Every parent passes through a period of stress and depression when they discover that their child is autistic. Every day is a struggle to cope up with the fact that ‘THIS HAD HAPPENED TO ME’. When the children in your neighborhood run around with their never ending talks, play, mingle with others, make friends, ask a thousand questions to people around them; you will find your son/daughter sitting and playing alone in a corner, not mingling and not making any friends. They seem to be always preoccupied with themselves. Your stress doubles when your kid hasn’t started speaking yet and throws a tantrum banging his/her head, rolling on the ground, sometimes harming self and you don’t have a clue about why he/she is behaving in such a way and how to calm them down. And if the kid has some physical disability associated with autism it adds fuel to the fire.
Let go off all your stress and depression. Autism is not bad enough to get stressed up and depressed like that. I always felt that calling autism as a disorder or condition is not right (I am not trying to outsmart the experts in the field or say that they are wrong, I am just expressing my opinion). Why can’t we just take it as the kid’s unique personality? Why can’t we just stop associating all that the child does with autism? Why can’t we just treat him/her as a child and not an AUTISTIC child? I mean take a look around, there are NORMAL kids who still wets his/her beds, panties at the age of 4 or 5 years (my neighbor’s daughter is 6 years, studying in U.K.G, she still wears a diaper while sleeping at night. She is a perfectly normal kid). Kids who are 3yrs or older but still doesn’t like eating hard textured or soft textured food, kids who sit and talk with self when they are alone. Then why do we have to connect such behavior with autism in autistic kids?
YOU – the best person your child can ever get
Let me tell you one thing, I am not an autism expert, but so far in my journey with autism (4 years), I had observed little things that made me realize that autism is not something to sit and cry. It’s a blessing in disguise and you should be proud of your child’s autism. To the therapists, doctors and all other professionals in the field of autism, your child is their patient. YOU and only YOU can view your son/daughter as a child, as a human being. YOU are the best therapist, trainer, teacher, and friend your child can ever get. Yes, of course, you would need a therapist to train your kid/ kids initially, but whom your child would be when he/she grow up completely depends on you and your attitude. An autistic child is like a cultivatable land that appears barren superficially. Like the farmers who till the barren land to make it fit for cultivation, the therapists and other professionals train your child to look at you, concentrate on something for a period of time, and bring out the child’s ability to talk if he/she is able to talk. But it’s up to YOU to train your child to be a successful person. You should understand that one or two hours at the therapy center is not enough. Only you can teach your child the life skills necessary to survive. Only YOU can give him/her the knowledge of the world around and the most important thing – only you can find out his/her HIDDEN TALENTS and develop it to their advantage.
Be positive – always
The internet is flooded with information regarding autism. You can read it to gain a basic idea about autism if you know nothing or only a little about it. But you should never blindly follow what you had read or what others had told you to follow. Neither should you judge your kid based on the information you had read/heard. Your child is unique; he/she may or may not exhibit those behaviors. You have two options before you
1. Sit and cry and waste your child’s life
2. Accept autism as you would accept any other character of your child, be strong and help the child grow up into a successful person.
Whether your child has disabilities (physical and mental) or no disabilities, you will be wasting every opportunity to train your kid if you sit and cry over it. Yes, we are human beings and we tend to feel depressed and get stressed over when unwanted and unexpected incidents occur in our life. But you should also understand that you cannot let your worries spoil your child’s opportunity to become a better person. You have to be strong and optimistic, at times you may feel low but still you have to keep your hopes high for you are all that your child has got.
It’s your choice to accept autism as a normal behavior or a lifelong disorder. If you accept it as a normal behavior you would feel much better.
It’s not that difficult to understand autism. All you have to do is LISTEN, OBSERVE, UNDERSTAND and then ACT. You don’t have to freak out when your kid throws a tantrum. Like any other children, an autistic child too throws temper tantrums when they are unable to express what they want to their care taker. They know for sure that tantrums would attract your attention to them. Beating them thinking that they are doing it to annoy you would only worsen the situation. You may fail to identify the cause of such behavior initially but you will know it after it gets repeated 2 or 3 times. For example, your child may throw a fit when he/she is hungry or thirsty since he/she can’t tell it to you (verbally or by gesturing). What you have to do is, check whether it’s food time or if it had been too long since he had eaten or drank water. If so show him food and if he/she calms down, teach him to point to the food/water and tell “mummy/mamma food/water” and then offer him/her food to eat or water to drink. You have to do this every time they throw a fit. Gradually they would learn to point or ask it. To understand your kid’s behavior, you need to be calm and relaxed. And when you are relaxed, you can easily know why your child is behaving in a certain way. Teach him/her the correct way of asking things to you or expressing his/her feelings to you and then give them what they want. Observe kids around you and you would notice to your surprise that the normal kids too exhibit some traits that people associate with autism.