Momservation: “When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Thomas Jefferson
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It is a strange and so far unexplained mystery of our generation for the dramatic rise in autism. If it hasn’t touched you I’d be amazed.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) have infiltrated my friends. My neighbors. My family.
I have seen ASD caught early and with specialized support services have amazing results—a child flourishing despite their brain being programmed to hold them back.
I have witnessed denial and ambivalence toward seeking out the programs and support that would give hope and direction to an ASD child floating a lonely, rudderless journey lost at sea.
April is Autism Awareness Month and I wanted to share with my readers, who’ve undoubtedly been touched by ASD, a message of hope.
It comes from Marcia Hinds. She is Ryan’s mom and author of the book, I Know You’re In There, Winning Our War Against Autism.
At age 4, Ryan was diagnosed with autism. He is now a systems engineer at a major aerospace company. But as proud as that makes Marcia she is most thrilled that he is happy, with a great group of friends, and an active social life.
Since I believe educating ourselves is the first step in understanding ASD, I’m sharing with you one of Marcia’s blogs below to better understand the many challenges parents of autistic kids face.
Parenting by the “normal rules” doesn’t’ apply if you have a kid with autism. Some of our relatives believe our kids are spoiled and we don’t know how to parent. I wasn’t a bad mother. Everyone just thought I was. Autistic kids do strange things. And parents do stranger things in order to cope and survive. Soon we don’t even notice that what we do appears bizarre to other people. It is not about being a bad parent or having a bad child. My son was marooned on his own island and I was trying to figure him out and struggling to remain in denial, all at the same time.
I was consumed with self-doubt. Part of me actually believed my relatives when they blamed all of Ryan’s behaviors on me. What they failed to realize, and what I failed to realize too, was that parenting by the normal rules just didn’t apply to Ryan or to any child with autism. This happens to be the moment when your well-meaning relatives jump into the family chaos and announce your kid is spoiled, out of control, and you’re not doing it right. I’m sure I don’t need to provide any examples of what any of them do or say to an A-Club parent reading this. For all of us, a million painful moments come to mind.
What most of our relatives don’t realize is that their advice about how to fix things isn’t helping. We have enough guilt and anguish all on our own. Our personal hell becomes even more intense when relatives, doctors, teachers and otherexperts can’t wait to tell us that the reason our children are out of control is because of the things we do, or don’t do, or maybe ate, or maybe touched, or maybe… The list of mother-blaming reasons is endless.
If your family believes you are spoiling your child and their strange behavior is your fault, don’t buy it. Just walk away. Don’t try to explain how things really are. Just continue to do what your gut says your child needs. Yes, you will make mistakes, but you will learn how to get it right, and your self-esteem won’t be further eroded by their caustic remarks. It doesn’t make a difference if everyone thinks you are the worst parent in the world. It only makes a difference if you let what they say get to you.