There are hard days and then there are Autism Hard days. You may not realize it, but when you meet an autism parent you are meeting one tough cookie. Everything that “regular” people do is harder for us. Cooking, shopping, going to the doctor or dentist, riding in the car, going out ANYWHERE. Bed time, bath time, dinner time – everything can be a challenge. And these are just the regular days. Autism Hard days are something else entirely.

I’ve written about some of these autism hard days (like here, and here). I don’t know any autism parent who hasn’t had them. And how you handle them can make or break you. In our house, a combination of prayer, humor, and alcohol is our go-to coping mechanism. Today, the autism expert parent panel shares how they get through these tough autism days. Share your own tips and tricks in the comments below.

Ask The Experts: The Best Advice for Autism Parents


How to you get through Autism Hard days?

Wine and baths.

“I find strength in God. I pray for His discernment and guidance and He has never led me astray thus far.”

Yoga, Breathing, and Music

We all need an outlet. Exercise is a great way to de-stress and keep healthy. Carve out some time for yourself. It’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation. Autism is a marathon, not a sprint. Take a yoga class, or Zumba or Spinning. Walk outside each day if you can. I started training in martial arts, and I now have two black belts – one in Karate and one in Weapons.

{Holistically Whole note: Do not get on Kim’s bad side!}

I allow myself to cry on hard days and then get up, roll up my sleeves and focus on what my son CAN do.

I go into the ‘Marcia Method’ more in my book, but sometimes FAKING it helps both you and your child. I discovered I could change the way Ryan acted just by changing my behavior toward him. When he was crabby or out of control, instead of acting scared or defeated, I cranked up the rock and roll music and started dancing around the house like I didn’t have a care in the world. No one can be depressed or defeated when that kind of music is playing. Or I’d take Ryan for a walk or bike ride. We’d go anywhere to get us out of the house and into a more positive environment.

Now the bad days are fewer, but if I were to advise the ‘new to the diagnosis’ me, it would be to meditate and pray more. Stress less. Even though my child’s behaviors and health concerns sent me into high gear, I often wonder if I had taken time for myself to regroup … even for just 5 minutes … if things would have been easier to get through. “


Erica Daniels is the author of Cooking with Leo: An Allergen-Free Autism Family Cookbook, medical cannabis activist, public speaker and is the single mother of Leo who struggles with autism and chronic health issues. Erica’s life changed and gained new purpose after her son was diagnosed with autism in 2007. Erica founded Autism Advisors LLC and #hope4Leo 501c3 after years of struggling to treat her son’s autism using conventional and biomedical treatments with little or no success. Eating a healthy allergen-free diet and using natural medicines such as medicinal cannabis have greatly improved Leo’s health and autism symptoms. In 2016 Erica founded the autism420 Project, an initiative for legal, safe and appropriate access of medicinal cannabis for use in autism.
Honey Rinicella is the coordinator of the Pennsylvania Chapter of Talk About Curing Autism (TACA), a national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to educating, empowering and supporting families affected by autism. She is a wife of 20 years and the mother of 3 beautiful children, 2 of whom have autism. Honey has presented on autism locally and nationally, educating parents and professionals. She has been featured on ABC News, NBC News, NBC’s At Issue, and the Today Show. Honey lives in Pennsylvania with her family.
Kim Stagliano is a nationally recognized autism advocate and lively speaker. She has three daughters with autism, ages 21, 19 and 15. She is author of the memoir All I Can Handle I’m Not Mother Teresa: A Life Raising Three Daughters with Autism, the novel House of Cards and co-author of 101 Tips for Parents of Girls with Autism. Kim serves as Managing Editor of, the nation’s first daily web newspaper about the autism epidemic. She writes for The Huffington Post, and The Autism File Magazine. She speaks at national autism conferences and has appeared on Good Morning America, ABC News, Fox News, in The Chicago Tribune, The National Catholic Register, and on blogs around the world. A former sales and marketing executive, Stagliano lives in Connecticut with her family.
Kristin Selby Gonzalez is the mother of a child on the Autism spectrum. In 2008 she began serving as the Director of Autism Education at Enzymedica. Since then, she has advised numerous supplement companies with respect to their policies and product formulations for children on the spectrum. Kristin speaks all over the world, having educated tens of thousands of caregivers throughout the years on different strategies to help children on the Autism spectrum. Since September 2012, Kristin has been leading the Autism Hope Alliance where she serves as President and Chairman.
Laura Hirsch is an author and blogger for The Thinking Moms’ Revolution. Her TMR nickname is Oracle, and she wrote chapters for the TEAM TMR book, Evolution of a Revolution and the upcoming TMR puberty book, along with numerous TMR blogs. Laura has also written three books of her own: Widowed Too Soon, Foundation of Discovery: The Cause of Autism – Channeled, and The Other Side of Autism. She advocates for food safety and has been featured in the documentary Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives. She has two incredible children, one of whom has regressive autism and is the inspiration for her advocacy work. Laura lives in Reno, Nevada.
Marcia Hinds is a motivational speaker and autism parent. Her powerful message has been featured at autism conferences all over the United States. Marcia’s inspirational book about Ryan’s recovery makes you rethink autism. I Know You’re In There shares what her family did to help Ryan and tells their story in a way that is heartbreaking, heartwarming, and sometimes hilarious. Marcia has a B.A. in Psychology/Sociology from UCLA as well as a teaching credential. But Marcia’s most impressive credential is that she is Ryan’s mother and their family survived autism. For more info go to
Mary Romaniec is a reporter and the mother of a child who recovered from autism by the age of four. In addition to mentoring hundreds of families around the world, her articles about autism have appeared in Mothering Magazine, Autism/Asperger Digest, Autism Today and Journeys Magazine. In her book Victory Over Autism,  Mary discusses the stages of grief associated with the diagnosis, followed by the winning attributes parents will either possess or adopt as they strive to the goal of better health or full recovery for their child, as well as a better future.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This