Finding out that your child has autism can be a challenging and confusing time.
You want what’s best for your child, and if the diagnosis is relatively new, you’re likely wondering how you can parent a neurodiverse child.
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When something affects about 1 in 54 children in the United States, it’s a relief that there are others out there who know exactly what you’re going through.
Parenting a neurodiverse child has its ups and downs, but it’s a journey you will be taking with your child throughout their life.
For starters, here are eight good tips for parents raising a child with autism.
A great way to navigate this new diagnosis is to talk with other parents who parent a neurodiverse child.
Although every child with autism is unique, it can help to have a support group to talk about your thoughts and feelings and ask questions.
You can have a support system to lean on, and it can help you feel less isolated throughout this new journey.
You should also begin educating yourself about your child’s condition.
Attend all doctor appointments with them, and find online resources and books to learn more about your child’s disorder. When you have questions, reach out to your primary care physician for answers.
Be aware of your child’s symptoms and observe your child.
The more you know about autism spectrum disorder, the better informed you’ll be to make decisions.
Children with autism spectrum disorder often have unique talents and capabilities. Make sure to celebrate those!
Many accomplished individuals, especially in the entertainment industry, have autism and have been able to succeed because their supporters celebrated their differences.
Focus on your child’s strengths and find ways to nurture them.
Children and adults with autism do best when they have a schedule and routine.
Be consistent with their care and treatment, and set up a daily routine for them to follow.
This includes having regular times for meals, bedtime, therapy, appointments and school.
Keep any disruptions to the routine at a minimum, and be sure to tell your child in advance of any new additions to a schedule.
Although there is no “autism treatment,” there are ways to help symptoms and regulate your child’s behaviors.
For example, some neurodiverse children have trouble communicating and need speech therapy to help with various non-verbal cues and gestures.
Others with autism may need to take medication to help them get through the day. No two children have the same treatment plan, so ensure you tailor it to your child.
Sometimes, the behavior of a child with autism spectrum disorder may be unpredictable.
Parents who have a child newly diagnosed with autism may be wary of taking them out of the house.
However, the more you take them on everyday activities, like going to the grocery store or the park, the more exposure they’ll get to others so that they can get used to the world around them.
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Finally, take time for yourself. You may have the urge to spend all of your time and energy on your child’s care and diagnosis, but if you fail to take time for yourself, you’ll get burnt out quickly and may struggle to be the parent you want to be.
It will take time to get into a routine and find the right therapy and medication for your child, but keeping your body and mind in shape can help you better face any challenges that lie ahead.
Finding balance in your life as a parent of a child with autism will take some time.
Use these tips to practice self-care and accept your child for the beautiful individual they are!