14 Things To Remember If You’re A Parent Beginning Your Journey with a Newly Diagnosed ASD Child.
1. It may sound cruel, but get over yourself! I was hysterical with my 3 day breakdown wondering how ‘I was going to cope’, ‘how do I handle this’ … Then I shook it off and started to find out what I needed to do for my son! Your child needs a strong informed parent! One who accepts their child, rolls with the punches and has a sense of humour! It’s not easy but you haven’t been given a death sentence either. Don’t read someone’s horror stories either. Your child is unique, and deserves his own path! There are some wonderful people you will meet along the way … And you will learn some people will simply no longer want to be part of your life … Their loss!
2. Follow your heart and your instincts, never settle for someone else’s opinion. ‘don’t compare your child to the “miracles” either’ (meaning people who have “cured” their autistic child)
3. When trying to understand why your child does the things they do via behaviors meltdowns stimming whatever …Actually put yourself in their position. Imagine what it would be like to be THEM.For example.. What would you do if you couldn’t talk and were frustrated because you thought no one was listening or cared at that moment?? You just might hit someone to get their attention!!
4. Save all your documentation in a binder! Never forget no matter how hard it gets to remember the good things! To find a support group as soon as possible! And remember these simple words: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming swimming swimming swimming!” 🙂 Thats my Mantra lol
5. Learn as much as you can about ASD…the more information you have the better you can understand your child. While it’s true that no two children are exactly the same with respects to abilities and disabilities, allow your child to be a child…know his or her limitations and don’t create such a rigorous schedule that your bouncing from appointments that you don’t make time for fun…lastly..make time for yourself. Taking care of yourself is critical to keeping your own sanity… Also…keep an open mind to proposed treatments. At the end of the day it’s your call…but you have to put some faith in the doctors and therapists you chose…if your child is struggling in school, request meetings and fight for the services your child needs and deserves…love your child with all of your heart and accept them for their differences … he or she is truly nothing short of a miracle. Don’t try and “fix” them instead figure out how they learn and embrace them. ASD doesn’t go away but you can find ways to make their lives easier. Stop comparing your child’s accomplishments to others.
6. Give lots of love and be very patient. You both can teach one another and with Christ all things are possible, allow God to direct your steps, pray and keep faith…The best advice a mother could have…my son talks now, he’s learning, he’s so lovable and smart!!!
7. Don’t think that the professionals must always know best, your instincts as a parent and the ones that know your child better than anyone else mean more than many things that a professional can tell you, what they may tell you to do now could be completely opposite to what they believe in 10 years time. You are the person living with Autism 24/7, you don’t clock off at a certain time and however you deal with something has to fit in with the whole family, not just the child with autism.
8. Slow down and listen to the child, know that it takes them longer to get their point across and you have to be willing to listen properly to understand them fully.
9. Don’t limit them. I was/still am thinking “he can’t do that, it will be too much for him” but he keeps surprising me. He just sees the world differently and has to find his own way to fit in. Don’t force the square peg into a round hole if you know what I mean.
10. When my oldest son was diagnosed he was barely 2 and i was a 23 year old mom of 2 year old girl/boy twins. I had no idea, it hit me like a truck. i was in shock for a couple of weeks. I was sad, mad, confused, etc. then i started reading and researching everything i could. it will always be overwhelming but it gets easier, autism is a part of your child but it does not define them. best piece of advice i got was from a therapist/friend, ‘pick your battles.’
11. I tell everyone to get a good babysitter, ASAP. It’s not easy but you need to have a backup person and the last thing you want to have happen is to be in desperate need of a caregiver and discover that all of your family and friends are scared to watch your kid(s).
12. Love & patience! And don’t ever forget no matter what anyone thinks or says, if they can or can’t speak, they are still a child with hopes and dreams and deserve all the love and respect of a typical child.
13. When things get you down do what I do.. I always think that there are worse out there than my son and like the others said ASD is not a death sentence. I’m thankful every day that I’ve still got my son and had 4 yrs. with him so far with MANY more to come 🙂
14. Don’t forget after all the therapy and classes and working hard, they are still just kids and need kid time! And enjoy it with them.
This list was compiled from responses on our page at Single Mothers who have Children with Autism.
Autism, Parenting Advice
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