Some things to avoid when you parent a child with autism
Parenting children with autism is not an easy task. It requires a lot of patience, effort and love for the child. There are many mistakes that parents make out of worry and concern for their child’s future as well, which is important to keep in mind. Also remember, there is no one approach that is best. Every child and family is different, so do keep that in mind and do not blindly follow or compare.
Parents must understand that autism cannot be cured, it is a developmental disorder. Every child has unique characteristics and parents have to work on strengthening and improving those. Like in my case, I have learned not to stop my son from doing what he likes. I let him be, and that is the best thing. Do not compare your child with other kids on the spectrum. As parents, provide them the best therapies so that they can become self-sufficient in life-Smrithi Rajesh, Autism parent
Here are some things to keep in mind as a parent.
- Competitiveness – This is good in the professional space but not when you are parenting. Every child is unique and it is important to understand that. So, stop feeling upset that your child is not good at certain activities like other kids.
- Letting them learn on their own – Not all kids can learn or do things on their own. So, leaving your child to its own devices is not a good idea always. They must be trained to do daily tasks and activities. But don’t try and control them too much and give them the space to explore on their own.
- Expecting perfection. – Most parents want their children to be perfect in academics, extra-curricular activities and even socialising. But this does not work with children who have autism because they will be unable to do things like children who do not have any disabilities. Their verbal, social, motor and coordination skills are deeply affected. It is definitely important to have high expectations for your child. Every parent does. But also understand that your child may not be able to live up to your expectations.
- Being over-protective – Every parent cares for their child. When your child has a disability, chances are high that you feel you need to over protect them. In fact, some parents follow their child with autism to schools, play areas and almost every where the child goes to. That does not help because your child must be given their space to know and understand things on their own.
“Some parents tend to punish their children who have autism because they do not adhere to the norms. Such physical punishments are only going to have an adverse effect on the child. Each child with autism shows different levels of anger, frustration and aggressiveness. Parents must understand that and provide them with therapies to calm them down”, says Vanitha S Rao, Co-founder, Sunshine Autism Trust, Bengaluru
Above all, remember to be mindful, loving and patient. Seek out support groups that can help when you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the challenges.
ALSO READ: What causes autism? Some information
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