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Milestones Autism Resources

4853 Galaxy Parkway, Suite A
Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

Phone: (216) 464-7600

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Mental Health & Autism

For families and autistic individuals, handling the daily challenges such as sensory and social communication issues brings stress that impacts mental health. Finding ways to handle that stress and feelings like anxiety and depression are vital for your child or loved one to feel their best and because it literally can affect their physical health. 

Whether you’re an autistic individual or a family caregiver, balancing the time needed for school or work, therapy, activities and goals can feel overwhelming. Taking time a few minutes a day to do something you enjoy or finding soothing activities can help you cope and bring you peace. Building your resilience to handle the daily challenges and frustrations through strategies like favorite music, relaxation, spiritual guidance or support, meditation, yoga, exercise, talking to a family member or friend or seeing a therapist can help. 

Learning how to manage sensory issues that cause autistic people to experience higher intensity sound, touch, light, smell or taste can help them function better. A lot of self-advocates have higher rates of anxiety and depression partly due to dealing with sensory challenges. Two self-advocates discuss common sensory challenges and coping strategies here. The Managing Sensory Issues articles in the Milestones Autism Planning (MAP) Tool such as this one for children and this one for teens have detailed information and strategies.

Getting the Support You Need

Life is a series of ups and downs and that’s OK and to be expected. Getting help is important to support you especially in dealing with stress and daily issues. Everyone should be able to get the help you need. Lay the groundwork for you and your child that you’re inevitably going to need. It’s hard, it’s a lot. It’s a stress on relationships. We’re all different. Share how you need help.

It’s important to weigh the difference between common manageable challenges and ones that need medical or therapeutic help. What the signs are that you or a family member may have a mental health condition like anxiety, depression or self-injuring behavior that should be assessed by a professional. There are various conditions like these that can be common in autistic people or their families and it’s vital to get professional help and support. They are often treated with therapy and/or medication. 

While some people may hesitate to go to a therapist, sometimes you need a neutral, objective person to talk to who understands your situation. When someone has a medical challenge like diabetes, they see a doctor and may take medications like insulin. The brain is a vital organ that needs support, too. Seeing a therapist is a way to get that support to help you and your child through.

Bear in mind that many mental health conditions have biological causes like chemical imbalances in the body that can be helped with medications and therapy. The service options and recommendations may also change at different ages and stages of life.

Visit the Mental and Physical Co-existing Conditions web page to learn more. The Milestones free autism free autism Helpdesk can connect you with resources. 

 Additional Resources

If your mental health is impacting your health, seek help.  

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