Receiving a diagnosis of Autism can seem overwhelming and having a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be a challenge. Some days will go according to plan and others will make you want to crawl back into bed. As a parent, you may be bombarded by information, behaviours, changes, and stress.
Take a deep breath: You’ve got this.
Accepting the Diagnosis
There are different feelings and emotions you will experience when dealing with a diagnosis of Autism. You may feel that the diagnosis is wrong – your child is perfectly normal. Eventually you may feel angry at yourself or angry at parents with normally developed children. You may feel grief for the dreams you had for your child and the hardships they will face.
Finally, you will come to terms with the diagnosis and maybe feel relieved to have an answer to what is wrong with your child. These are all normal feelings to have and are part of a process of accepting that your child has ASD.
Finding Coping Mechanisms
You will need a way to cope in order to stay strong for your child and reduce stress in the family. You can try finding a local support group for parents with Autistic children. Parents in similar situations will understand what you are going through.
Writing in a journal is also a great coping mechanism because it allows you to express your feelings and thoughts by providing a place to let out all your frustrations.
Sometimes you will need to get away and find some time for yourself. Find a qualified caregiver for your child and get out or take the time to relax and unwind after your child has gone to bed.
And never be afraid to ask for help – from friends, family, doctors – you are an awesome parent, but you are not a Super Mom or Dad.
Becoming an Expert
As your child’s best advocate, you should know everything you can about Autism. Find local resources and courses that focus on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Talk to doctors, experts and other parents of Autistic children. Educate yourself and those around you.
Strengthening Your Relationships
Nowadays, many marriages end in divorce or separation – this statistic rises when there is an Autistic child involved. The truth is that Autism is a very difficult matter and strain on even the strongest marriages or relationships is not uncommon. Make sure you spend quality time with your partner away from the child or children.
Work together with your partner to help your child and be prepared to compromise when it comes to decisions about your child. When in doubt, seek help from a marriage or family counselor to get back on the right track to a happy family and a happy life.
Finding What Works
When dealing with Autism you will be faced with a number of treatment options for your child. In order to ensure that your child receives the best possible treatment for their condition you will need to carefully monitor the effects a treatment has over time. It is important to begin only one treatment method at a time.
Two months is a good amount of time to see the differences within an Autistic child trying a new treatment but you can you make the choice about whether to continue or discontinue a treatment method at any time.
The impact on your life is huge…
But establishing support and finding acceptance is key to working through these changes.