Getting the news that your child has been diagnosed with autism can be devastating. Everyone expects that their child will be healthy and develop normally, but sadly, neither the mom nor the dad has any control over that. Even when the parents do their best during pregnancy and early life, some children do develop special needs. This is a big scare for many parents because parenting a special needs child can be quite demanding and the journey can be filled with a lot of uncertainties. Thankfully, it is a journey that is be doable and enjoyable if you make the right decisions. Below are some of the things that moms should know when it comes to parenting a child with autism.
A Good Journey Starts with Acceptance
As stated above, parents are not in control of some of the things that happen to their child. The first step in parenting a child with autism is learning to accept the situation as it is. It is normal to experience feelings of shock, sadness, or even denial at first, but try to avoid letting these feelings weigh you down. When you allow the negative emotions to creep in, you could make your child’s situation worse and even ruin your relationship with the other family members.
Kids with autism will do some things a little slower and some things a little different than other kids. Thus, if you are not patient and understanding, you may end up getting angry and frustrated. For instance, a child with autism may take longer to learn how to use the potty. Autism potty training is tough due to factors such as communication challenges and development delays. When it’s tough for your child to do something, consider looking up tips on how you can make the process easier and more fun for them.
There are lots of online resources that teach parents how to handle different challenges. For instance, for autism and potty training, this guide can help. It is an ultimate guide by Autism Parenting Magazine, a top magazine for moms of autistic children. The magazine also targets professionals whose goal is to work with autistic children.
Note that every tip you find on an autism or parenting magazine may not work for your child, because every child is different. For instance, with autism and toilet training, some kids can learn after listening to social stories, whereas others will do great with positive reinforcement. Finally, before you use any internet resource for tips, check out the background of the owners to ensure you are getting information that is sound.
It’s Okay to Ask for Help
Asking for help once in a while is okay. It doesn’t make you a bad parent or a weak person to want a break or professional help when things get tough. Don’t hesitate to request those close to you to help out when you need it. However, make sure it’s someone who understands the needs of your child. If your finances allow it, you could think of a babysitter or nanny. And when you feel like you are stressed out, talk to a friend or go for professional counseling. If someone offers to help, don’t turn them down, as long as their motives are good.
Don’t Take It Personally When Your Child Acts in Unexpected Ways in Public
When kids act out, especially in public, it’s easy for the parent to take it personally. An autistic child, however, could just be acting out when they feel overwhelmed. The best thing to do when they act out is to try and understand what triggered that behavior. The acting out could simply be a way of communicating something to you. However, this doesn’t mean that you should excuse bad behavior. As you try and understand why your child is acting that way, you should also come up with a plan on how to handle the situation, and this may involve things such disciplining the child or teaching them some coping strategies.
Your child is unique, and therefore you can’t expect them to be the same as other children, even with other autistic kids. Avoid comparison at all costs. Take your child as a unique individual with their own character and personality. Your job as their parent is to love them as they are and keep doing the right thing. Their milestones will come at their own time.
Finally, as the key caregiver, don’t forget to take good care of yourself. It will do you, your child, and the rest of your family so much good when your health and well-being is well catered for. Exercise, eat right, get a hobby, have lunch with friends, go for family getaways and volunteer for a good cause.