My Autistic Child

Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum

Caring for You and Me Course

This free carer’s course is run by the NHS. It is designed to help carers to take better care of themselves so that they can balance their responsibilities.

NHS Carer’s Course

A lot of people don’t realise that the NHS runs various free courses. As well as the Carer’s course, they also run sessions about managing diabetes and other long term health conditions. Sadly, because these courses are free, it can be the case that people take them for granted. For example, today’s course had 16 people signed up. Only 8 people arrived. There can be a long waiting list to get on these programs.

The aim of the course is to help carers cope with their many responsibilities. You can’t give from an empty cup. A carer who is happy and balanced will provide better care than one who is tired and stressed.

Introductions and Insights

The course started with the inevitable, “let’s go round the table and introduce ourselves,” but this time with a twist. Rather than just a bland introduction, we had to state some of the challenges we faced as carers. All of us had different backgrounds and circumstances, but had many difficulties in common. Some of the things we listed included feeling isolated, tired and facing challenging behaviour.

Our course leaders then showed us a diagram which illustrated the “stress cycle.” It showed how different stressful situations can have a knock-on effect and create a viscous spiral. The antidote is our carer’s “toolkit,” which we will be examining over the next few weeks.

Practical Help

Introductions over, we looked at some practical ways that we can overcome certain challenges. The first issue we looked at was fatigue. We identified things that can cause fatigue and then thought of different activities and behaviours that can help combat fatigue. We also did some deep breathing exercises, which we can use any time we feel anxious.

Next we looked at challenging behaviours and their effects on both the person and the carer. We analysed different scenarios to try and find the trigger of certain behaviours and ways to mitigate them.

We finished off by setting ourselves an action plan target for next week. This could be exercise or self-care related, but had to be measurable and specific. I set myself the goal of walking for at least 5 minutes every day.

NHS Carer’s Course Conclusion

I enjoyed my first session and found it beneficial. There are 6 sessions in total. I’ll review the whole course once it is finished. I liked the fact that it was informal and interactive. It was run by carers, so it was nice to know that they understood our issues.

People that I know who have completed the course said that it has helped them a lot with their caring role. You can find out more by visiting the NHS course website.

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