Parenting is a rollercoaster ride of emotions and challenges. A child at any age with any abilities will always need love, consistency, and a parent that believes they can do anything. The question we all must ask ourselves is, "can I be this parent?" The answer is, ABSOLUTELY! There's no need to judge yourself for anything before today, because we are all learning how to be parents and it is not easy.
In this new year we can start fresh and focus on showing our kids love through our patience, especially when we are frustrated and stressed. Lets try to focus on taking a deep breath when we are angry or frustrated, just like we tell our kids. It really does work!
Autism is challenging for us as parents, however, it is also challenging for our kids. As parents we model behaviors to our children and they learn love from us. Love is more than affection, it is also kind words, listening, and encouragement.
Consistency is important for children with autism. They tend to thrive on routines and order. I have a child that always needs to know what's next and what we are doing each day. To meet his need to know what to expect, we started writing our activities on a calendar to show the schedule of what we have planned including school events, appointments, and practices.
If your child is not reading yet, picture schedules can be used as well. You can make visuals by cutting out pictures and taping or gluing them on a weekly/daily calendar. It doesn't need to be fancy any picture of a school, bathtub, toothbrush, food, etc will do.
Finally, as parents autism can be tough if you dwell on the negative. Your child can do anything that you take the time to teach with love and consistency. It is not easy, you will feel overwhelmed and exhausted, but so does any other parent. Our kids with autism have a normal that we need to embrace and help them navigate. Speech delays, picky eating, stimming, limited social skills and singular interests are typical. Our kids are developing at their own pace so be patient and keep encouraging them.
What you may have been told
is impossible can be possible. Try to set a goal (developmental, academic, social, etc) that you can work on with your child of any age. Create a schedule or routine when you can work on the goal. Learning new things takes time, so be encouraging and patient. Most of all, be confident that your child can do anything and see what happens.
Parenting, like ife, is a marathon not a sprint.