How do you support an autistic child with their mental health?

Posted by / Friday 31 March 2017 / Health Parenting Tips Behaviour Speech and Communication
Young boy talking with team leaders

It is estimated that one in every 100 people in the UK are on the autism spectrum. As autism is a hidden disability and affects everyone differently it can cause frustration and emotional distress along with social and communication difficulties.

1 in 100 on autism spectrum

As a result of these heightened feelings your child may experience or show mental health symptoms. It has been shown that autistic people are more susceptible to certain mental health difficulties, including anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

If your child is autistic, it’s important to be aware of, and look out for, any potential mood or behavioural changes. For example, if your child appears withdrawn from activities they normally enjoy, distant or low on energy - it may be that they are finding it difficult to communicate their feelings.

40 per cent have anxiety disorder

Statistics show that approximately 40% of those on the spectrum have an anxiety disorder as a result of autism-related factors, including social interaction, communication difficulties and biological differences in the brain. If these feelings persist, it can lead to depression.

As communication can be more challenging for autistic children, they may struggle to express themselves. In some cases, you may feel it beneficial to get in touch with a professional.

Counselling can be a helpful step in supporting both yourself and your child. A counsellor with expertise in autism can help your child express themselves and figure out how best to manage difficult feelings they may be experiencing.

For you, it offers a chance to discuss your feelings and concerns with an expert. Many parents struggle with taking time for themselves, but as a carer it is important to look after your own well-being too. Always ensure that you seek an appropriately qualified counsellor who has experience in working in this field.

The Counselling Directory is a comprehensive online resource including a database of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK.

On the Counselling Directory website you can find a nationwide database of qualified counsellors and psychotherapists; fact sheets and FAQs to explain the different forms of therapy and a search tool so that you search according to your needs and location.