Monday, April 02, 2007

When You Know Better

When my youngest daughter was finally diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at the age of thirteen, my first initial reaction was relief. Not because I wanted her to have a label pinned to her for the rest of her life, but more so because I finally had somewhere to turn. I had always suspected my daughter was not quite like other children but until the diagnosis I did not have a clue how to parent her. Suffice to say there were times when I just thought she was being stubborn and was not as patient and loving, as I should have been. Having never dealt with this in my other children it was all trial and error for me and I regret to say I did not always do the right thing when it came to my daughter.

The night of the diagnosis, I wept uncontrollably and felt totally inadequate as a parent. What if I did the wrong thing and didn’t help her to develop to her highest potential? I knew our lives would never be the same and I had to learn new ways to parent her in order to help her thrive.

This was all a bit daunting and a huge responsibility but I found so much support and information available to me that I knew in my heart we were going to be OK. I realized is better to know than to be in the dark when it comes to having your child diagnosed with Autism or an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

My daughter at fifteen is thriving and we are developing a great relationship. There are still days when I catch myself and have to reevaluate how I communicate with her because she is a teenager and that in itself has its challenges.

My advice to any parents who have children who have Autism or fall in the Autism spectrum is to learn everything you can. There are special programs that will help your child and also a lot of support for you and your family. To quote Maya Angelou, “When you know better, you do better.” Knowing is half the battle and will help ensure that you do the very best for your child.

Happy Parenting

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