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A Mother’s Day Message of Self-Care and Support for Autism Caregivers
images of mothers and children, celebrating Mother's Day

Dear Moms and Caregivers of Children with Autism,

As Mother’s Day approaches, I want to extend my deepest admiration and support to you, the incredible caregivers navigating the unique journey of raising a child with autism. Your love, resilience, and unwavering commitment inspire me daily, and I want to honor the strength you pour into your role as caregivers. Your journey is unique, filled with challenges, but also with profound moments of love and growth. As a mother of two young girls and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) specializing in autism, I recognize the extraordinary challenges you face, as well as the profound impact your self-care can have on your child’s well-being.

I understand that your days may be consumed with the needs of your children, leaving little time for yourself. But I want to remind you that taking care of yourself is not selfish—it’s essential. Just like your child needs care and support, so do you. In fact, prioritizing your own well-being can have a profound impact on your child’s development and happiness.

Here are three examples of self-care practices, including stress management techniques, that can make a meaningful difference:

1. Mindfulness and Stress Management Techniques

The demands of caring for a child with autism can be overwhelming, often leading to heightened stress levels. Taking even just a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness or meditation can help you reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and cultivate a sense of inner peace. It’s a simple yet powerful way to recharge and center yourself amidst the demands of caregiving. Personally, I find “box-breathing” to be a helpful reset and refocus when stress levels begin to rise.

2. Seeking Support from Autism-Specific Communities

Connect with other caregivers of children with autism through autism-specific support groups, online forums, or local organizations. Sharing your experiences, challenges, and successes with those who truly understand can offer invaluable support and validation. These communities can also provide practical advice, resources, and a sense of camaraderie that reminds you that you are not alone on this journey.

3. Engaging in Self-Care Activities Tailored to Your Needs

Identify activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and fulfillment, and prioritize them in your schedule. Whether it’s taking a bath, going for a nature walk, or indulging in a creative hobby, make time for activities that replenish your spirit and nourish your soul. Remember that investing in your own well-being is not selfish—it’s an act of self-preservation that enables you to show up fully for your child and yourself. Personally, I like to go for a walk, take a yoga class, or read a few pages of a book before bed.

On this Mother’s Day, I want to express my profound gratitude for your strength, compassion, and resilience. Your dedication to your child’s happiness and growth is nothing short of heroic, and I hope you take this opportunity to prioritize your own well-being amidst your caregiving journey.

With heartfelt admiration and support,

Jessica Gruber, PhD, BCBA
Mother and Chief Clinical Officer at The Place for Children with Autism

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May 9, 2024

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