Like most of you who have had a child diagnosed with ASD, our journey was a struggle. Before the diagnosis, I felt desperate and confused. One minute my son seemed so “normal” and the next minute he was melting down because he could not tie his shoes!
I distinctly remember one outing to Kohl’s where we had to leave a pile of shoes in the middle of the isle and run for the door, it was that bad.
My son on the spectrum is my oldest child, and it took a long time for me to realize that what I was experiencing was not typical parenting. I kept comparing myself to others and wondered why they thought this parenting gig was so pleasurable. I tried to work harder to do what seemed to work for my neighbors and friends with their kids, but I couldn’t make it stick. I thought perhaps I was just failing at parenting. I knew I was relatively smart, and educated, how could I be failing so miserably with this child I loved so much. Maybe I just didn’t have the “mother” gene, I concluded. One thing I knew for sure, I did not know what to do to raise this child.
Therapy wasn’t working, he was becoming more agitated, angrier, and more difficult to manage, and I was becoming more worried and afraid. I didn’t know what to do …. Even after we got a diagnosis, help was hard to find. And good help is still hard to find. So many of the therapists and educators out there don’t have a clue how to work with someone on the autism spectrum. As a result, we may get little or no help in spite of making a huge time and dollar commitment. Finding the right sources for support and therapy for our child and for ourselves is really important. The right source of help will not only help your child in ways that you can see, but they will help make you feel better, too.
You will know you are not alone, that there is a path of success that others have walked before you toward a more effective and functional life. If you are not getting results and reassurance from your sources of support, try another avenue! Mastery over autism means we need to feel better!