Cynthia’s Corner: Work-life Balance

Importance of self-care through work-life balance

You are not alone. Autism prevalence has increased 241% since the year 2000. This statistic might make one wonder: can work-life balance exist for parents with children who have special needs? The good news is—it can! Here are a few tips to consider to promote a work-life balance:

First, it is important to create a support system or two!  This could look like joining a parents’ group on social media, planning playgroups, or arranging for your child to attend classes based on a hobby where children share a common interest. Obtaining community support is important because you can share ideas, stories, and resources. It could also be comforting to know that there are others with similar experiences.

Another type of support could come from your workplace. Does your employer have an Employee Resource Group (ERG) that supports parents raising children with disabilities? It is worth finding out to layer in another level of understanding and find other parents with similar challenges at work.

Next, utilizing the supports that exist within your child’s school can help. Building relationships with your child’s student support team and related service providers can lead to conversations about supports that are working in the school. These successes at school could transfer into your home life. Tapping into the knowledge of school personnel can save you time and lift some of the load of trying to figure out what your child’s strengths and needs are on your own. Plus, anything that makes home-to-school transitions easier is great!

Local provider organizations, such as Social Motion, can also help deliver support in specific areas and again, enlarge your and your child’s circle of friends. Do you know all that your provider organizations offer?

For example, Social Motion provides social skills AND resources in other areas such as parent training, vocational experiences, and transition services. Do not be afraid to ask providers or other parents if they know of resources that you need. With services in place and the information you need, you are positioning your child to be successful and more independent, which helps improve the caregiver’s work/life balance!