Common Autism Recovery Mistakes and How to Avoid Them - Part 1
If hindsight is 20/20, then looking back at all the errors I made in the past 15 years, coupled with watching and listening to others, has given me clarity to summarize them and hopefully, help you avoid them. I have seen 12 common mistakes that parents make. In this and the following two articles, I will describe them and show you how you can avoid them.
This first article focuses on what happens early in your journey.
1. Believing the lie that everything will be okay
Before a diagnosis of autism is formally made, most parents instinctively know that something is different about their child. Maybe he doesn’t play with other children. Or he can read and write at age 2 but has no interest in looking at other people. Instead of sitting like other children do at his first music class, he runs in circles around the group. At home, he has extreme hyperactivity, is difficult to get to sleep and doesn’t stay asleep.
The list could go on and on, and include more behaviors and a huge list of physical red flags, but parents will lie to themselves and come up with reasons why this is normal. ‘My child is so exceedingly bright that he has no interest in the mundane music class or interaction with other children’. Or, parents are deeply concerned but the pediatrician says, “This is typical toddler behavior. He’ll outgrow it.” “Maybe you need to look at your parenting skills.” “He’ll talk when he wants to. No need to worry about his speech.”
Bottom line: if you are concerned, don’t ignore your gut parental instinct. Most certainly do not wait, because the earlier you intervene, the better for your child.
2. Taking time to grieve
Has someone died? If not, pull yourself together and get going. There is no time to waste. All those hopes and dreams you had for your child are your hopes and dreams. That child stimming in front of you is still your child, waiting for you to find the master key that unlocks the door to his recovery.
Bottom line: grieving over your lost child is a fallacy. Put yourself in your child’s place. Where there is life, there is hope.
3. Believing the “experts”
When someone tells you recovery is unlikely or impossible, do not believe them. There are enough children recovering now that you should consider a naysayer as someone who is expressing their own limited thinking.
Bottom line: the sky's the limit, and there is nothing wrong with hope.
In Part 2, I’ll talk about mistakes I see happening during childhood.