There’s no denying that an autism diagnosis can be tough to come to terms with, especially if you’re a new mom and know very little about what is involved. The truth is that there are so many misconceptions and false information when it comes to autism, that it can often feel overwhelming when you first discover that your child is autistic – but there are many things that you can do to reduce the pressure and lead a comfortable and positive life…
Get a doctor
Whilst virtually every doctor is experienced in autism awareness, you may want to consider one of the many autism doctors to give your child the best possible support during their early years. Having a specialist that you can contact at the drop of a hat will give you more peace of mind and confidence in your ability as a parent, as the truth is not every parent will be able to give you moral support or advice when it comes to dealing with an autistic child.
Consider financial support
In some countries and US states, you might be eligible to receive government or disability support for looking after your autistic child. The money can go towards the cost of childcare, living costs, food, clothing, and activities. Other options include reaching out to charities, who may be able to offer free or discounted childcare or learning classes, or even help you to find and install specialist equipment in your home, such as a sensory room as they grow up.
Think about yourself
It can be tough to know when to take a step back and spend some time focusing on you, but it is important and shouldn’t be overlooked. You’re within your rights to feel sad, frustrated, annoyed or alone, but you should know when to reach out for help from your friends and family, particularly if you’re stressed and want a break from being a parent. Walking the dog, going for a bike ride or taking a few hours to go to the movies can clear your head and help you get back on track – don’t feel guilty or ashamed for wanting time away from your child.
Tell your child
Depending on the age of your autistic child, you may want to consider telling them about their diagnosis and giving them the tools and support they need to deal with it. Some parents want to tell their children as soon as they’re able to process it, whilst others may want to wait until their child is older and can, therefore, understand their diagnosis. Speak with your doctor and psychologist for advice, as they may be able to give you some pointers or help to plant the seeds, which will make your job much easier when telling your child they’re autistic.
Let’s not beat around the bush – an autism diagnosis can be scary and upsetting for a parent – after all, you want the best for your child, and you may be concerned about the health and social implications of a child with autism. Do your research, meet people in the same position as you, and equip yourself with the knowledge and positive mindset you need to be a great parent. There’s no reason why an autistic child shouldn’t live a long, happy, and productive life: they might just need a little extra support to get there than the average kid. You can do it.
Check back soon for more parenting advice, and get in touch if you have any requests.