As a fellow autism mom, I know and understand the day to day struggles. Parenting, in general, is the toughest job in the world. These little people literally depend on you for everything. Every decision you make directly affects them…that is a daunting thought. Special needs parenting, well, that adds a whole new dimension.
First, it’s realizing that there is something different about your child.
It’s worrying and fretting about those differences.
It’s searching to find answers.
It’s finally getting a diagnosis.
It’s worrying, again, about what that diagnosis means for their future.
It’s trying to maneuver the world of intervention to determine what your child needs.
It’s fighting to get those services for your child.
Then, the worry comes back – am I doing enough? Will he ever (insert a variety of things here: play, talk, sleep through the night, be potty trained, go to school, make a friend, live alone someday, have someone to take care of him when I’m gone….)
Sometimes, it seems to a never-ending cycle of worrying, fighting, searching, and crying.
We worry about our children. We want to give them everything that they need in order to be successful. We work with them every single day. We help them learn things that many parents take for granted: learning to imitate. Learning to play. These and many other things must be deliberately taught to our kids on the spectrum…and that can be tiring. Having a neurotypical child has shown me all of the things that he learned on his own that I took for granted - because his brother has be directly taught to do those things.
I know this life, and want you to know that you aren’t alone in it. There are many of us with you, right there in the trenches.
One thing that has helped me is living in the moment. For the longest time, I wished away time, hoping and praying for progress.
“When he’s __ years old, he will surely be doing this.”
“When he can __, things will get easier.”
I try to not do that anymore. I look at where he is now, realizing how far he’s come, and I’m thankful for that. I still hope for progress, but I try to focus on his abilities now. I try to not compare him to other kids. There is no other kid in the world like him, and he’s doing things in his time. He’s making such huge strides right now, and I am so proud of him just as he is.
So if you’re having a moment, and you’re worrying, fretting, or wondering if you’re doing enough – it’s okay. Have your moment…then pick yourself up and fight for your kid, like you always do. Be thankful for them and everything they can do. There is always something to be thankful for!