Setting Realistic Expectations: Navigating the Journey of Motherhood with a Newly Diagnosed Autistic Child

by | Nov 23, 2023

Motherhood is tough at the best of times with unexpected twists and turns.  Yet when an autism diagnosis comes onto the table, parents, in particular, mothers find themselves grieving the loss of who their child was going to become and what they were going to have in their life. A grief so overwhelming and daunting it skews our vision of reality.

Setting realistic expectations is a crucial element of navigating this new chapter of life.  Setting realistic expectations can be a bitter pill to swallow and yet its through setting these expectations that we can actually celebrate our children for all that they are.  We can embrace this new journey with understanding, acceptance and resilience.

This blog allows readers to understand what realistic expectations can look like:

  1. Every Child is Unique: Autism spectrum disorder is just that – a spectrum. Each child is unique in their abilities, strengths, and challenges. Setting expectations based on your child’s individual strengths and needs, rather than generic benchmarks, allows for more realistic and achievable goals.


  1. Progress is Nonlinear: The journey of your child with autism is marked by progress that may not always follow a linear path. There will be ups and downs, and celebrating small victories is just as important as navigating challenges. Progress might not always be visible in traditional ways, but it is meaningful and worth acknowledging.


  1. Patience is Key: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is the developmental progress of a child with autism. Patience is a critical virtue on this journey. Understanding that growth takes time and that setbacks are a natural part of the process can help manage expectations and reduce unnecessary stress and overwhelm.


  1. Advocacy Matters: As a mum, your role as an advocate for your child is crucial. Realistic expectations involve recognizing and addressing your child’s unique needs within different environments, whether at school, in therapy, or in social settings. Advocacy is a powerful tool for ensuring that realistic expectations are met and supported.


  1. Celebrate Individuality: Embrace and celebrate your child’s individuality. Realistic expectations involve appreciating and nurturing your child’s strengths, interests, and personality. Fostering a supportive and accepting environment will contribute to their overall well-being.


Setting realistic expectations is not about limiting dreams but about crafting a journey that acknowledges the uniqueness of your child and the challenges that may arise. As a mum of a newly diagnosed autistic child, understanding and embracing realistic expectations will empower you to navigate this path with resilience, love, and a deep appreciation for your beautiful child. I know at times it will be hard.  At times will you want to run away and be desperate for respite.  In those hard times I want you to remember, every milestone, no matter how small, is a step forward in a journey that is uniquely yours.  Honour it.  Celebrate it.  Life is too precious to waste it.

If you’ve got any questions, please send me a DM or email.

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