Being an Autism parent can be many things but easy isn’t one of them. This is one of those things that is truly impossible to understand unless you live it, and I know because I’ve been living it every day of my life, for the last 18 years.
As long as kids are being diagnosed with Autism, there’s going to be people instantly transformed into Autism parents.
It’s often a terrifying experience, at least until you find your footing. Everyone with a newly diagnosed child will experience this to some degree, so if this sounds like you, trust me, you’re in good company.
More importantly, you’re not alone.
I’m always asked if I have any advice for newly minted Autism parents. I don’t really like giving advice because every situation is different. Who am I to tell you what’s right for you or your child. That said, there are some things that are more universal in nature and can apply to every situation.
Here are 3 tips that will make you a better Autism parent.
Trust your gut
This is pretty easy but it’s important nonetheless.
As a parent of a child with Autism, you are going to experience many things and have many people telling you what to do. Doctors, therapists, teachers, family, friends and even perfect stranger will try and tell you what’s best for your child.
It can be overwhelming trying to fend off unsolicited advice and even more difficult to filter through all the advice from experts. Advice can be helpful, especially if you asked for it because you don’t know what to do. On the flipside, advice can sometimes muddy the water and drown out the most important voice, your gut.
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Sometimes you just know something is wrong with your child even when everyone else tells you things are fine. A parent just knows when something isn’t right. It’s sorta our version of Spidey Sense. Parents ask me all the time what they should do in situations where there is no clear-cut, right or wrong answer.
This is what I tell them.
You have doctors, teachers, and therapists for a reason. They’re all part of your child’s support team. Everyone has expertise in certain areas. They all bring something unique and important to the table and can be an amazing resource. At the end of the day, however, there isn’t a person alive who knows your child with Autism better than you do. You may not be an Autism expert but you are an expert when it comes to knowing your child. If you feel something is wrong or even if you feel something is right, trust your gut.
I’m not suggesting you ignore the expert advice your team of highly educated professionals has to offer. In fact, I highly suggest you take in all the information you can, ask as many questions as you need, and do what you feel is in your child’s best interest.
Trust your gut. I’ve found that it will rarely lead you astray.