Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Coping With Autism Diagnosis - You're Not Alone

Posted by Sarah Sweetz Akhza at 8:40 PM
Coping With Autism Diagnosis - You're Not Alone

It could be Autistic Spectrum Disorder, Asperger's, Pervasive Development Disorder, ADHD, Tourette's, or any other mental disabillity and any other mental and physical disabilities.

Knowing that your child or loved one that you once dreamt of is not the ideal and flawless child and the dream is shattered is very heartbreaking and emotionally upsetting. It can even break a relationship. It may perhaps damage a perfectly normal relationship to cause an immense psychological strain on a relationship.

It undoubtedly puts a huge strain on a family, the family members including siblings and especially the main carer. Psychotherapy or any counselling should be sought to help you with this side of your relationship. Talking through the strain can only help you, your child and your relationship with your partner. Having someone to support each other can only strengthen the relationship and serve to help your child.

Overcoming the hurdle of the initial diagnosis, is by no means an easy one and you must overcome this obstacle and difficulty, by thinking foremost of your child's needs and the fact that your child needs you to help them.

Always try to get the help that they need for them and for you.

Your child or loved one is and always be (whether on a large or small scale) a special needs child who is special and needs special care. Don't as a parent or carer think of it as a disability (which it clearly is). However, you must think of it in a way that your child is indeed"special" in the most unique way possible and your child ultimately "needs" you, in your own eyes. Therefore, you cannot and should never let your child down. Although, there are days where this may not be possible, we are human after all and we can break down at times. Believe me this has happened to me a number of times. If you have a male partner, you'll find that it is much harder for them, at least the majority of mothers learn to control their feelings in front of the child most of the time. Learn to go through these feelings, don't dwell on it, pick yourself back up and help your child or loved one. Never give up entirely.

The only person your child or loved one can rely on is YOU. You have to make yourself stronger both mentally and physically. Be prepared to be strong so that you are prepared psychologically and physically for the challenges. These are challenges and not problems that will inevitably lie ahead of you and your life. I am not going to say that there won't be challenges, there will be to varying degrees of challenges, depending on the child and how you are handling it. Even with a normal typical child, there will be challenges but to a different extent.

Bereave, cry, seek help, therapy and anything you can to overcome this grief. You will ultimately overcome this grief, it might take a few weeks, months, years but you will triumph over this. Believe in yourself and your child and you'll overcome this shock of your child's diagnosis and feeling of being deprived of a normal child you thought you had.

Start focusing on your life and your child in your life. Take one day as it comes and don't look too much in the future as to what will happen or what won't happen. Think about what might happen when you are in your child's life supporting and helping them. Think of helping the child every day and in every way in their special life, with their special needs, that only you being the carer or parent will take care of personally. You will look for seeking further help for them and on their behalf.

I recommend seeking and attending support groups as soon as you feel ready after the diagnosis and get involved. Meeting other parents in similar circumstances, seeking guidance and support, try to seek therapy for your family and/or child, attending courses on how to deal with the challenging behaviors, etc. This can all help. Read as many books and learn strategies to handle behavioral problems, learn from Autism forums, the internet on what to do and find support groups local to where you are. In the UK, we have NAS - National Autistic Society and in the USA there are far more Autistic Organizations. Take it from me, I have experienced all of this and I conquered it. If I can overcome and conquer this, so can you.

This is Part 4 of the saga of a series of articles I am writing on Autism. Please check website http://www.signsandsymptomsofautism.com

For more information on Autism. Sofina Aghios is a mother of an Autistic Child who lives in London, UK. Sofina has attended many courses to deal with Autism and to learn about the lifelong condition, including dealing with challenging behaviour of an Autistic child. Sofina's objective is to raise awareness of Autism, to help other parents and people affected by autism and to bring her child up in a world where Autism is truly understood and is accepted. Apologies to all my readers for delaying writing this article after so long. My sincere apologies.

Sofina Aghios



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