Raising a child who is diagnosed with autism is filled with many challenges. Every autistic child manifests the disorder in a unique way. In other words, some children may be more impaired than others in their language abilities, while some may be gifted in specific areas. Nevertheless, when it comes to parenting an autistic child, you might feel like you are constantly facing a battle. The following tips and suggestions will help you to help your child.
1) Take a deep breath.
According to Val Fein, a PhD student and mother, hearing your child get diagnosed with autism can be very devastating. It’s important to take a deep breath. Come to terms with your child’s diagnosis, and do not waste time feeling guilty. Accept the diagnosis as reality, and focus on finding solutions.
2) Empower yourself with information about autism.
There is more known about autism today than ever before. Parents have many resources available to them, which can help them make serious decisions about their child’s progress. The more you know about the disorder, and what to expect, the more you will understand your child. Knowledge will also help you be the director of your child’s intervention.
3) Form a network
As parents who support their special needs child, we often forget that we need support as well. One of the best ways to deal with the ups and downs of coping, is by forming or joining a support network. This will help you socialize with people who are facing similar situations. It will also be a great tool to access information, and also give you a chance to help another parent.
4) Be aware of their challenges, but focus on their strengths.
Every child with autism is unique. Each has his or her own set of strengths and areas for improvement. Knowing these in advance will help you build a better relationship with your child.
5) Seek professional advice.
Parents with special needs children often complain that they frequently receive “helpful advice” on how to deal with their autistic child. While it is okay to consider this “advice,” it is recommended that instead, parents follow advice from a medical professional.
6) Let go of expectations.
Do not be caught up with what your family should be or what it could have been. Adapt your expectations to accommodate your child’s abilities.
7) Find “me” time.
Parents are so busy taking care of their special needs child that they forget to look after themselves. This can lead to emotional and physical burn out. Try to get at least an hour of “me” time every day.