Eight habits of highly effective and happy parents with Autistic children

by | Mar 16, 2023

When a parent is thrusted into the world of special needs one generally doesn’t get the time to research strategies around how to cope with the situation – rather, the parent is so busy trying to research on what to do for their child that they don’t realise that they’re in a sinking ship.

I have seen this far too often with my clients and I, myself was most certainly one of its causalities.   Now I’m not saying that we as parents should stop researching for our children to find a solution to whatever challenge is coming up.  No, I’m saying by being prepared for what’s about to enter your world, you’re more like to be able to patch any holes in your boat and stay afloat rather than realising that your ship is sinking once you feel thet water has hit your knees.

So here are the tips that I would recommend for any new parent going through an Autism diagnosis:

  1. Be proactive:  Do the research, speak to people, connect with a community, ask for referrals.
  2. Advocate for your child: Advocate whether it’s in kinder, school, therapy, social settings or family gatherings.  If your gut feeling is telling you something, pay attention.
  3. Prioritise self-care: Take the bath, go for the exercise class, talk with the friend, hire a coach, get the massage.  Do the things that fill your cup because there are going to be a lot of people taking from you – your children, your husband, your work.  You need to know what’s required to refill the cup.
  4. Listen, interpret, learn: Your child may be non-verbal, so you will be looking for cues to help decipher what he or she is trying to say.  Children have patterns, by learning the patterns we can understand their world a little bit more.
  5. Protect your boundaries: It will be up to you to choose the right teachers, therapists, aids, family, friends, coaches that you and your child need to be around.  Don’t be afraid to put your boundaries in place.  By having boundaries we are able to understand what we will and won’t tolerate.
  6. Make rest a priority: I can’t stress this one enough.  Rest is something that is fleeting.  By ensuring you are resting your telling your body that you are no longer in a fight or flight state.  Blood pressure comes down, heart rate comes down, stress decreases and you are able to show up in a healthier way for yourself and your child.
  7. Find your tribe: This is another big one.  The people closest to you are going to be the ones either lifting you up or dragging you down.  Choose wisely.
  8. Ask for help: Do not be afraid to ask for help.  People want to help you, especially because they feel powerless to help in any other way.  Get your family to cook a hot meal.  Get your friend to come over for a cuppa and just hang out.  Ask the neighbour to put the bins out.  Don’t be shy to ask for help.

This list is just that.  A list.  Take it, use it, change it.  Do your best to survive this journey because it can be a struggle at times.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again, I will be your biggest cheerleader through the good and the not so good times.  I look forward to celebrating with you. Let’s walk this journey together.

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