“This morning, while my family and I were getting ready for the day, my younger daughter who is 6 years old, came into the kitchen and asked me to fix her hair in a ponytail. I was in the middle of packing her lunch for school, so I told her I could not help her.
“So the little one disappeared into the bathroom and I totally forgot about her ponytail. Just 7 minutes before the school bus was supposed to arrive, she came back into the kitchen looking great with her hair all done and a smile on her face. She announced to me, ‘I did my hair all by myself. I don’t need you to help me anymore!’ I had not yet seen such a level of independence and strength coming from her.
“At that point, I remembered the times in my life, when I too had the most visceral, liberating experience of realizing ‘I don’t need anyone to do this for me. I can do it myself!’
“This is not about never asking for help. It is about knowing that when help is not available, we can find the strength within ourselves, that we did not previously know we had.
“Maybe one of the following examples have happened to you:
• You have not received the support you would like from a family member.
• A doctor or teacher told you that your child could not be helped.
• You felt like there is too much on your plate and you could not handle it.
“How about if you embrace this as an opportunity to find within yourself a new level of skill or strength?
“Here are some helpful perspectives to tell yourself when you are not receiving the support you want:
1. ‘I know my child best. There is no one better than I, who can help my child.’
2. ‘My love for my child is the most powerful asset I have. Through my love, I will find my way.’
3. ‘I am forever evolving and, what I am capable of accomplishing today is so much more vast than what I was able to do yesterday. Today I might just be able to do this!’
“Next, persist and allow yourself some time to conquer this new quest. You have conquered challenges before; you can do it again.
“Think of when you first learned to drive a car or when you were first able to take public transportation by yourself. Think of all the places you could freely go, without needing someone else to take you there.
“We can create a lot more for ourselves in our lives if we believe we do not need others to do it for us, but instead, believe we can do it ourselves.
“We here at the Autism Treatment Center of America are cheering you on!”
Camila Titone, Senior Son-Rise Program Teacher