Recently I read a post on social media and it was shared by an autistic blogger. And that post was about a mother of an autistic son refusing to accept that her son is autistic and she compared autism to cancer. She also posted that autism is a silent killer. She posted that she will spend every second of her life, curing autism. These kind of statements make my blood boil. How can a person compare autism to cancer? And when it comes to curing autism, she’s wasting her time. Why? Because autism is not a disease, it’s a disability. If she wants a happy and fulfilling life for her son, she must accept him completely. Whether she likes it or not, autism is an integral part of him.
I have a message for the parents who refuse to accept that their child is autistic:
Love your child, but don’t hate the autism. You can’t beat the autism out of the child. Autism is part of your child. Observe your child, especially when your child stims (rocking, hand flapping, spinning), when he or she is having sensory overload and meltdowns, what triggers the sensory overloads and meltdowns, etc. Stimming is not a bad thing, it helps your child. Don’t suppress the stim (“quiet hands”). Don’t think that autism is a death sentence. It’s not a death sentence. It’s a journey of ups and downs. Every single milestone, no matter how small, is something to celebrate. Remember, you set the example for your child. If you don’t accept that your child is autistic, your child will have the impression that he or she is bad or wrong or broken, and being “normal” is the only choice. Give your child some time to process information. The most important thing is the downtime. Make sure you have a space for him or her to be safe in. And if your child is non-verbal, teach him or her to communicate via I-pad and/or sign language. Remember, behavior is communication. And if you have to instruct him or her, please do it visually and break everything down step by step. And be specific. Structure is very important for an autistic person. Set up a routine. Autistic people are resistant to change. If you need to change plans, don’t do it at the last-minute, otherwise you will have a distraught child. Don’t force eye contact. Eye contact can feel painful for the autistic person. Buy stim toys for your child (ex. Tangle fidget toy). Stim toys will help a lot. Redirect self-injurious stims (ex. biting).
Parents, remember, acceptance will go a long way!!! And if you need more information on autism, log on and search for blogs and videos of autistic people. Autistic people are the real experts on autism. Your child is unique. Remember, autism is a broad spectrum, not a straight line. Focus on the strengths. The struggles are there, but make the best of it.
Acceptance will help your child reach far in life. My parents and my family accept me as I am. And I’m thankful for that.