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5 Practical Strategies for Parents of Children with Autism

Updated: Apr 2

How many meme’s have you seen that say: “You might be an autism parent…,” and they always provide the funny to some and not to other’s ,foods that your child with autism may eat or the way they behave or even how we as parents with children that have autism may handle IEP meetings. Sometimes all you can do is look at them and laugh, other times it seems annoying because your child is going through a rough time and those memes appear as a dig or reminder that your child’s life is seen as very different from a neurotypical child. Being honest it is not always an easy road filled with funny meme’s.

The journey often starts with the gut punch feeling you have when a diagnosis is received, and the grief you may experience because you are not sure what this diagnosis actual means for your child, but you also wonder if there is something you could have or should have done differently while pregnant or while teaching them as a baby or anytime prior to the diagnosis.  Those sometimes-funny meme’s do not mention the journey you will now face as you try to navigate what services are needed, how helpful is a referral, how to find the right services, or even how to find other parents that you can talk to openly.  

Taking care of yourself as you navigate the needs for your child can be hard and sometimes it seems easier to give up on trying to find support. Here are five tips that may help you get through those difficult moments:

  1. Acknowledge that your child has received a diagnosis and how you are feeling: The sooner you are able to come to terms that your child has received a diagnosis the sooner you are able to jump into action with understanding what this diagnosis means and how you plan to tackle the next steps of this journey. Try not to get stuck in the “what did I or didn’t I do” roller coaster. 

  2. Self-care is a must!! This does not have to be a day at the spa or out with friends. But give yourself some grace and love!! 

  3.  Remember autism is not a death sentence: remind yourself that your child receiving this diagnosis only means the life journey will be different than you may have planned, but it is not an end all!

  4. Find a support system: join social media groups, seek support through friends or family, find a therapist! Make sure that you have someone you can trust to talk about the good and bad moments because there will be days that you want to vent, do not hold it in! 

  5. It is absolutely okay to turn away unsolicited advice: You will meet people that would like to share with you information about children they have worked with, a cousin or friend’s child that has autism, what you should or shouldn’t do based on their perspective. It is okay to tell people “thank you but no thank you.” Autism is like a snowflake, do what fits your child, your home, and your beliefs! 

  6. Enjoy the journey! The journey may not always be fun and some days filled with stress, but there is also joy, progress, achievements big and small. 

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