Parenting is a huge feat to undertake. It requires a certain kind of readiness and acceptance, and a mental fortitude that not a lot of people are equipped with. Simply put, being a parent is tough work. Raising a child to grow up feeling fully loved and confident in a world that at times can be unkind is a challenge that not many are up to face.
Raising a child on the autism spectrum comes with its own set of unique challenges. There are many manifestations of autism in children, but all of them require an amount of mindful navigating, as they are not neurotypical. When it comes to raising an autistic child, creativity and acceptance play a big role.
After getting a diagnosis from your child’s doctor, you will have to think about things like therapies that can help your child hone social and learning skills. But it will require more than that.
To the untrained eye, kids on the autism spectrum may seem unsociable, rowdy, or restless. It’s easy to confuse it with ADHD. Behaviours like averted eyes while speaking, a short attention span or disinterest, or even not wanting to be touched or to socialise with other children can be signs that a child falls somewhere on the spectrum. They may also exhibit habits like flapping their arms, continuous fidgeting, or the inability to sit still for prolonged periods of time.
Learning difficulties like the tendency to repeat words or sentences, inability to continue conversation, or a delay in developing speech can also be a sign. Concepts and sentences that can be “simple” to other kids may be a little more difficult for an autistic child to absorb and understand.
Children who exhibit these symptoms only do so because they are more prone to being overstimulated by their environment, which can result to tantrums or social withdrawal. It’s important to remember that these children are not being “rude”; they simply have different needs that might not have been met yet.
Raising a child on the spectrum is vastly different from your everyday parenting. It’s going to require you to shift your mindset, and find many different ways to help them, as no child is the same. But with creativity and lots of love, you can succeed and help your child become more adjusted to the world.
Nina Alvarez is a Content Producer for Healthcare Channel. Her interests include writing, particularly about the healthcare sector and the many ways it can improve to further benefit people from all walks of life.