When your child is diagnosed with autism, your life is going to be changed forever. The diagnosis itself can be intimidating, and you will likely feel scared, upset, and maybe even angry. You’ll be unsure of what to do or who to turn to, and this will only make your distress worse. However, as time passes, you’ll learn a lot, and will understand that caring for a child with autism isn’t really scary at all. Of course, you’ll have your moments, but you’ll grow from them, and become even better at handling certain situations. But, for now, it’s understandable that your future feels uncertain. To make your life a little easier and give you some guidance, here are nine things that you should or shouldn’t do after receiving an autism diagnosis.Image
Don’t Doubt Your Faith
A lot of parents first question to themselves when given the diagnosis is “why?” Unfortunately, there is no answer for this, and the last thing that you want to be doing is starting to doubt your faith in God. Your child doesn’t have autism because you haven’t followed the laws of your faith to the letter or because your God just doesn’t exist. If you believe in God, now is the time to turn to them and ask for guidance, not come to the conclusion that they’re complete fiction.
Do Take Some Time
An autism diagnosis is intimidating, I admit, but don’t start freaking out the second you receive it. Instead, allow yourself some time to process the news. Rather than jump to conclusions, ask lots of questions, and find out as much information as you can. You can also go home and do some research of our own, to wrap your head around it. For some parents, receiving a diagnosis is even a relief, as it provides an answer for their child’s behavior.
Don’t Use Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms
Having a child with autism is going to be difficult at times, and you may feel like you are completely alone and have no one to turn to. When this happens, the last thing that you should do is adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms like stress eating or drinking alcohol. If you have and need help, a rehabilitation center can provide this. Meditation and exercise are highly recommended methods for coping with stress.
Do Ask For Help
When you receive your diagnosis, you may find that some friends stop coming around as often. This is because they just don’t understand the meltdowns, the jargon, and the need for routine. When this happens, it’s understandable that you would feel alone, but you aren’t. There are plenty of people who have walked in your shoes and understand the struggles of having a child with autism. Online groups and blogs are a great help, but you may have a support group in your area that you can visit.
Don’t Feel Sorry For Yourself
It’s completely understandable that you’re scared and confused, but don’t allow these feelings to turn into self-pity. At the end of the day, your child is still the bundle of joy that you know and love. If you stop and think for a second, you’ll realize that compared to some of the tragedies many other parents have to go through, your child having autism really isn’t that bad. Of course, life might be a little tougher for you, but at least your son or daughter is still around to keep you busy.
Do Use It To Grow
Bringing up a child with autism has its fair share of challenges, but so does bringing up any child, and like with bringing up any child, you can use these challenges to learn and grow. You’ll likely find that you become a much more patient and understanding person, which are great characteristics to have in everyday life. You’ll also find that you learn to deal with stress in a much healthier way, and won’t worry about the little things as much as you used to.
Don’t Be Embarrassed Or Self-Conscious
There are a lot of things that autistic children have trouble coping with, from haircuts to trips to the supermarket. Because of this, you will experience quite a few public meltdowns, and they’re not going to be the easiest thing to cope with. You will receive stares, questions, and probably even rude comments about how your child needs discipline. When this happens, you just need to learn to ignore them and not get embarrassed. They aren’t as educated as you and don’t understand that nothing they say is going to help.
Do Learn To Modify Expectations
Everyone dreams of the day that their child gets their driving license, heads off to college, gets married, and then has children of their own. As I said earlier, don’t jump to conclusions and just assume that these things aren’t possible now that your child has been diagnosed with autism. All of these things and more might still happen. However, you should learn to modify your expectations when you can see that something won’t be possible so that you’re not disappointed later.
Don’t Forget Your Other Children
A child with autism usually requires a little more care and attention than their siblings, and while that is something you can understand and deal with, your children may not be able to. Because of this, you need to explain autism to your children, so that they can understand why their sibling is getting some extra attention. You should also do all that you can so that they still feel loved and included, such as by inviting them to therapies, and ensuring that you are spending some time with them one on one.
Autism has been known to ruin marriages, rob childhoods, and completely disrupt families, but that doesn’t mean that this is going to happen to yours. An autism diagnosis is not a prison sentence, so don’t treat it like one. Instead, learn to roll with the punches, and use the information above to guide you.
This is a collaborative post and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of this blog or its author.