If you have recently been confronted with an autism diagnosis for your child, you may feel like your world has fallen apart. It’s common for parents to feel guilty, upset and angry with the fact that their little darling is on the autism spectrum. However, what was once seen as a major life debilitating condition is now being seen in a new light. Children and people with autism are different, but not in a negative way. People with ASD see the world from an alternative viewpoint and their brains may appear to be wired in a slightly different way. There can be joy to be had from parenting a child with autism. Read on to find out why autism shouldn’t be feared.
Children with autism are as emotionally sensitive as children without autism. The difference is that they struggle to convey and express and respond appropriately to emotional situations. They can still pick up on you feeling sad, down or angry. This is why it’s important to focus on the positive. When you are playing with your little cherub, reinforce positive play with praise. This will make you and your child feel happy. This also makes it more likely that your child will behave in the same way again. Just like any human being, a child with autism enjoys praise. Places like the Better Support Service can offer help and guidance if you choose to follow a reward and consequences behavior plan for your child.
Routine Is Key
Nearly every child with ASD thrives on routine. Any deviation from this routine can lead to distress, fear and panic. Don’t risk this with your child and try to embed a strict routine. Get up at the same time each day, have the same breakfast, ensure that your child knows what is happening at school that day, and enjoy dinner at the same time. If you do have an outing or a one off event, don’t spring this on your child and ensure that you have plenty of time to plan. Let your child know well in advance of a wedding or a birthday party or a trip to the zoo. Keep reinforcing a routine, and your child will be happier and more content.
It’s all too tempting to wrap your child up in cotton wool as you see their vulnerability. Yes, your child may not be like others, but that isn’t scary, just different. Work with professionals to ease your little darling into new situations. Take them grocery shopping, let them start school and enjoy seeing them try new things like sports and baking a cake. Not everything will go swimmingly, and there will be tough situations where your child may become distressed. However, through managed exposure, this can be lessened. Always keep your child at the center of every decision you make and enjoy celebrating the uniqueness and personality of your offspring.
Being the parent of a child with autism isn’t always easy. However, you shouldn’t fear your new role – you simply need to adapt and learn to see the joys of parenting once again.