My child is autistic? What do I do?

Autism scares. The moment a parent learns from the doctor or a specialist that his child shows such characteristics or is autistic, he find himself in a confused and desperate situation. It has affected his child, the one that he wanted the best for, as all parents do about their children. These parents, differing in character and personalities, do not react in the same way. The same with the roles in a couple, the mother has a different reaction from the father. One does not want to believe or cannot believe, although doubt that something is not going as it should has been tormenting them for a long time. The other cannot believe, because he or she has done everything for his child, has been a model parent, fulfilling every need and desire for his or her child. Others become so dismayed from this event that they lose it. They change their lifestyle, abandon work and everything else, and dedicate themselves to the child, or more specifically to his problem, by making matters worse.

There others who believe that now they should become and act as a specialist for their child and give up their so much needed role as a parent, a role that give them the desire to live. No one can teach you how to life, neither parents, because that is impossible. This idea comes from the young parents, who although in their 20s and 30s are still “childlike” because they still expect everything in life from their parents. For almost everyone the biggest question is Why us? Will our child become like their peers, go to school and become capable for himself? And they are right. The information available on autism is scary, shocking I would say. There’s no cure. These children can find relief only in the States or the UK.

The same with internet, where most of the parents go to so-called doctors who have nothing in common with the real profession, healers, or advisors on everything, bamboozle them even more. Thus begins the wandering from a doctor to a healer. In my opinion this is the most damaging period for the parent, because he or she is become part of a circle that increases autism, as well as for the child, who is losing his “best years”, this is what I’d like to call early childhood years, where wonders, even though in good faith do not result as such for them. It is easy to speak from your point of view, is what some of them think. But it is not. I am telling you that I’ve seen so many children in these years that even if I was made of stone I would be hurting, and I’m not being modest by adding that I do participate in their pain and love (using the words of Edmond Tupja).

Who would dare act indifferent or worse mean before such a beautiful and innocent being as the child. When we grow up things change. Our thinking changes and we became angry and curse the other, oftentimes with reason, because those older than us usually in our everyday life make you. But childhood is the period when we are the best, we are still innocent, we lack the grown up world or they have not managed to teach us the filthy tricks of living. However, let’s go back to our problem. I would like to quote the words of some people, not ordinary, but very famous, some of whom have suffered from this problem on their own.

Children affected from autism have the necessary abilities to move forward and evolve. Today, despite what some old fashioned practioner or literature says there is treatment for autism. It is important that this effective evaluation and treatment begins as soon as possible: the earliest the intervention, the better and fast the results.

Only in this way, despite their slow development in comparison with their peers, these children will be independent. And as I wrote below, they have great knowledge about this field. They have faced autism and they have managed to become not only independent, but they have become the best in different fields of life. What I want to say is that the key for these victories, as well as smaller victories, are the parents of these children, not only the children with these problems. The way we act before our younger ones builds the next man or woman that they will become. The stance and the way you face with this problem, as dismaying and confusing that it can be, it is decisive.

At first I would suggest to pull yourself together, and do this without being alarming, but look for health centers where the child is evaluated from a multidisciplinary team. This is the first step to take after the diagnosis, and half of the job in my opinion if you will pay attention to the people who are evaluating your child. Trust me, the old saying “He who thinks, wins” is a proper one because there’s not time to be lost, get the best information and trust in the real specialists and not the ones who pity you or give you false hope.

Autism is mining for your child’s life, but if caught in early childhood or in time it becomes such if you let it untreated. Therefore the first step taken to learn from specialists who know what they are talking about and the belief that nothing goes away with complaining or suppositions, but being down to earth is decisive. Life goes on and the child though autistic, feels better when he/she sees that he has a father or a mother that act as such for him/her. The child with problems more than any other child needs to distinguish the way family works, the relations among its members. He feels them and is affected by those relations more than anyone else. When a child is affected by autism, you should stand by them, encourage them play, and talk to them about everything and in a constant manner.

To talk to them about the pie you’re making, how you are making it, who will eat it and where they will eat it; what happens in this world; you should talk to him about the things that surround him, and then comment on them, starting with the tiny strands of grass on the ground up to the helicopter flying in the sky. The mother at home verbalizes everything that she does with him in his/her eyes, the father also, and this should occur daily and preferably only with the child. Together with that think about the environment. The environment belongs also to the child, therefore a home, a little “gym” where there are no risks and as a result no No-s the most appropriate place to perform all kinds of activities with the child. Do not be satisfied and do not encourage the maneuvers he makes to the computer, the mobile phone, or the fact that he gets distracted in front of the TV. You should not use it as a tool to achieve goals such as feeding or to leave each other alone. Turn off the TV, or better throw it away is what I tell parents who show surprise listening to me, as it will not only save the child, but also themselves. Consider him/her as other children and take him with you in the matrimonial bed. You should show the same love to him as to others. Also in the kindergarten request the same treatment from educators, as everyone else. Stay by him, not pitting him, but rejoicing in his childhood, as he/ she won’t be that way for long. Consider him/her a real interlocutor, although you are the only one speaking, he feels and records in very sensitive “ways”. Spread peace for yourself and around him. Since language does not impress him much, notice carefully: he more visual. Help him with gestures, mimicry, but never neglect using the word. Be talkative but pleasant, is what I tell parents, and never be insisting for him to talk.

You are not experts, you are parents, and your role in his growth is another. Be careful with the way you behave. For me the greatest evil of autism is the fact that it has the ability to isolate you, meaning to make you the same and isolate you in its world and “plight”. If you have fallen into this trap, it is difficult to come out, but not impossible. Start from the beginning by making it clear to him that things are not achieved by shouting or by being aggressive. If you let him have his way, even once, he will start to use these tactics to win things. Show him that some things are only yours, in the same way as some things are only his, for example: This man here is my husband and your father. In the evening we go to the room to sleep together and not with you. We love you, but your place is here. Continue with life as before, especially go to work and leave the child in the nursery or daycare as long as possible. In the afternoon don’t stop dealing with him, but don’t be annoying, trying to teach them things. You must not forget what you have been told by the specialists, daily intensive therapy according to the needs of the child.

You must be patient, because the specialist will always give you homework, but slowly also skill. Act so, always havingin mind the triangle that we mentioned in the beginning: structuring in the family, in day care and intensive therapy. It is a triangle that autism cannot avoid. Autism may come, and, as we have said, this is not your fault, but you must know that even if we remove the roots, all your and our merits is when you come and ask to help each-other.