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To The Parents Of A Newly Diagnosed High Functioning Autistic Child

02/11/2016 14:35

Dear Parent,

I hope that your child's diagnosis has provided you with the answers you've been searching for. If you're anything like me, it'll have come as a welcome relief after years of guessing. Although that doesn't make it any less scary or overwhelming at first, so be sure to allow yourself time to process this new world that you're about to step into.

Of course a diagnosis isn't going to magically change your lives overnight. It won't make the sleep deprivation any easier to absorb, or the meltdowns less traumatic. What it does mean however, is that you can start finding solutions to the things that cause your family problems. You can become acquainted with your son/daughter's triggers, and do your best to intervene before they erupt.

You will always be their biggest advocate, cheering from the sidelines every step of the way.

Now that you're armed with the knowledge, you can make decisions about schooling. Get ready to fight for services to ensure that your autistic child is being given as many opportunities to thrive as possible, but it will all become par for the course.

The road ahead probably seems long and impossible, but with enough hard work and determination, you will make progress. Life will be tough, no doubt about that, but raising children will always be a challenge. Don't underestimate the power that you hold to turn around even the most dire-seeming situations.

You might think that you're broken, but believe me you'll find the strength from somewhere to piece yourself back together.

There will be stress, and shouting and physical wounds. You're going to survive though. You will let go of past hurt, because holding on to it won't do anyone the slightest bit of good.

You'll learn to take what other people say with a pinch of salt. Some will be kind and helpful, and others won't even bother trying to understand your situation. Some will want to bestow their so-called wisdom upon you, even when they have no place. Just nod politely and zone out to what they're saying. You don't have energy to waste at this point, so try not to get too upset, even when they make hurtful comments.

Be brave when making your decisions, and stand by them with courage. You'll need an iron will at times, but it will be your biggest asset. If something isn't working, do everything it takes to figure out what will, and don't be afraid of change.

Promise me that you'll be kind to yourself?

Take time out for you whenever you can, and do not feel guilty about doing it. Parenthood is the toughest gig, and you'll need to recharge those batteries every so often. Eat well, and go to bed early to offset the night wake ups the only way you can.

Whatever you do, never ever compare your wonderfully awesome autistic child with their neurotypical peers or siblings. It's completely futile, and unfair on everyone. They are uniquely them, and you will come to see that this is an incredible thing.

Sending you love and strength while you find your way ❤️

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