Wednesday, 26 August 2009

support for parents of children with an autistic spectrum disorder

As a mum of 3 children i know how having support is essential. It is essential not only for the children to have different adults in their lives to learn from but it is also essential for the parents.A family which has a child with an autistic spectrum disorder has a whole different set of obstacles to deal with and this can be totally overwhelming.When my son was born it wasn't long before i realized there was something different with his behaviour than the other children of his age. I suppose i was lucky really that i was able to notice his strange behaviours but most of all, accept there may have been an underlying problem. This all became very noticeable from between the ages of 18 months and 2 years. Other children were learning to socialise at toddler group whilst my son was finding 'being nice' a huge mountain to overcome.
Soon he stood out from the crowd as the other children's social and emotional skills were developing at a normal rate and yet he could not mix with them in a proper manner. He was unaware of this at that particular time of his life so it wasn't a problem for him at all. It was me who was really feeling the alienation due to his behaviour. Other mum's would meet up at each other's houses and chat while their little ones played happily together and of course it wasn't long before i wasn't invited. This is where the support started to break down, when really i was in need of it more than them.
As my son grew older there were times when his disorder was noticeable and other times when it wasn't so noticeable and there were 'friends' (and i use that term loosely) that started to drift away from me, or worse still would look upon my son as a 'naughty' child with a mum who obviously couldn't control her child!
Still we had no diagnosis to explain or understand why he was the way he was - but all along i knew exactly what it was so i was as understanding of his fustrations as i could be. I could look into his eyes and see the most beautiful soul that most other people refused to see.
There was the odd person who actually could see him the way i did but most others didn't! What i started to notice was the people who had the time,patience and understanding brought out the best in him; whereas those who couldn't be bothered to look beyond the quirky behaviours most certainly did not!
I could write so much on the struggle of bringing up a child with these difficulties and i'm sure other families who have children with an ASD would be able to relate to them fully. But what i am trying to emphasise is support is a necessity for the families and complete understanding of the child is a must! My son is now 14 years old and has all the support he deserves at school since having the diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorder. He is in a 'normal' secondary school and mixes to the best of his abilities and is constantly battling with being able to control his emotions and fustrations. The most predominent feature of his personality now is that he is the most warmest, kindest individual i know and i truly believe that it is because i never gave up on seeing his true soul, but most of all because i do have some real true friends now who also have nurtured the side of him that was in need of understanding and love rather than only seeing the outbursts of fustrations , because i know, if we all as adults, see any child as being 'bad' or 'naughty' or not worth helping them that's exactly what they will become!!
So if you, as a parent, are living through this at the moment then you are not alone and my advice to you is chose your friends wisely and most of all is never let the outbursts out way the beautiful person your child truly is.
There are many sites that have a wonderful support network with people who are going through similar experiences as your familly so get in touch with them.

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