Sometimes we are lucky enough to find direction from someone who has literally walked the road.
Therefore, tonight's post belongs to Cale, a profoundly eloquent young man from Spectrum Siblings, a blog written from the perspective of one who is on the Autism spectrum himself. He has a very valuable "1st hand" perspective to share and his wisdom is evident.
In this wonderful post, he advises parents:
- Remember that your child is the same person he was before the doctor said “I think it’s autism”. The diagnosis is not a death sentence, it’s a way for you to learn more about your child and find strategies which will help him be as successful as he can be.
- Don’t become disheartened by the gaps between your child and Nts or your child and some higher functioning autistics. The fact is that a prognosis cannot be made based upon a child’s behavior at two or three. Some will begin to blossom in a few years or even a few months. Some fully functional adults spent their first five years flapping in a corner.
- Autism should not squelch your dreams for your child. You may need to adjust some of your dreams, but there will also be new dreams. And you can wind up amazed at what your son/daughter can accomplish.
- It is important that you find therapies that will help your child. But it will do you or your child no good to beat yourself up over the “I should have seen this before; I should have gotten him into early intervention; I should have X Y Z” The whole notion of a window of opportunity after which the gate shuts closed simply isn’t true. Work with what you can now.
- Know that there is sooo much information out there when you know where to look for it. Connect with a blogger online and follow her links. There are moms with kids at all points on the spectrum blogging about what works for their kids, and there are autistic and asperger’s individuals blogging about themselves. There are books packed dense with information; more than you could read in a lifetime.
- Find support. Raising a kid with special needs is difficult, and going through it alone will only make it worse. Whether it’s through a local support group, on the phone with a caring relative, or on the internet, find someone you can vent to. You can only be a good resource for your child when your basic needs are taken care of.
- Remember your kid is still a kid. Yes, you’ll want to sign him up for every therapy out there, but don’t forget to schedule free time. Time when he can do what he wants without someone trying to teach him at every corner.