Finding out your child has been diagnosed with autism is something no parent wants to go through. However, it is a reality that many face. These days there is a slew of information on the web about autism and how to raise a child that has been diagnosed. When it comes to raising a developmentally different child, there will undoubtedly be challenges along the way for most parents. The very first uphill battle a parent will face is accepting the fact that their child is not “normal” and will probably experience different struggles than many other children. It is only natural to experience feelings of sadness and anger over this diagnosis, but it is important to move forward with a positive, hopeful attitude. Aside from your internal struggles, you will likely also have to learn how to tell your family and friends and help them with this diagnosis as well. These people will become a vital part of the parents’ support system and making sure everyone is on the same page is a must.
The exact causes of autism are unknown and there are no clear cut answers or treatments right now. Therefore, it is imperative parents work with a specialist and seek outside counseling in order to ensure the entire family moves forward as a united unite. Sure, you may not have a “normal” life as many people define it, but with the right tools and support system your family and autistic child will flourish. An autism diagnosis isn’t a death sentence and doesn’t mean your family won’t be happy and fulfilled. It is important to take the time to negotiate this unfamiliar territory and find what works for your child and family. Lifeworks offers autistic child therapy and more for families throughout the Carrollton area. We encourage you to come in and meet with our counselors to see how we can help you and your child live your best life. With that in mind, here are a few tips for raising an autistic child:
- Take care of yourself – It may be difficult, but one of the most important things to remember is that you need to take care of yourself and your emotional health. Learning your child has autism can be emotionally draining and quite stressful, so it’s important you take the time to adjust your expectations and be patient with yourself. You may have to let go of your dreams of “normalcy”, and that takes time. Therapy is a wonderful way to work through your emotions and learn how to tackle your child’s developmental challenges in a positive light.
- Follow your child’s lead – Pay attention to your child’s emotional reactions and follow their lead, whenever possible. One of the worst things you can do is make demands or try to force your child to be something they are not. Be patient and make a true effort to join their world – you will all be better off for it.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate – We cannot stress how important it is for you to communicate with your child and help them understand their feelings. Putting emotions and feelings into words is one of the hardest part for autistic children, so this is where you come in. Help them learn about themselves, the world, and what these emotions they are experiencing mean.
Raising an autistic child is undoubtedly both rewarding and challenging. We encourage you to give Lifeworks a call and schedule an appointment with one of our counselors to help you learn how to move forward and live your best life possible.