Children with disabilities face many kinds of challenges, and so do their parents. Being a mother to a child with a disability is a job of its own.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has only made these difficult times even more stressful. Many times, mothers take on the bulk of child care responsibilities at the expense of their mental health.
One study found that 50 percent of mothers of children with Autism had elevated levels of depression, and COVID is not helping.
A recent Urban Institute report revealed that many of the programs and services to help children with disabilities have been reduced or completely eliminated.
A new study suggests dads can help.
Research shows fathers play an important role in supporting a mother’s mental health. So when does dad step in to ease mom’s stress? When it becomes apparent.
All dad jokes aside, mom needs to take a break from being superwoman.
So to all the dads out there, step it up!
Scientists say that dads can lessen a mother’s depression when they engage in consistent, responsive caregiving, such as soothing a child when they’re upset. During a study examining a sample of 3,550 children and parents, research found that mom’s of kids with Autism reported fewer symptoms of depression when dad’s read to the child regularly as early as nine months old. While they might not eliminate a mother’s stress entirely, this research shows that a father’s actions can help alleviate a mother’s stress levels.
Some other ways moms of kids with Autism can reduce symptoms of depression include finding a support group with other parents in like-situations, journaling, and seeking supplemental care for your child so you can catch a break. If symptoms interfere with daily life, seeking professional help from a therapist who has experience working with families and children with disabilities, is a healthy option to look into. For more information on mental health and how to get help, click here.
For mothers looking for more information on Autism, visit autismspeaks.org