I am a parent to a child with mild autism to begin with. Autism is neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impaired social interaction, impaired verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted and repetitive behavior as defined by Wikipedia.It is a condition where a child’s (or person’s) communication and social interaction skills are impaired due to its compromised brain function. (I am typing this with a heavy heart…)
Being a mother to an autistic child is not an easy journey and I know it never will be. There are challenges such as financially providing for your child’s needs, judgment and misconceptions of other people thrown at you, resources on how you’re going to raise your child, and a lot more. Also the burden that you wanted so much more for your child but that’s just it. And as a parent of an autistic child, you have to be strong in all aspects, whether’s its emotional, mental and physical. If you’re a parent and been complaining how hard it is to be one, what more if you’re a parent to a child with autism.
1. If You Know Someone Who Has Autism, It Doesn’t Mean They Are All The Same
I don’t have an expert’s opinion but I know my child inside out and have been with other children with autism. My daughter was initially diagnosed with Global Developmental Delay and as the years have passed and tried different schools and therapists, she was eventually diagnosed with mild autism. Autistic children may show similar behaviors but they are all still different when it comes to their communication and social interaction skills. Autism Spectrum Disorder is very diverse in many ways. If you have a friend or family member who has this condition, Do not assume they are all the same.
2. What We Need Most Is Acceptance Rather Than Awareness
According to my research, ASD affects 1 in 68 children (and 1 in 42 boys). The world is already aware what autism is. Governments of many countries have already mandated laws for ASD and there are organizations for Autism awareness. What (we) parents of children with ASD need are equal rights, affordable health care (including occupational and speech therapies), quality education for their needs and a welcoming society. All of those equates to acceptance.
3. Just Because Some Are Non-Verbal, It Doesn’t Mean They Can’t Totally Understand You And Doesn’t Have Anything To Say
Communication is a struggle for children with Autism. You may interact with them but don’t expect they respond the same way you did with them. Some wants to express through sign language, body language, or tools to express what they want. They are people too who have their own opinions. People in this world are not fully equipped with the understanding, respect, and patience to hear children with autism.
4. We Know More About Our Own Child But Not Autism As A Whole
As parents, our job is to know our children better. What are their needs, wants, how to better interact with them, their behavior and etc. I can tell you my experience being a parent to my child (with autism), share valuable insights, and my challenges. Being a parent to an autistic child have automatically converted me into an Autism Advocate but that doesn’t mean I am an Autism Expert. The experts are the doctors, therapists, and most of all the ones who have autism.
5. We Get Exhausted With Unsolicited Advise and Judgment
If you’re talking in behalf of other people’s experiences and you’re not someone who has an autism condition. We don’t want to hear it. Also keep your opinions to yourselves especially if its something unkind. Some parents tend to take it as a judgment. There is no such thing as constructive criticism here if you’re not the one in the situation.
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