By Lisa Palasti, originally posted on

Parents of children with special needs, autism included, are at a greater risk of developing what we call “caregiver burnout”. This is a common problem caused by a lack of self-care and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and ‘on’ all the time.

While it’s normal to feel stressed and tired as a parent of any child, hitting the point of burnout can be dangerous for you both. Pay attention if you are no longer able to care for them in the way that you want – because, isn’t that why you are doing all of this in the first place.

The autism treatment program that I use with my clients is called Relationship Development Intervention, or RDI for short. It is a parent based intervention with the main goal to restore the innate relationship between the parent/child that has been affected by autism in the first place.

We have a saying in RDI, you have to “Slow down to speed up”. Slowing down gives you a chance to be mindful and to let go of the chaos and hectic lifestyle of most autism therapies. To focus on the smaller goals of the here and now which will set in place the ability to reach those large ‘life’ goals for our children in the future.

“Our society demands that kids keep up, staying on a developmental track that allows them to function independently by the age of 18. If you have a child for whom that goal isn’t realistic, you may find yourself kayaking against the wind and tide, pulled farther and farther from the group.” -Sarah Wayland

This quote is from Dr. Sarah Wayland, an RDI consultant in the U.S. Read it again. Do you feel that pressure as a parent pushing you to make sure your kids are running from therapy to therapy, paying for someone to come into your house for 40 hours a week to teach your children, the constant worry that no matter how much you DO…it will never be enough?

Stop. Breathe. Listen.

It is going to be ok.

Slow Down to get rid of the chaos
Slow Down to become mindful
Slow Down to begin to make smaller goals
Slow Down to be able to create less hectic experiences for your children
Slow Down to create memories

Learning to slow down and mindfully guide your child can create truly meaningful engagements that provide the back drop for a deeper emotional connection, motivation and relationship.

Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen – Arianna Huffington