Parents of all kinds know that raising a child is quite the journey to embark upon. Receiving an autism diagnosis for your child takes this journey on a bit of a different course than expected. While this will never be an easy task, there are a few crucial steps to take that can significantly aid the process of parenting a child with ASD.
- It all starts with acceptance: There seems to be this misperception that an autism diagnosis means a child will never live a good life or is somehow “less than” due to being on the spectrum. Acceptance of your child for who they are is essential to know how to best support them and for achieving a healthy self-esteem. Begin your approach by preparing for how to accommodate your child’s needs while working on specific behavior developments that will benefit your child’s life in the long run.
- Always remember to take care of yourself: Self-care has been discussed on this blog before, but it’s hard to stress it enough. It’s easy enough for any parent to neglect this and becomes all the more prominent when parenting a child with special needs. This extra demand is more reason to make self-care a discipline. Being an effective parent for your family means being the best version of yourself. Making (reasonable) sacrifices to make time to take care of yourself is essential to maintain this.
- Communicate visually: Many autistic children either struggle with language or are non-verbal altogether. For parents, this means making huge adjustments in communication. Remember to make the conscious effort to communicate through visual means, such as pictures, drawings, or through play. Just because a child struggles to be verbal does not mean they don’t need as much communication as any other child. If your child has struggled with language, your visual conversations will communicate the attention and emotional support that’s needed.
- Ask for help: Too common is the misperception that asking for help equals being a failure as a parent. Being a good parent means being willing to be humble and seek out help when needed. There are plenty of resources out there where people are eager to offer support and provide insight. Facebook groups such as our Neural Balance Support Group are a great way to receive and offer help from and to other parents and caregivers. There’s also comfort in knowing that if you are finding yourself struggling at times, you’re not alone!
- Be patient with your child: Part of the nature of having a child with autism is that is never really anticipated. That being said, there is usually a preconceived notion in the mind of parents of how their child should develop normally. It takes letting go of any notions of a “normal” development and accepting that your child will develop at their own pace to feed a healthy mindset as a parent.
Introducing Neural Balance Parent Portal:
If you catch yourself struggling, don’t beat yourself up. Parenting is demanding work and you will need to have grace for yourself at times. Keep pressing forward, and hold on to the lessons you gather along the way. If you have some lessons that you’d like to share, our Neural Balance Parent’s Portal is a great way to tell your story and help other parents along the way. If you’d like to submit a story, blog or tip, visit https://www.neuralbalance.com/parent-portal/ for submission info.