From Lee Wilkinson‘s blog:
“Parents worldwide often experience a range of emotions when their child is first diagnosed with autism, including shock, sadness and grief, anger, and loneliness. Mothers, in particular, appear to face unique challenges that potentially have an impact on their mental health and wellbeing. This includes high levels of psychological distress, depressive symptoms, and social isolation. Almost 40% of mothers report levels of clinically significant parenting stress and between 33% and 59% report significant depressive symptoms following a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).”
He goes on to discuss recent research which suggests an intervention to help such parents is effective.
There’s a lot more about this. See for instance the interview of Sara Parker-Pope with researcher Anette Estes in the New York Times and the avalanche of reactions it unleashed, here.