Advice For The New Autism Parent

Dear New Autism Parent,

First of all, I want to say I’m sorry!  Even if you’ve suspected that your child has autism, having your theory confirmed hurts. It’s like a smack in the face. It feels like all of the plans you had are gone and the child you expected to have may never be possible. It sucks! Believe me I’ve been there not once but twice.

I’ve had to sit through a meeting where they break the news that my suspicions were correct.

Despite how you might feel right now, this isn’t a death sentence and your life isn’t over. Things aren’t going to be what you expected but it isn’t over. You still have this sweet little one that needs you even more than you realize. So no matter how you’re feeling at this moment, you have to be strong.

Don’t let this knock you too far down.

The best thing somebody told me when I found out that my son was autistic is that he’s still the same little boy that I love. Autism steals a lot but that little face and that personality is still there. That little one isn’t a different person just because they have a label.

I wish somebody would’ve told me to apply for every waiver or state assistance possible. It’s going to be hard and while some things get easier with time, new issues always seem to come up. At 3, you might think, I got this but when they get older you might feel different.

I recommend researching and applying for everything you can.  You will almost definitely be put on a waiting list but the sooner you do this, the sooner your child might possibly start receiving services.

Save everything. It seems everybody wants records of everything. Start a folder and save school and medical paperwork. I can almost guarantee somebody will want them at some point. If you have them ready to go, it saves so much time.

Find friends, whether online or in person, that you can share your autism journey with.  It really isn’t easy and there will be days when you don’t feel like you are strong enough to keep going. If you can find some good support, you will have somebody to vent to on a bad day, get suggestions and advice, and just to know you aren’t alone.

Seriously, you aren’t alone! There are so many families out there that are dealing with an autism diagnosis. Many of these people are a wealth of knowledge.

Celebrate everything.  My boys always seemed to learn and do things a little slower than most.  I learned early on to celebrate the little victories. Progress might not be fast but it is there so get excited when they learn something new.

Your plans for your little one will almost definitely have to change.  As they get older, you will start to realize what they are capable of. Don’t let this get you down.

My goal for my boys is to be as independent as possible.  I want both boys to work and have some adult responsibilities. Will they go to college? Probably not but over time I have learned to accept that this is okay.

I strive for them to be the best versions of themselves even if that means bagging groceries or cleaning tables. I don’t know what their future actually holds and I don’t know your child’s circumstances but I can almost guarantee that your plans will have to change so be prepared.

I think the most important advice I can give you is to tell you that this really isn’t the end. You will fight for them, love them, and be your child’s biggest advocate.  It will be hard some days but be thankful and excited for every success and every sweet giggle because those things will not be gone.

This really is just the beginning of a new adventure so buckle up and get ready for the ride.

Sincerely,

Autism Mom x Two

Written by, Christina Herzog

Christina is a Jesus following momma to three sweet, busy boys and one beautiful, independent girl and a wife to a hardworking husband. Autism is a major part of her life since two of her boys were diagnosed. After giving up her teaching career, she has recently become a stay at home mom, blogger, and a freelance writer. Her goal is to show the world that autism is not the end of a happy life but the beginning of a new exciting adventure. Christina blogs at Autism X Two.

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Finding Cooper’s Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you’re never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village….all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to our journey. You can also follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!

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