Raising a child with Autism Persistence versus Perfection

“What is the most important quality for a parent who wants to help their child on the Autism Spectrum?

“As a parent of a child with Autism:
• Do you feel guilty when your child is having a tantrum or seems to be in pain but you don’t know what is causing it and how to stop it?
• Do you believe at times that your child doesn’t love you?
• Do you believe that you are not fun or interesting enough because over and over again your child doesn’t play with you or seems to simply “ignore” you?

“Many parents believe they have to be perfect in order to be able to raise a child with Autism. Many believe they are failing as a parent if they don’t have all the answers right away. They worry and feel guilty as they ask ‘How can I help my child engage more?’; ‘What is causing my child to scream in the middle of the night instead of sleeping?’; ‘What is the best school for my child?’

“If you relate to any of these situations – it might be because you too believe you need to be perfect (whatever that means to you) in order to help your child. Here at the Autism Treatment Center of America, we actually believe differently!

“You do not need to be perfect in order to find the answers, in order to be patient, in order to be fun and creative. You don’t have to be perfect in order to help your child! What it takes to help a child with Autism is PERSISTENCE!!!

“When your child screams at night and refuses to go to sleep and you don’t know what’s going on (while maybe feeling frustrated and guilty yourself)…
“When your child chooses to play with a string for hours and hours on end and pays no attention to you…
“When you have spent lots of hours and lots of money on speech therapy and your child is not yet talking…
“It is not your fault. This is not happening because of your parenting! Those are symptoms of your child’s Autism and not of your parenting

“You CAN though help your child through all of these challenges.
The first step is to know that at times you might not have an immediate answer for the challenges that you are facing.
The second step is to know: that PERSISTENCE AND DETERMINATION will lead you to the answers you want – even when it seems to take forever!
We can’t find the answers sometimes until we try different things, until we observe, until we educate ourselves about different subjects. And sometimes the answers don’t come to us as fast as we would want.

“As parents, you are your child’s best resource. That doesn’t mean you will always have the answer ready. Your child is unique. That means you might have to be a “happy detective” and really search for some of those answers. Enjoy this journey (when possible) and hold on to your persistence. Persistence will carry you through this journey!

“Persistence will heal your child’s digestive issues.
Persistence will help your child sleep well at night, all night long.
Persistence will help your child learn to communicate with you.
Persistence will open the door for your child to want to play and engage with you.
Persistence will help you know that you are perfect just the way you are now. You are the best parent your child could have! Perfection lies in loving yourself today, knowing you are doing the best you can. Perfection is knowing that you love your child more than anyone else (even when you don’t know what to do) and nothing will stop you from helping your child!!!
Persistence will help you enjoy yourself and this journey with your child without feeling guilty – because it’s not about doing it perfectly. It’s about not giving up!”

Written by Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher

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