Parenting A Child With Autism & Becoming The Support They Need

As a parent, receiving the news that your child has autism is processed in different ways among different people. If you know someone who is on the spectrum, depending on the experiences you’ve had (or haven’t had), can often become the way you first become informed about the subject. Regardless of the circumstance of each parent, there are ways your child can live a happy and fulfilled life – but they will need a parent’s help. So here are some steps you can take to ensure you become the best support for your child.

Educate yourself

We sometimes fear what we don’t know. If you don’t know much about autism except what you’ve read online or heard from people, the best place to start is from experts and professionals who can properly inform you of what it means for your child. Set up an appointment with your child’s doctor, ask for book recommendations, and consider seeing a specialist who can give you more information that will help. Autism is a spectrum, and it will take time to find out where your child lies and what their capabilities are. Prepare a list of every question you might have, and don’t be afraid to ask. In addition to that, make sure that your doctor is someone who specializes in autism and is available for you any time you might have further questions or misconceptions. Being equipped with facts will also help you inform family and friends around you as your child grows older.

Get support

It will be near impossible to get through this on your own, and having a support system that you can rely on is also key. The first people you’ll turn to will most likely be immediate family and friends. They will need to be educated on what your child’s needs are and how they should act. Remember that you’re the parent and you’re the one who sets the rules that everyone else needs to follow. In addition to that, you’ll want to find a community of people who are going through the same things. According to the experts from this will help you connect with other parents of children with autism and hear their stories, as well as get handy information. The field is always changing as more research is being done, so a number of online parent support groups can help exchange helpful information.

Girls are different

Many people may already be familiar with certain signs that are connected with autism, like trouble communicating, lack of eye contact, and shyness. But these actually aren’t the signs of autism in most girls. In fact it has been reported that because autistic girls typically present differently than boys, the signs might go unnoticed for a long time. There is research showing that girls are often under-diagnosed compared to boys due to stereotypes, or because they can be better at masking the symptoms when they are young.

Listen to your child

They might not always be able to tell you what they need, but constantly listening and learning to read their signals is key. Every child’s journey is different, and your child will have their own challenges that, with your help, will become manageable as time goes on. Learn to read the signs, see their triggers, and know what they respond to. It may take some time but becoming their most important source of support requires it.

Make their environment safe

Not only will you need to shelter them from a world that may not understand they are autistic (at first), but you will have to make them physically safe in your home. When they reach an age where the baby-proofing would normally come down, yours will stay up because kids with autism are prone to different actions that might lead them to harm themselves. You’ll need to set up routines that will help keep them safe and enforce rules that other households might not have to.

Remember that children on the spectrum are often hypersensitive to other people’s emotions, meaning they will sense all of your stress, pain, frustration, and fear. Be open with them, and be gentle on yourself and them as you both learn. Don’t try to hide how you’re feeling, but explain it’s something you’ll all get through together. You might be their only safe port in this world for longer than what other parents with non-autistic children are. Be sure to connect with medical professionals, support groups and specialized online forums that can help you become the support system your child needs.