Planning for the times ahead

Planning for the times ahead

As parents of a child with Autism, you may be looking for answers regarding this neurological condition.  You may be looking for help and not sure where to turn.  I hope to be able to answer some of those questions.  Should you not have your questions answered, please feel free to email me through my profile page.

Autism like so many disorders is not an easy one to pinpoint, having many characteristics of several disorders, or maybe those disorders just have components of Autism.  As a parent of a child diagnosed with this heartbreaking disorder, you will want a diagnosis as soon as possible so that treatment can begin immediately.  Should testing show that you child does not have Autism, I am very happy for you, but should the other be true; the quicker treatment begins the better the outlook for your child and your family.

You know what your child is exhibiting as behavior and you will have the opportunity to become a part of the treatment for your child.  Right now you may be grieving too much to be of help; however just getting your child the help necessary is a tremendous step towards making your child’s life as productive as possible.   Early diagnosis and beginning treatment is very necessary for the child to grow physically, intellectually and socially to their full potential.  Having said all this, the immediate family of a special needs child is tried beyond all limits.

Parents of children with special needs are far more likely to divorce, resort to socially acceptable drugs to alleviate the pain and stress of the situation.  And the brothers and sisters of a child with special needs are often prone to acting out behaviors, and all are more susceptible physical illness such as colds, flu and alike.  Let’s look at what can help the family make it past this time as a whole unit with as little disruption as possible.

First of all as the parent’s don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help.  Your burden is far greater than that of the ‘normal’ family down the block, and as we all know all families need help from time to time.  The parents need to have a whole day, as soon as diagnosis is made, completely to themselves, for setting guidelines and charting a course within your abilities.   As parents you are the ones who will guide this ship through calm seas and tumultuous storms.  And so it is only in the best interest of everyone involved for you to sit down together and decide (with eyes wide open and heart side by side) the course you will chart for this family.  You will need to make plans that are flexible but ridged; plans that include all family members but also just you the individual;  plans for all the children of this family, first as a unit and then separately;  and plans about how you will help the other parent work through this diagnosis and learn techniques of help.  If you feel like this is more of a business plan for a multi-million dollar company, you wouldn’t be far from the truth.  And should you be a single parent, all of the above applies and you will need to enlist family and friends quickly to help out.

Beginning your planning with eyes wide open means look at all you must tackle with a clear vision, don’t think of this a short term situation, because it is not; don’t think that you will be able to fix this situation, because chances are you will not (but if you can then you are light years ahead and please come back and help us).  This planning maybe of more help to you written down with journaling to follow, explaining the pros and cons of the actual meeting of goals.  This is a live adventure and this course will need to be reworked and recharted from time to time.

The plan should provide time for individual private time, for family time, for date time with your spouse (if you are a single parent, use your private time and, also, take the date time for you to treat yourself to something special once a week, you are carrying a workload for two), for individual time with each child in this family (do not count the time in therapy, medical visits, or educational meetings) spend time celebrating each child.  You may feel this is a lot of time to work into your already over challenged day of working for a living, cleaning and so forth.  And you are right, however, for this family to survive the challenges ahead you will need to meet the physical and emotional needs of everyone touched by your beautiful child.  And as the planning is going on, please don’t forget the grandparents of your young family.  They also need to be brought into the picture and allowed to provide for your child (children).   They may turn out to be your greatest resource.