Recently I began wondering what the job description of an Autism parent might look like. Below are 20 of the most important requirements that I can think of. Please add anything missing to the comments below… ☺
1) Applicant must be stronger than they think they are
2) Applicant must possess a seemingly endless amount of patience.
3) Applicant must be able to not only survive but meaningfully function under stressful conditions that studies have shown are similar to that of active duty combat soldiers.
4) Applicant must be able to provide very rigid structure and routine.
5) Applicant must be able to cope with and ideally ignore the unsolicited advice, dirty looks and hurtful comments provided freely by “Joe Public”.
6) Applicant must be willing to toss out most of the plans they’ve made for the future and instead map out a new path based on the child’s needs.
7) Applicant must be willing to freely sacrifice any semblance of a social life (if need be).
8) Applicant must be willing to see and celebrate all the little things that the rest of the world takes for granted.
9) Applicant must be able to provide unconditional love and acceptance to a child who will often struggle in a cruel and unforgiving world.
10) Applicant must be willing to think outside the box and do what they know to be right, even when the rest of the world doesn’t understand.
11) Applicant must oftentimes put aside their own personal wants, needs, and desires in order to meet the needs of the child in question.
12) Applicant must be able to accept that their child might not be able to show love and affection with words, hugs, kisses or even any form of physical contact.
14) Applicant must be able to make the tough decisions and either stand by them or learn from their mistakes.
15) Applicant must possess the ability to communicate in creative ways because not everyone can communicate with words.
16) Applicant must be able to navigate an endless daily minefield of sensory triggers.
17) Applicant must be able to seek out and find whatever way they can to provide as many needed services as possible.
18) Applicant must be prepared to spend countless hours of their life in therapies and doctors appointments.
19) Applicant must be willing to fight for every single thing their child needs, especially when it comes to school.
20) Applicant must be able to function while suffering from chronic sleep deprivation and remain on high alert for things like wandering, bullying and countless other safety concerns.
Of course, with any good job, there’s got to be a benefits package. Stay tuned for a follow-up post with a list of available benefits. ☺