What We Wish We Knew

Your child has just been diagnosed with autism.  What does that mean?
From parents who have walked the road awhile, here are the things we wish we could have known at the beginning:

 


Your child is amazing.

Your child loves you.  Even if they don’t say it, they do.  You’ll find your own, unique ways to connect.

Take a breath.  Process.  You have time.  Look for people who can connect with, and who can be a role model for you.

Go easy on the internet – there are weirdos out there.

Your child will grow and develop, like any other child.  Maturity helps with self-regulation.  Forget about who your child might become, and think about who they are now.

Your child has always been autistic.  That’s who they are.  You just didn’t know it.  He’s still the same kid.

Stims are OK.  They are a way of coping with the world – your child has found his own ways to cope with emotions.  It’s okay to stim with your child.

Echolalia is actually a way of learning language.  It’s a form of communication, and your child will learn to communicate better over time.

Special interests are great.  Dive in.  Help your child do what they love – other skills will emerge from that.  These interests will be a way to connect with people.

Your child will never be indistinguishable from their peers, and that may be a good thing.

Still have expectations.  You and your child will set goals, and will achieve them.  And there will be lovely surprises.

Look for people who see the wonderfulness of your child.  They will be the ones who can celebrate every milestone with you, and who will become your community.  People like that are the best kind to have in your life.

Finally, laugh and have fun.  A good life is still about finding joy in beautiful moments.  Teach your child to celebrate those moments too.

May you all find hope and joy in every season and stage of your family life.

Further Reading:

Welcome to the Club on A Diary of a Mom

What Is Autism on Mama Be Good

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