Your child has been diagnosed with autism.
You grieve. You read everything you can find. You worry about your child’s future. As an expert in autism and the mom of an autistic adult, these are the things I have found useful.
First of all, regardless of all of the experts you may now be connected with, you are the expert regarding your child. Trust your instincts! If an IEP goal or a therapy doesn’t resonate, say something! You are your child’s strongest advocate.
Don’t isolate yourself. Find a support group or a facebook group for parents of children with autism. The autism community is incredibly welcoming and you will find your place.
When my autistic son was young, my philosophy was, if it wouldn’t matter in 20 years, then I would let it go. If it feels like a battle of wills, let it go for now and have fun. Although the younger years are a bit of a blur at this point, what I do remember are the laughs and the fun. I don’t remember the battles.
The battles, the times when it feels as though it’s an issue of control, recognize that your autistic child may have rules of their own. Rules that you may not know or understand. Our autistic children like routine and for things to go as they expect. If things go differently, this may be a broken rule in their mind, something that shouldn’t happen. I’ll share a fun example of a rule that my son has, which is to always let the oven preheat. Yes, I know for baking it’s important, but my son doesn’t bake. If I put anything in the oven and it’s not fully preheated, my son will take it out, wait for the preheating to finish, and will put it back in. I was recently at his apartment and put some potatoes in to bake before the oven was at 350 degrees. The potatoes came out and he put them back in once the oven was at the correct temperature. This could easily become a battle of wills, but in the end, it doesn’t matter, so we just laugh.
My last suggestion is to support your child’s interests. This is something I learned soon after diagnosis from Temple Grandin. Regardless of how unusual the interest, it may be the best chance for success as an adult. For my child, he was always fascinated by airplanes so we had every reference book regarding airplanes that I could find. Today he is a commercial pilot and flight instructor.
Need help managing life after an autism diagnosis? Send me a DM!