A series on parental stress, marriage, divorce, single parenting, step parenting, siblings, and more.

Today we begin our series on autism and family life.

Warning: this will be a hard look at the hard things about autism.

With 1 in 88 kids diagnosed today, there is tremendous impact on a growing number of families. While more awareness of autism exists, we believe more attention is due to the increasing needs of families trying to do their best with a scarcity of supports and resources. A huge bubble of kids, an “autism baby boom” is making its way to young adulthood with parents showing the toll of years of caregiving.

At Seattle Children’s Autism Center, we see families from all walks of life. High-tech, rural, high income, barely scraping by, families with one child with autism, families with six children with autism, families who come from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Autism does not discriminate. It is an equal opportunity disorder!

In addition to evaluating and treating children with autism, we pride ourselves on equally serving the rest of the family. Everyday we are witness to weary parents doing right by their children, driving from one therapy appointment to the next, juggling work and home and siblings. With only so much time in the day and autism taking such a central role in their lives, something has to give, something has to go on the back burner.

We decided to explore more closely what life is like living with autism. Parents often find themselves at a loss for words to describe it to those treating their children, to friends and even to their own extended family. We hope that this series will bring to light the need for more support for families. In order to do that, we need to paint the picture, tell the story of why there is a need and what the needs are.

We’ve done our best to break this broad topic into digestible pieces yet some blogs are longer than others. Bear with us and stick with us to the end. Collectively, we think the series may prove valuable for those who live with and treat those living with autism.

Part 2 of Series

Part 3 of Series

Part 4 of Series

Part 5 of Series

Part 6 of Series

Part 7 of Series