Life after an Autism diagnosis

So if you are reading this your child may have just been diagnosed with Autism. So how do we cope with life after an Autism diagnosis??

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I remember walking out of the assessment room with so many emotions bubbling inside of me that I really did not know which one to deal with first. I was afraid, not only for my child’s future but also in case I wasn’t going to be good enough or smart enough to cater to all of his needs. This obviously was not the case, I soon realised that raising a child with Autism was no different than raising any other child, you simply find what works for your little family and go with it. No parent is given a manual on how to raise any child and we are no different, yes we have different hurdles to overcome along the way, but I can promise you that you will manage them because that is what we parents do.

I would like to share with you some little things I have learnt that I wish I had of known four years ago when my son was diagnosed, I hope they will help you through the emotional process of diagnosis and make you feel a little more positive and optimistic.

There is no one to blame:
One of the things that I struggled with more than anything when my son was diagnosed was blame! I blamed myself, the doctors and anyone else I could think of for my son being this way. Some part of me needed to understand why MY baby had this and the hardest thing about Autism is that there are no answers to the question WHY?! You are not to blame, in fact no one is, you have just been blessed with a very unique child who will teach you to see the world in such a special way and although you may not see this in the beginning, one day you will understand WHY your child was born this way. Please do not waste your time blaming yourself or others as nothing you or anyone could have done would have changed this inevitable diagnosis.

Accept Help:
For some reason most of us parents find it so difficult to accept help when it comes to our children, we see it as some sort of weakness and that we should always be capable of being on top of everything 100% of the time….. well this is how I used to feel. I soon learned that in order to be the best parent I could be I needed to accept help from my family and friends, even if it was just for my son to stay at a relatives for a night so I could sit in my pj’s all evening and get a full night’s sleep. Having a child with Autism can be mentally and physically exhausting at times, especially when the child does not have any verbal communication. Accept any help offered to you, it will make you a stronger parent in the end.

Surround yourself with positivity:
One of the biggest mistakes I made was listening to parents who had nothing but negative things to say about being a parent of a child with Autism. They gradually wore me down and made me believe there was no future for my child and that he would never lead anything close to a “normal” life. This could not have been any further from the truth, and as soon as I made the decision to surround myself with more optimistic and positive people I became a much happier and content person. I am not saying there won’t be tough days, and nights you will shed tears but never allow anyone to shed a negative light on your child’s future, as that is in you and your child’s hands and no one else’s.

Join a support group:
This is something I cannot recommend strongly enough, if you can find the right support group for you it will benefit your lives in a huge way. I can honestly say I would have been lost without the support of Autism Northern Ireland, through them I met friends in a similar position to myself, my son met friends he could relate to and most importantly I was surrounded by people who understood!

Ignore Ignorance:

One thing you may encounter in life after an Autism diagnosis is ignorance, or perhaps even before, is ignorance. People who think your child needs discipline rather than support and understanding. My best advice to you is to totally ignore this, I have wasted so much time allowing myself to become upset by comments from total strangers, when now I see that these comments mean nothing. Your family and friends are the people who know your child and they are the people who will see the struggles and achievements you and your child make throughout life, they are the people who matter.

Although there may be tough times along the way remember this, you will be the parent who cherishes the little moments, who sheds a tear of happiness when your child tries a new food or something else so small that only a parent of a child with Autism would understand. You will never take any milestone your child reaches for granted and every special moment will stay so clearly in your heart and mind for the rest of your life.

Life after an Autism diagnosis can be very positive and happier than ever, with the right support and outlook.

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32 comments on “Life after an Autism diagnosis

  1. My best friend has a kid with autism, I agree with all of the points you put here, I help in an organization who helps kids with autism.

    hi my name is Doris and I am the illustrator of the book over at Mud Pile wood, will add you to my other blog too is call the terrain of symmetry so you know, will add you on twitter to @artedoris, I live in Texas, Maria the writer lives in Ireland, both of us have access to all of the account we are facebook too, but I am lazy I never go there ;).

  2. Wonderful post. I can relate to this so much having a child with autism. She was diagnosed aged 3 and she’s now 14, she we’ve been through quite a lot over the years. But what the experts tell you and what you learn from experience, are two very different things. So lovely to read such a positive blog post on autism because I also get fed up with reading about all the negative stuff parents deal with. Let’s face it, parents of ALL children have to deal with negative things in their lives so really, they are no different to a parent with a special needs child.

