Tips for Young Parents Raising A Child With Autism: The Biggest Thing Most Parents Forget
We all have good days and bad days. Let's face it, as a parent raising a child with special needs, any kind of helpful advice is going to make our lives easier. I recall before the internet with all of its tips, groups, and forums I felt like I was the only one. I believe there are many who still feel this way. Rest assured, you are not alone on your journey.
After researching and asking what seemed to be thousands of questions, I was still overwhelmed by the never-ending thought that I was never doing enough for my daughter. Through trial and error, long days and sleepless nights, it did get a little bit easier. While informing yourself with as much knowledge as you can is a must, you know your child best.
This in itself is the biggest thing that most parents forget. Don't fall into a trap of believing other people's opinions. Suitable, caring, helpful advice is one thing- opinions are another. This article from The Art of Autism is a great read.
Our children on the spectrum are very intuitive. I found this out early on, and the hard way. My daughter can sense my mood immediately. There were days when I thought my ugly was going to show for sure, and sadly it has. Patience is a virtue, but we're only human. If you learn anything, learn patience. Oh, you will lose it some days, but the more you stay calm, cool, and collected, the better. On those days that you cannot hold it together and behaviors arise, forgive yourself. Tomorrow is a brand new day to start over and try again. And it's ok to ask for a little help. Your child knows you are on there side.
Tips and advice
Here are a few top tips that I found the most helpful:
* Structure and routine are extremely important.
* Visual aids help get everyone's message across.
* Take a break - allow yourself to find a few minutes out of the day for you.
* Never underestimate what your child can do, or what you can do to help them. Be sure to let them do things for themselves.
* Allow them to have a calming area, or a fidget toy.
* Let go of expectations. This brings discouragement. Be hopeful instead.
* Get informed.
* Be an advocate and a voice for your child. As their parent there's no one else they'd rather have in their corner more.
Stages: Learning Materials shares a more in depth look at how your child will learn, live, and grow.
I don't believe anyone has all the answers, but I do know that following these steps will ensure a more stable, functional, and less stressful environment for the entire family. Take a deep breath, pray, and keep moving forward. You've got this!