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  • Mary Bailey

Ten Non-Negotiables in Parenting a Child Who Has Been Diagnosed with Autism

1. Go with your gut. This is your child, and you are going to know them better than anyone. If you suspect they are struggling in their development, get it checked out. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain when you confront and explore the possibilities and options.

2. Surround yourself with the right kind of support. Groups that have pity parties are NOT the right kind of support! People who will encourage and enable you and your child to succeed are the kind of people you want around you. The ones who invite you and your child to birthday parties, or show up to the birthday party you plan for your child. These are the kind of support and influences you want and need in your lives.

3. Love your child for who they are, not for who you want them to be, or even who they have the potential to be. Otherwise, you will miss out on some extraordinary moments.

4. Remember that everyone needs help. Whether it’s to change a tire, do taxes, or learn to ride a bike. The help your child may need just looks different than the help you may need.

5. Laugh! It’s okay to laugh. Much of the reason Chase loves to add comedy to his shows is because I choose to laugh with him, and together we choose joy.

6. Don’t waste time feeling guilty or angry. That’s all it is. Wasted time! It does nothing to help you maintain a sense of self-worth, and it certainly does nothing to help your child gain a sense of self- worth.

7. Don’t pity or feel sorry for your child. Acknowledge the areas that they struggle in and cut them slack, but don’t pity them.

8. Surround your child with neuro-typical children. So what if you have to explain certain behaviors to people? It’s good for both parties to be exposed to different kinds of people.

9. Learn from the past, plan for the future, but BE in the present. This will help you avoid missing opportunities, and feeling overwhelmed and defeated. Many things in life are moment-to-moment and step-by-step.

10. Adjust your expectations as needed, and celebrate every inch of progress no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to someone on the outside. “An-attitude-of-gratitude” leads to more progress, peace, and joy in your life.

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