Parent to Parent: Advice to parents new to an autism diagnosis
We polled members on the Autism Society Listserv to help us share some advice to parents new to an autism diagnosis. Here are a few tips from those who are a few miles ahead of you on the autism journey.
♦Talk to other parents. They know more than anyone else about the autism experience. Professionals are often restricted from being more honest than they would like to be. Remember there are no professionals who live and breathe autism quite like we do. Talk to the other parents.
♦Remember that sometimes they are just being a child and it is okay. Take it one day at a time. There are so many things thrown at you when your child is first diagnosed that it can be very overwhelming. Remember that there is always tomorrow. Things do get better.
♦Educate yourself. You are your child’s best advocate. In many cases you have to be their voice. Don’t be afraid to use it.
♦Get help from friends or family. If your current friends don’t understand then find new ones that do. You need a support system who will understand that autism has made your life very different from the norm. You cannot do this alone. Please don’t isolate yourself.
♦Get on the waiting lists but don’t wait to get started. Educate yourself, roll up your sleeves and just do the best you can. Every interaction matters. Ultimately, you are your child’s best therapist.
♦Make sure you still find some time for your other children and significant other. Having a child with autism can result in many challenges, and you need to be prepared for the long term.
♦Make time for yourself. Really…seriously…do it. Reading an autism book doesn’t count.
If you have other advice to share with our new families, please email us at AutismSocietyNewsgram@autismnebraska.org!
And here is some excellent advice from an individual in our Nebraska community who didn’t receive their diagnosis until adulthood:
For myself, personally, it would have been to have known why I was “different” (Aspergers) early on, and to have been accepted for who I am. To have my abilities acknowledged Not just be identified by my difficulties. To have others see past what is “odd” to them, and for them to give me a chance without dismissing me as incapable For people to be patient with me when I don’t catch on to something as fast as others do, in a subject that is not easy for me. For people to realize that there are some things I really can’t do. But for each thing I can’t do, there are many things I can do, and do very well at, if given the chance. One thing I would want others to know is that being diagnosed with Aspergers is not the end, but a beginning of learning who I am and understanding all of the possibilities that are within me. I am not disabled, I am different-abled and I am proud of who I am.