Originally Posted Sunday, June 9, 2013
As I’m watching the RHONJ I’m becoming emotional, because I am “living” the same life that Jacquelyn and Chris are now faced with, which is raising a child Duke Jr with Autism. I am like Jacquelyn in respect to my responses surrounding Jr’s Autism and I’m in the same place she’s in; regarding not needing any “additional stress” in our life! My husband Duke is also like Chris in the sense that he’s not “emotional” although he gives emotion and interprets it extremely well. He has faith that Jr will excel and so far, Jr has. I do worry, all day , everyday and it’s a daily trial and triumph!
I fully understand that each child on the Autism Spectrum are unique. They each have to be treated and accepted uniquely. What one child may be able to do with little to no difficulty, another child may not be able to do with little to no difficulty; if their able to do it at all. We must be open minded with each obstacle we are faced with and we must be resilient because within each obstacle lies an opportunity to advance or at the very least “learn something!”
I encourage all parents of children with Autism to keep God (or your higher power 1st) in all that you do. I encourage you to research, however “use your brain power” to discern what’s best for your child and your family. Doctors, psychologists, pathologists aren’t necessary experts on “raising a child” they are simply experts on “the condition that our children have” there’s a difference.
Being an expert, still doesn’t mean that your error proof. Raising a child can’t be “generalized” and sometimes the information that experts provide to us as consumers is generalized. For example, I’ve been reading material on not only Autism, but Asperger’s which is another developmental delay that my son shows a lot of characteristics for. It was my observation that lead me to obtain the information regarding additional disorders on the Autism Spectrum.
Had I not maintained my faith in God, my determination to give him the best and accept nothing but his best, in addition to simply accepting the information that was “given” to me based on what the “experts” (professionals) thought I should have, my son would not have advanced as he had over the last three years!
You have to be “secure” within yourself in order to maintain not only your sanity, but your health and a productive lifestyle for your family. You can’t “compare” yourself to other parents! Be grateful for where your children are in their lives and be thankful for ALL progress that is made! ALL progress, from the buttoning one button on their shirt, to saying I love you, and applying for and obtaining gainful employment.
Meaning if your child is 2 yrs old and isn’t talking but your child’s friend is 1 yrs old and is talking; you can’t compare that! Each child with Autism is unique and like a butterfly they come out of their cocoon when they’ve reached maturity. You can’t rush that process! That has to happen naturally, as with the progression of children with Autism.
You can’t expect more than your putting out when it comes to your child. Meaning if you “don’t” push yourself to get things done, then why would you expect that from your child? If you aren’t “patient” then how can you expect your child to be? “Lead by example!”
Too often I see parents “Stressing” about things they can “prevent” or at least be prepared for.
Children with Autism need structure that combines various methods. My son Jr prefers using pictures and words when it comes to new things being introduced. However, he’s grown accustomed to “receiving verbal directions and information” and now has the ability to effectively process that; with little to no pictures needed.
You can’t have a child with Autism accustomed to such a routine that they “have a meltdown” when they are faced with “life!” You must adopt the thinking and behavior that “we are raising adults” our children are only children for a short period of time. We must STOP enabling them and START equipping them.
It’s okay to “include” your child in the plans for their life! It is their life and they need to know! It’s okay and “highly advised” in my experiences and opinions to “communicate and compromise” with your child consistently.
For example, I explain to my son that during the school year “this is our schedule” and it’s subject to change based upon things going on at home; his behavior at school; and his overall energy level. Then I explain to him that “these are the plans” but this isn’t a promise (based on the circumstances). If I tell Jr that I’m “planning” to do something with or for him, he “clearly” understands that this is a plan not a promise and if it doesn’t happen, he doesn’t have a meltdown.
What I’ve noticed is that children with Autism become dependent upon not only their routines, but their expectations of others. We “as overbearing/protective” parents have given them a false sense of expectation without giving them the defense mechanism “resilience.”
We as parents have to stop “giving false hope” = false sense of expectation to our children, because what I’ve experienced is that when we are honest with our children regarding our expectations and abilities we get more accomplished.
Remember to compliment the triumphs; address the trials and create plans of preventative action; ALWAYS be clear in regards to what you plan on doing and what you expect to receive; be patient because all children with Autism are unique; make time for yourself and your spouse (where applicable) to “reboot”; don’t be afraid to join support groups, create your own (like I am via this blog), or spend more time with other parents in your community with children that also have Autism; embrace the feelings of being alone, sometimes being alone is the best way to establish and maintain “tunnel vision.”
Tunnel vision is great but it’s not necessary to lead a successful life. It’s all about your perspective and your desired outcome.