If there is one thing that experts can agree on when it comes to autism in children, it’s that it can be complicated.
There are many pieces to the autism puzzle and if you have a child who was very recently diagnosed, it can be very frightening not knowing what lies ahead or what to do.
I have been there. My oldest son is on the autism spectrum. He was diagnosed at age 5 with moderate/severe autism. I felt like my whole world had been turned upside down. I had actually “known” and was very aware of some of the signs he had exhibited and that he was not developing as he should from about the age of 18 months, however, hearing the actual diagnosis come from the doctors mouth was earth shattering.
Throughout the years, we have had many ups and downs, yet he has progressed significantly with the help of nutritional intervention and multiple therapies. Now, at the age of 11, he has a mild form of autism and is very happy and healthy.
These are a few of the best tips I have learned along the way.
Acceptance, Awareness and Action
The initial acceptance of the diagnosis is sometimes difficult and one may feel helpless. Once knowledge and understanding are obtained a specific plan can be put in place.
Beyond the challenges, there are many blessings that come through the wonderful personality traits of autism.
1) They have very big hearts; they truly love each person for who they are.
2) They can be completely passionate in the things they do and the things they love.
3) Many are detail oriented.
4) They can be highly intelligent and motivated; many people with autism are those that are creating the latest and best software and computer technology, employed by NASA or some may be college professors.
While there can be many beautiful qualities in autism, there are many struggles as well:
The sleepless nights, the stomach/digestive pains and issues, the headaches, the screaming fits, not being able to express hunger or pain in an effective manner, immune dysfunction, anxiety and aggression.
These physical ailments are the areas that are so important for me as a mother to want to address and to help others understand that these issues can and need to be addressed. Once we implemented nutritional interventions and specific supplements based on my son’s needs, therapies began to be much more effective. It is almost impossible for any of us to function to the best of our abilities when we are feeling miserable. This is why maximizing optimal health is so important for not only these kids, but all of us.
If you meet one child with autism, you meet one child with autism
This was one of the best quotes I heard after my son was diagnosed.
No one child on the autism spectrum is the same. They are so amazingly and uniquely different. They each possess their own strengths and their own struggles which make them the person they are. With the qualities mentioned above, some may fit one person with autism, and some may not.
One child may have no language delays and another may never speak. One child may have anxiety and the other aggression. One child may be a math genius or be able to draw an entire skyline from memory and another child may not have any noticeable “special gifts”. They are each their own person with their own amazing personalities and unique qualities.
Focus on your child’s strengths
There may be some days which are full of anxiety, aggression and tantrums and it is hard to see those strengths but they are there. Find the strengths your child holds and focus on them. Many excel at creative thinking or have exceptional long-term memory. Many also have an incredible eye for detail and can work insistently without distraction. Several are incredibly empathic and love and accept everyone unconditionally. Help them find their niche and strong points and encourage them.
Listen to your mommy gut
There are many instances early in our journey that I wish I would have listened to that inner voice, my instinct, talking…yelling…at me. The mother’s intuition is an incredible gift given to us that we should not ignore. If you feel there is something with your child that needs to be addressed, make sure you stick with your gut and follow it.
My son has been an absolute blessing in my life. He has taught me so much about love and life and passion. I have found passion in things of this world, because of him. He truly has the biggest heart of anyone I know, and he would give away his last possession to someone if he thought it would make them happy. He fully loves and has so much passion and curiosity. My son has a very protective and compassionate quality and he is truly an empathic person. He has a true gift in many areas of life and I know he will be successful. I want him to be the best he can possibly be—finding his true passions and living life to the fullest.