particular there is a portion dedicated to Families at which some may find informative.

At there is a list of community and support groups throughout Georgia.

And the below link is a short list of community and support groups in the Jacksonville, FL area.

[1] Osbore, L., McHugh, L. Saunders, J. and Reed, P. (2007). Parenting stress reduces the effectiveness of early interventions for autistic spectrum disorders. Journal of autism and developmental disorders. DOI 10.1007/21080-007-0497-7

Bendixen, R., et al. (2011). Effects of a father-based in-home intervention on perceived stress and family dynamics in parents of children with autism. American journal of occupational therapy; 65(6): 679-687.