It’s been seven years since we’ve heard the word “Autism” under our roof for the first time. We went a long way from diagnosis to acceptance of it. Autism is not our only challenge, but our son is also diagnosed with severe developmental delay. I know that many families got similar challenges and we all took it differently. What matters the most, is how we are dealing with it.
It’s tough but you can do it.
We always encourage our son to try new things, but at the same time, we are accepting his NO. Giving him time and space to think, without any push as he likes to be in charge. Sometimes people don’t understand that with autism parents have this amazing ability to haggle, almost like making a transaction between a child and a parent or proposed activity.
Like we did – to convince our boy to have a 6 km walk – as he wasn’t happy to do it – we offer him a trip to shop before – he got himself a wee ice cream and walk happily a great part of a walk on West Highland Way in Tyndrum. You should see his face when he saw all the amazing views. It’s hard to explain to him why the walk is great, but he agreed to it and he cannot be disappointed.
Doubt. It’s written into everyday living. Sometimes we all have to pick our battles.
You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone.
Our boy is slightly overweight, he’s diet is very narrow, he eats few things across and with this mentioned even us watching what he eats, reducing sugars and junk food, trying to make his days more active is hard for him to lose weight. He also attending dietician checkouts every 6 weeks. Not once I have heard that we are bad parents by allowing our son to be fat and I should be ashamed of myself – really, got few of those emails in my inbox but you know what? I don’t give a damn about peoples opinion about it.
We are trying everything possible, doing regular attempts to introduce new foods, make changes to help him manage his body weight and if anyone will give you crap like this, just tell him to piss off. Our life is hard enough, we are harsh on ourselves without these nasty messages and judgements of others who usually have no clue about raising a child with additional needs.
Give yourself time to rest and don’t beat yourself up.
We all could be better parents, we all could do more – but we are only humans and I believe that if you’re trying to do your best- you’re doing your best. Sometimes I was getting so frustrated with myself for not doing more, asking myself – Did I do all in my power?
Many of my worries were not necessary and I was really too hard on myself. Work, kids school, autism education goals, CPM’s work with a child at home, trying to teach them as much as possible and give them tools to be independent and getting frustrated with my own way of thinking on doing not enough. Stop that now.
We can’t do much more than what we are capable of doing. I love my son’s teachers approach – They’re always reminding us that our children need parents. Loving, rested happy parents not another set of teachers or therapists. Our children with additional support needs are awesome, you are awesome too, give yourself time to rest and recharge batteries.
Look into your children’s needs and focus on happiness, not on achievements.
Our children face many difficulties and challenges, especially with the pandemic of COVID19.
With lack of school, being locked at home, our children might not understand what’s going on and why everything they know just vanished. My son was very edgy and he couldn’t cope with the lockdown. Look for inspiration and ways to make your child happy more than following homeschooling guidance.
Try some arts and crafts, don’t change your house to a classroom, this wouldn’t be good. My son, for example, got clear rules and boundaries between those two places – he’s not bringing home school – check amazing SEN RESOURCES BLOG. This page is a temple of knowledge and it will definitely help if you will run out of ideas.
Try to be positive.
It might be hard when your child’s got destructive behaviour or is in pain but we don’t know how to help. During my work in SEN school sometimes I felt totally helpless. I knew that something is not right but I could not figure it out. As a parent of a child, these moments are just killing me. I cried with my son many times, but you know what? I still believe that, as a parent, I have the responsibility to make sure that above all challenges of everyday life I need to put the happiness of my children and stability of my mental health above education, money or anything material.
Look after yourself and you will be best parent possible. Happiness in us.