My son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 5, he is now 13. We have been on a long journey with him, making sure he has what he needs, and making sure we can help him get to where he needs to go. It hasn’t always been easy, and we have made plenty of mistakes, but we have also learned a bit along the way.
While it is true what they say, one child with autism means one child with autism, I think there are some tips that can help those raising someone on the Autism spectrum, or raising a child with special needs.
1) Be creative
With my son, I sometimes have to be creative. Whether that is because we are preparing for a cross-country flight to see family, or trying to figure out school from home during a pandemic. Sometimes you really have to think outside the box.
2) What does YOUR child actually need?
It’s super easy to get caught up in what works best for other families. The reality is, your child has their own special needs as well as abilities. What works for one child might not work for yours. That isn’t to say you can’t learn from what works for other kids on the spectrum, just keep that in mind when you are trying to decide what works best for your own child.
3) Don’t try to keep up with other families
This can be hard sometimes. You can watch other families going out and doing things that you know your own child wouldn’t be able to do. It can be hard to feel like you are missing out. Find ways to have fun with your own family, even if it looks different. There is where creativity can really come into play.
4) Celebrate the small things
A few months ago, our family spent the day in Nashville. We had an amazing time and while it might seem like a little thing, it was huge for us. For my son, being able to go on a day-trip isn’t always easy. He can struggle with going to too many different places, but that day, he did amazing. And I felt like we turned a bit of a corner with him and our entire family.
5) Find people to support you
You are going to need to surround yourself with supportive people. The truth is, not everyone gets what it is like to have a special needs child. And not everyone is kind about it. Find people who allow you to vent when things get hard and celebrate with you when your child hits a milestone.
Your support group doesn’t have to know exactly what you are going through to be able to support you. They just need to be compassionate and willing to help you through whatever it is you are dealing with.
6) Take time for yourself
As a special needs mom, I can get burned out pretty fast. I need to take time for myself. Maybe that is just going on a daily walk or being able to go out with my friends every few weeks.
I know how hard this can be when your spouse is deployed or you have little ones at home. But finding that time for yourself is a must, even if it is just a bubble bath after the kids go to sleep. Having those times of rest will help you when it comes to working with your child and giving them what they need.