Mental health of parents caring for a child with ASD

A new study examines the mental health of parents of a child with ASD. According to a study released this year “results indicated that the majority of the parents in our sample have reached clinical levels of psychiatric distress, in particular anxiety” Link

This study addresses the reasons perfectly why came together as a team to build the Rootines app. Parents of children on the ASD spectrum are not only immersed in the day-to-day of caring for their child but, just as importantly, they are doing so potentially despite their mental health. As we have spent more time learning from these amazing parents and caregivers, we saw enormous amounts of time being wasted using pen and paper or spreadsheets to track and monitor the various behaviors, dietary needs, sleep patterns, and therapies. This data is often incomplete and difficult to share and analyze despite their best efforts. This undertaking leads to stress, exhaustion, and as noted in the study, psychiatric distress.

“These findings also argue for a holistic approach to interventions by acknowledging a likely bi-directional relationship between parent mental health and both child symptoms and problem behaviours.” Link

Holistic Autism Care

We’ve heard from caregivers and parents that they need to simplify the process of tracking and sharing information. Rootines, from, does this and more. The app also helps them understand the associations between various changes in their child’s life and could impact how they care for their child and alleviate some uncertainty in their planning.

“We have long known the psychological well-being of parents has a direct impact on the interaction between parent and child. When parents are overwhelmed, exhausted, depressed, anxious, exasperated, or any other common ailment, our ability to cope suffers. Doctor appointments, challenging therapy sessions, Medicaid re-eval, IEP prep, and daily caretaking tasks become all-consuming. It’s not uncommon to go into survival mode. It is in those moments the complex 20 step intervention plans become unreasonable. Consequently, both my son’s world and mine are turned upside down.” – Katie O

We hope that by creating new tools like Rootines for parents and caregivers, we can expand the role technology plays in autism care.

Useful links:
Dr. Daniel Shepherd’s – academic profile
The study – Stress and distress in New Zealand parents caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder

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