Lessons Learned That Changed Our Lives

Asperger Miracles Book Cover

A diagnosis—no matter what it is—effects the entire family and its dynamics, so working on everyone’s needs helps the outcomes of each member as well as the functioning unit. Co-ordinating all of this is monumental but is worth the effort. Here are some key lessons I learned that eased our journey and may translate to yours: 

Sandy: 

Reflections, parent to parent 

  • No matter how busy, find time for you and what you enjoy 
  • Utilize sitters to allow focused attention on each child and what’s important to him or her 
    • The same with your partner or spouse 
    • Each relationship must be nourished separately, along with the family supporting and enjoying each other as a whole 
  • Enlist the help of siblings, but not so much as to foster resentment  
  • Educate the siblings on the differences and needs of their brother or sister 
    • Understanding is important for empathy and acceptance 
  • Find your village of support people: family, trusted sitters, friends, professionals, and other parents who can relate to your needs and provide respite through venting, suggestions, or exchange of childcare 
    • Advocate for what you and your child need 
  • Pad extra time into readying the special-needs child for activities or outings to decrease stress and impatience  
  • Plan ahead. Prepare and transition your child for every new experience, change, and developmental stage  
  • Prepare for the future but take one day at a time. 
    • Do not overwhelm yourself by currently looking at every life challenge you imagine awaits your child 
      • For example, if your child is in preschool, plan ahead for kindergarten or first grade, but don’t yet stress about college or employment 
  • Volunteer to help in your child’s classroom or school activities 
    • Gain an objective view of your child’s interactions, progress, strengths, and needs 
    • Witness techniques that the professionals use to intervene and interact with your child to increase your arsenal of effective responses 
  • Network with other parents and professionals at schools and conferences to learn about ideas, events, programs, or expanded insights into your child (and sibling considerations) 
  • Seek a social niche for your child 
    • Involve him/her in activities that bring joy, incite passion, hone strengths, and build confidence 
  • Teach your child organization, and work on his or her executive functioning skills, reinforcing the efforts and suggestions of professionals 
  • Talk to your child about his/her feelings and struggles; ask and then listen 
  • Recognize even small victories with praise and reinforcement 
  • There is joy in raising a child with differences!
  • Do not create worry over what you cannot control—just do your best   

NOTE: The above is an excerpt from our article that was originally published in Exceptional Needs Today Magazine, Issue 7, January 2022 (reprinted with permission). Exceptional Needs Today Magazine is a fellow gold-level Mom’s Choice Awards® winner! 

To read much more on lessons that David and I learned during our journey together, read our 2-time award-winning book… Expect a Miracle: Understanding and Living with Autism

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