Any parent of an autistic child will tell you that their life is forever changed by their child’s condition. A recent study in The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders quantifies exactly how different that life can be. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin at Madison followed a groups of mothers and their autistic children (adolescents and adults) for eight days. They were interviewed at the end of each day, and saliva samples were taken every four days.
Among the findings: The levels of chronic stress experienced by the mothers were similar to those of combat soldiers. The greater the child’s behavior problems, the worse the mothers’ stress.