I distinctly remember the day my son was diagnosed. Parents don’t forget receiving that type of news. Somehow, after listening to the cluster of labels applied to my child, I ended up at the grocery store. The clerk asked calmly, as if my world hadn’t just been crushed, “How are you today?” I shoved down my emotions and provided the expected response, “I’m fine.” I wanted to say the opposite. That day, I did not think anything would ever be ‘fine’ again. After receiving a diagnosis for your child, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and to experience a mixture of many emotions: shock, confusion, denial, sadness, guilt, anger - even relief. It may anchor you to remember that, despite the diagnosis, your child is still your child.
Special events are the stuff of happy memories for most of us, but for children with autism, the departure from routine and avalanche of social expectations in an unfamiliar setting full of strangers can spell potential calamity. ‘No surprises!’ is a tactic worth the preparation and planning effort.
It’s a beautiful vision on the horizon: Your child with autism all grown up, a capable and independent adult. When our children are young, that horizon can seem far away. How will we get there? What should I be doing now?
Many parents of a special needs child appear to parent with grace, balance, and energy. In addition, these parents seem remarkably stress-free and organized. How, in the face of all of these challenges and more, do they keep it together? What habits do they embrace that allow them to be a highly-effective parent for their special needs child?
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