    CJ x

  3. So very true, I can identify with all you say. We are 14 years down the line. We are a happy family, and as you say, our strength comes from surrounding ourselves with positive people and settings. This has never been so pertinent as we begin the search for a post 16 placement for our daughter. I have quickly come to realise that the most important factor in finding somewhere is the need for her to be with kind people who above all understand Anna and her autism. Good luck with the rest of your journey!!

  4. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! It is never easy when your child receives a diagnosis but I am glad my little post helped you in some way! :)
    Please do keep in touch x

  5. Hi and thank you for this lovely comment! I am so glad you can relate and that you enjoyed reading this post!
    I believe the best advice you can possibly receive about Autism is from the people who live it.
    Thanks again :)

  6. Hi Sally, I am so glad to hear that you and your family are doing so well and I hope you can find the perfect placement for your precious daughter. Please do keep in touch and thank you for taking the time to comment :):)

  7. After a year of assessments where people seemed to not want to mention the ‘A’ word our son was diagnosed a couple of months ago. The road ahead may have some difficulties but I am reminded every day of the blessing he is. He is unique but that really is ok!

  8. Lovely read, so much common sense. And if you any find a support group, start one yourself!

  9. My son was diagnosed 2 and a half years ago when he was 3 years old and I’ve learned a lot about myself and him in that time. I think the hardest things for me are ignoring ignorance and accepting help from people but it does get easier. This post is great and full of amazing advice :) I’ll definitely be sharing it with family and friends!

  10. Thank you so much Julie, I am so glad that you found my advice helpful and I hope your friends and family will enjoy it too! All the best to you and your son :) xx

  11. Thank you for writing this post I finished it with a smile on my face and hope in my heart for the first time since my grandson was diagnosed .Will send it to my daughter who lives a good distance away from me she has no family support and my heart’s broken for her x

  12. Hi Alexis, what a touching comment, thank you! Please feel free to tell your daughter she can contact me anytime via this website for a chat or advice… anything at all! I am so glad this little post helped you in some way, I wish you and your grandson all the very best! x

  13. Thank you so much for posting this. I just found out about an hour ago that my daughter has OFFICALLY been diagnosed with autism.

    I left the treatment center hating myself for not finding out sooner. I blamed myself and wanted to crawl in bed and cry/hide.

    Reading this I will do exactly what you recommended, find a support group, surround myself with positivity and love my daughter for the awesome little person she is.

    Again THANK YOU so much!

  14. Hey, sorry if I shouldn’t be commenting here cos im a Dad! Reading your blog has just made me and my wife both smile and cry, as we’re currently mid diagnosis with our Son who is preparing for primary one this Summer. As you’ve said it’s the hardest thing to understand why? But positivity and hard work is the most important thing we can focus on. Thanks so much for your post, something we will definitely be rereading in the future ☆

  15. My son’s dIagnosis was 15 years ago (he’s 25 now). What a wonderful message you just shared. I can tell you from experience that blessings abound with these kids. Mine brings such joy to our lives!

  16. Fantastic advice, I wish I had read this 8 months ago. I am now in a support group and have surrounded myself with positive and understanding people. It makes a huge difference. xx

  17. Hi Renee, thank you for commenting. I can really empathise with how you must be feeling. Stay strong and try to remember how fantastic a parent you are, always! I am so glad my little post helped you, contact me anytime if you have any questions or just need a chat! :) x

  18. Hi Kim, thank you so much I am so glad you enjoyed reading! I love to hear from parents of older children who have Autism and it is lovely to hear that you are all doing so well, I am sure he is a great young man! All the very best and please do stay in touch :) x

  19. Hi Darran, of course you are more than welcome to comment, in fact I am so glad that you did! I remember so vividly how hard it was being at that stage of diagnosis and can truly empathise with you and your wife! I can honestly say I feel humbled by this comment and so grateful that I could help you both in some way! Stay in touch, all the best to you both and of course your little boy :)

  20. Hi Amanda, I am really glad that you found this post helpful and you can relate! I am glad things are going so well for you and wish you all the very best for your future! :)

  21. wow that was an amazing piece i’ve just read, thanx very much, its made me stronger, my son who is 4 got diagnosed in april and u r right every emotion went through my head, n im realising its not that bad at all and with all the help n support of my family n friends n school we can do this!!!! thanx again :-):-):-):-)

  22. Hi Laura, I am so glad that you found this post helpful! I am loving your positive attitude and that you have so much love and support around you. Thanks for your comment it is really appreciated! :)

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