Four Step Cycle
I have been thinking about my self growth as a parent. I have also had the opportunity to witness other parents as a teacher and a therapist. There is something profound about being a parent with the child on the spectrum.
It seems to be a common theme that the first step involves a great amount of fear that triggers the mamma bear. Very quickly the collaboration with teachers and other caregivers can get heated when we feel that our children’s best interest is being threatened. It does not feel good to be treated as if you are the problem or told incorrect information. Most of us ignore little slights and ignorant comments. At some point, most of us have some sort of clash that pushes us to go one way or another. We think we have to just accept what a teacher, doctor, therapist or other person says or maybe we instinctively know that they are wrong. I remember feeling myself pulled and knowing that I had to choose my son’s “side” even if it meant war and burning bridges. Not all parents experience this but most of the ones I know have similar stories.
This may be a necessary step. We get pushed out of our comfort zones of relying on professionals to give us answers. It is not comfortable but change usually isn’t. I believe that autism has something to do with the evolution of our species. Maybe we are just in the cutting edge of a major transformation in our humanity. Like all new adventures there will be unknowns, fear, frustration and confusion. There can also be brilliant insights, new ideas, and amazing truth.
My advice for newbies?
Surround yourself with people that are not afraid. My ABA therapist saved me by her bravery. She gave me hope. She did not agree with the portrait of my son that the school saw. She saw potential and she had the skill to create a workable plan.
You have no room for negative doomsday folks. Even family. Yeah, sometimes there is a feeling that the mom is guilty somehow. Don’t go down that road ! I did and all it took me to a very dark and dangerous place.
Look for love. There will be helpers that show up. Say yes to them!
Buckle up and imagine your team. You are not alone.
There are many millions of us out there that dedicate our lives to understanding and trying to be helpful to this special group of beautiful
souls that we call autistic.
So, being part of the “club ” is not a terrible thing unless you want it to be. We may be in the same boat but it doesn’t have to be the Titanic.
The only remedy for fear is love. Figure out how to add more in your life or you are not going to be any help to anyone. If you love your child, please allow yourself the resources you need first. You can’t give what you don’t have.
Oh, by the way- I still feel fear but have learned that you have to push through it and do things anyway. (Like my son’s IEP meeting tomorrow)
Step Two- Overcoming Obstacles …