Maintaining relationships When you have a child with autism, relationships with others can be tricky. For example, parents of an autistic child may find themselves under a great deal of stress on a daily basis. So much of their focus is on their child, that it can leave little room for their relationship with one another. Likewise, friendships can be difficult to maintain. It can be hard to find the time to meet up with friends, as our schedules can be pretty hectic. It can also be hard to find friends that ’get it’, unless they have autistic children of their own. The strength of a friendship can be measured by the ability of someone to stick with you through the good times and the bad. At this point, I want to mention some of the lovely people who help to keep me sane on a day to day basis. First of all, I have to mention my husband. We’ve been married over 20 years, and although our life is anything but normal, we find a good sense of humour really helps! The ability to laugh at everyday situations definitely makes challenges easier to cope with. We also find it important to try and make time for ourselves, even if it’s the odd evening out as a couple. I have an amazing network of ’autism mum friends’ who I adore. It’s so good to have people who understand you and have had similar experiences with their own children. One friend recently bought me a beautiful bunch of flowers to cheer me up when I was feeling low. Such a simple gesture had a powerful effect on me emotionally. True friends are like diamonds. I also have very supportive parents, and the best mother in law in the world. They have been so kind, offering practical help as well as emotional support. I sometimes think they deserve a medal for putting up with my moans and groans! Autism parents mustn’t isolate themselves. It’s so important to have supportive relationships. So let’s remember to say a big thank you to all of the people in our lives who are closest to us. Remember to let them know how much they mean to us and never be afraid to tell them that we love them. Read more blogs by Louise at 'My Child Has Autism' and read more Family Fund blogs here.