Does your child have autism? Here are tips from a parent of an autistic child to empower you and help you understand this condition with empathy and love.
‘Your child has Autism.’ The word ‘autism’ is loaded with doom and despair. When the doctor announced my son’s diagnosis, I felt somebody had kicked me in my solar plexus. The pain coupled with fear, numbed me totally. Denial reared its ugly head. I stormed out of the doctor’s clinic saying, ‘My son can’t be autistic.’
The next few days and months went by in a haze and were peppered with doubts and questions. How can it be? Why did this happen to me? What did I do wrong? Why should my beautiful son suffer like this?
That was 25 years ago. Things didn’t turn out the way I expected. But I learned to go with the flow. Today I feel blessed to have Mohit and my wonderful students in my life.
From this place in my journey, I’d like to share a few pointers. If somebody had shared these with me when Mohit was diagnosed, life would have been easier.
You don’t have to go through what I and others with older children have gone through. Learn from my experience.
5 Important things to know when your child has Autism
1. Take care of yourself first
You did not do anything wrong. You did not neglect your child. Remember, Autism is a neurological condition.
- Put on your oxygen mask first. If you are in a good mental space, your child will also do well.
- Take care of yourself- physically, emotionally and spiritually.
2. Autism is not a bad word
The autism diagnosis was accompanied by a bleak prognosis. With the years I’ve spent with children and adults on the spectrum, I can tell you it’s not true.
- Your child understands everything, though he may not be able to express himself. Have faith in his abilities and intelligence.
- Don’t let the diagnosis take away from leading a fulfilling and happy family life.
3. Your child can learn
S/he may not learn the conventional way, but your child can definitely learn. Many children on the autism spectrum are visual learners.
- Once you understand how your child learns, you can set teach according to the way s/he learns.
4. Don’t jump onto the bandwagon of therapies
While early childhood is a crucial period, the brain continues to develop through out life. Don’t be swayed by specialists who proclaim your child will not learn once he crosses the threshold of 5 or 7 years.
- Take time to understand various therapies and treatments available.
- Pick only those that resonate with you and make you feel comfortable.
- Don’t end up being a driver dropping off your child to various therapies.
- Be the anchor in your child’s life.
5. Focus on independence
While language and skills play an important role, they are not the be all and end all. Equip your child to be a thinker and problem solver. Once that is in place, your child will be motivated to learn by himself.
- He will be able to surmount problems that come in his way and become independent.
- Build a meaningful relationship with him.
- Connect with him emotionally. By doing so, his speech and language will also improve.
I’ve recently written an ebook, where the steps to independence and building a meaningful relationship with your child have been explained. This book will teach you how to treat your child with respect and dignity.
Independence in Autism – The Ultimate Goal For Your Child
I learned of these procedures when Mohit was 17 years old. They transformed our lives. I wonder what would have happened if we had found these procedures earlier.
Start now. Start young.
You have a lifetime of happiness awaiting you.
Autism should not a dampener in your life.
You can lead a wonderful life with your autistic child and the rest of your family.
Your child can be independent and lead a happy life.
What are you waiting for?