Being a parent can be the hardest job in the world, especially as you are juggling your personal and professional life. However, as a new parent being told that your child will be born autistic, your world changes. It’s estimated that about one in 54 kids are autistic and autism’s found in all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. The moment you get told that your child is autistic, you become an advocate, educator, cheerleader, therapist, warrior and much more. Most of the time you find that you are battling various roles and you may get frustrated thinking that your child can’t show appreciation or express it. Working with an autistic child in the home setting is challenging but can be done with the proper support system.
- Accept your feelings of sadness. It is accepted and expected. When you are told your child is special needs, it is similar to a death as there is such pain. It truly is a life altering event. Many of your plans and dreams for your child may need to be altered. It is important for your emotional well-being to take the time to understand your feelings, accept them, and move forward.
- Once you accept the situation, it’s very important to have faith and hope. Medical breakthroughs happen every day. The brain is a wonderful organ with the ability to heal and learn.
- Educate yourself! You must become an advocate for your child. The internet is a powerful tool. Seek out experts in your area, support groups, etc. There is an informative website www.autismnavigator.com
- Therapy, therapy, therapy. The earlier it starts the better. Make a list of your child’s issues, and determine the therapies that would be most beneficial. Physical, occupational, speech, visual, auditory processing, are all available. Therapy can be expensive; see what is offered in the public school system. See if a local college has students majoring in the field and see if they have an interest to help.
- Investigate. Find the closest medical school and see if they have any clinical studies on Autism. Most will. See if your child is a candidate and how to become involved. Stem Cell therapy is becoming more relevant as studies demonstrate a significant benefit. See if this is available as well.
By Christine (Chris) Weiss, a mother, author and educator. She is the author of Educating Marston, a compelling memoir about a mother and son’s journey through autism.
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