Author Deanna Picon and Autism Parenting Magazine Offer Romance Tips For Special Needs Parents and Individuals
NEW YORK, NY, US: Managing a rewarding and strong marriage or relationship, while raising a son or daughter with a disability, is no easy feat. Between work, family responsibilities and taking care of all aspects of a child’s life, parents are left with little time for themselves, much less a partner.
“The pandemic added more pressure, including financial insecurity, job uncertainty and health concerns to an already stressful situation,” said Deanna Picon, founder of Your Autism Coach, LLC and author of The Autism Parents' Guide to Reclaiming Your Life. “Parents are overwhelmed and often times, put their relationship on the back burner. But despite all the challenges, they need to take care of each other and make their relationship a priority.”
Special needs mothers and fathers can reenergize their relationships by applying some of the strategies from Picon’s article, “Tips to Revitalize and Strengthen Your Marriage.” It appears in the August 2021 issue of Autism Parenting Magazine.
1. Give Yourself Some Space. After isolating with your family during the pandemic, it’s time to think about your personal needs for a change. Give yourself some “breathing room,” and try to get back to being “you” again, and don’t feel guilty about it. Participate in activities that make you feel good. For example, go to the gym, start a walking/running program, dance, get a mani/pedi, meditate. Doing what makes you happy is beneficial for you, your relationship, and the entire family.
2. Keep In Mind You’re Both Human. Remember this the next time your partner says she/he is overwhelmed with working from home while managing a kid’s virtual learning schedule. Take over or help with a task if you can. Give each other permission to vent and “blow off steam” whenever you need to. Don’t be critical or take anything to heart in the heat of the moment. Be understanding of your spouse’s feelings so you avoid fostering anger and resentment. By allowing each other to be open and honest, you'll build goodwill, trust, and respect within your relationship and deepen the bond between the two of you.
3. Take Advantage Of Your Support Team. Ask family members or close friends (well in advance) to watch your special needs child and/or other children for a few hours or a day or two. They will feel good knowing they can help. You'll have peace of mind because your kid(s) are safe and well cared for. Best of all, there are no child care costs.
4. Plan Enjoyable Dates. Every couple needs and deserves some time alone together to reconnect and keep the emotional, physical and communication bonds strong. And don’t feel bad for doing so. It’s the best way to prioritize your relationship. Schedule “fun” dates for yourselves on a weekly or monthly basis. Enter them in your cell phone or computer calendar. Your date doesn’t have to be a “night on the town.” A blockbuster, summer movie, or quick bite at a local restaurant is fine. Participate in some of the hobbies, activities, and events you enjoy. Summer is the perfect time to relax outdoors. Have an old-fashioned picnic at a park or beach or go swimming.
5. Keep The Spark Alive. Remember, affection and attention for your partner doesn’t have to be set aside for just date nights and special occasions. After your kid(s) are asleep, have some wine, munch on chips and dips, or have a scrumptious dessert by candlelight. Snuggle on the sofa while you stream some Netflix movies. It’s a cozy way to wind down from a stressful day.
6. Appreciate Each Other. Despite the negative aspects of the pandemic, it has taught us some important lessons. Life is unpredictable. It can turn upside down in an instant. We should treasure our loved ones. Now, perhaps more than ever, it’s important to express gratitude for your partner. Don’t forget to say “I love and need you,” or “thanks for taking care of that for me.” They’re simple words, but on a tough day, a few heartfelt expressions can make all the difference.
The August issue of Autism Parenting Magazine contains a wealth of valuable information and advice for parents to share with young people who are starting to explore relationships, attraction, and all the confusing moments and emotions that come with them.
It includes an excellent article which offers a comprehensive guide on sex education to help parents create comfortable, informative dialogue with their children. Another piece focuses on the concept of teaching “love” as a life skill. The publication features an array of articles exploring topics such as Behavior Intervention Plans, the autism assessment process, sensory solutions and communication.
Your Autism Coach, LLC provides personalized guidance, comprehensive support programs and seminars that address the concerns of special needs parents. On Twitter (@yourautismcoach), look for the latest parenting tips and advice from Deanna Picon. She shows parents how to overcome the challenges of raising a child with special needs, while building a rewarding life for themselves. Deanna is the recipient of the 2020 and 2018 “Top Parental Advice Writer” and 2015 “Top Life Coach Writer” awards from Autism Parenting Magazine.