A parent will never forget the moment when they are told, for the first time, that their child has Autism.
Many times, they will have been experiencing growing concern about their child for months – perhaps even year – as they have watched their child, who once was happy and outgoing, become less expressive, less communicative, and less and less able to control their emotions. Not only has their concern been growing, but often they have been feeling guilt or even anger about the problem.
The kinds of things that once were soothing and welcomed by your child – hugs, kisses, holding, physical comforting – are not welcomed now. Unusual habits and obsessive behavior become more and more important in your child’s life. You don’t know what to do. Your try everything you can think of to get your happy and outgoing child back, but it seems that they have creaed a little world for themself and nothing will draw them back out of it.
As time goes on you talk to anyone who may be able to help you understand your child’s behavior – friends, doctors, nurses, childcare specialists, parenting groups. Finally the day comes when you get the diagnosis – your child has Autism.
You may experience a wide range of emotions. There may be a sense of relief to finally have a name for your the difficulties your child is facing – and to realize that it’s not your fault. But you feel confused, resentful, perhaps even guilty that you somehow did not do all you could to ‘protect’ your child. There will likely be a sense of fear for your child’s future. You may feel like you have somehow been given a life sentence and that you will never again have a normal and enjoyable life.
It is natural and normal to experience such a wide range of emotions, but it is extremely important that you not allow these feelings to control your response. This is a very difficult time for both you and your child, and it is vital that you realize one very important truth: the key to your child’s future is you.
All children, and especially children with Autism, are very vulnerable. They rely on you, their parents and caregivers, to be their protectors and to do what is best for them. Although you cannot protect your child from Autism, you can provide the tools that they need so desperately to learn to live with their condition. You can help them realize that there is great potential locked up inside them.
But, you must make sure that you are ready to work with you child in the right way if you are to be able to help them.
Seven dangerous mistakes that are easy to make, but impossible to undo
Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed, is a specialist in helping children with Autism. Out of her twenty years of experience, Arntzen has identified seven dangerous mistakes that parents and caregivers often make when they are faced with a diagnosis of Autism. These mistakes are easy to make, but they can halt your child’s progress or even undo the steps they’ve taken so far.
• Failing to accept the diagnosis
One of the most common – and natural – ways that parents respond when they learn their child has Autism is to go into a state of denial or shock. Many parents and carergivers know very little about Autism and what it will mean for them and their child, but it’s important to accept the diagnosis and work on moving forward rather than just refuse to believe that it is true.
Once you accept and understand that Autism is part of your child’s life – and part of who they are – you can start working with them to unlock the potential that’s trapped inside them.
• Feeling guilty about your child’s condition
While it’s natural for parents and carers to want the best for their child – and to mourn the loss of their life ‘before’ Autism – it’s important not to let this guilt get in the way of responsible, positive parenting.
Parents who spend their lives feeling guilty about their child’s Autism – rather than accepting it as a part of who their child is – risk spoiling their child as a way of ‘making up’ for the diagnosis. While parents may feel that their Autistic child needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool and protected from the world, this dangerous tendency can keep children with Autism from progressing and can even undo the steps that they’ve taken towards leading their own lives.
Even though your child has Autism, it is important to raise them with structure, discipline, challenges and boundaries. Just like any other child, a child with Autism still needs to be pushed to become independent. Whether it’s doing their own homework, learning to feed and dress themselves or simply communicating their needs to you, your child needs to learn how to grow.
Supporting your child appropriately from the earliest possible age is crucial. Today, you can learn more about these, and the other, dangerous mistakes and learn how to avoid them. Using this completely FREE webinar by renowned Autism expert Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed, you can be the positive change in your child’s life.
Remember: you are the key to your child’s future.
Children with Autism need strong parents and caregiveryour child’s diagnosis, it’s time to take action. You can start helping your child right now.