Autism is a lifelong, developmental disorder. It affects how a person communicates and relates to other people.
It affects how they see the world around them too and for parents of an autistic child, reaching them, sharing love and emotions feels impossible.
In many ways, a diagnosis of autism is a relief, a chance to start moving forward.
But it comes with challenges too, along with a stark realisation that life is going to look completely different to how you thought it would.

Unique Challenges

Daily life with a child with autism presents unique challenges. For many parents, autism leaves them struggling to cope.
Managing a child with autism and the range of behaviours they can display is tiring but the rewards and the ‘breakthrough moments’ can be many.
Autism cannot be ‘cured’. But it can be managed in such a way that life is not one continuous struggle. What hints do other parents and professionals give that help in managing autism?

You are never prepared for a diagnosis…

You may have fought long and hard to get the diagnosis. But even then, nothing prepares you for the finality of the diagnosis. Many parents and caregivers who have found themselves in this position say that researching and understanding autism in a great starting point.

#1 YOU are important

Whether you view yourself as a ‘caregiver’ or parent, you are an important cog in your child’s life. Coping and managing a lifelong disability, no matter its severity is draining. There are times when you will need a break.
But all too often, we forget our own well-being, placing it far down the list of priorities. There are many sayings to keep in mind and when it comes to caring for your child with autism, the most is this: the most important person in a rescue is the rescue. In other words, without a fit and healthy you, your child will struggle even more.

#2 Learn about autism

Get clued up too, taking time to research autism and how behaviours can manifest. It is a ‘personal’ disability – in other words, what one child with autism struggles to cope with, may not be the same as another child.
It equips you with the information you need to take the next step. Why not take a look at understanding autism with NCC Home Learning?
Once you have the diagnosis, it can be tempting to wallow in shock but, other parents say that getting treatment started as soon as possible is key to helping your child – and you. With your child able to engage in more meaningful activities, you are able to focus on moving forward.

#3 Build scaffolding: help and support

There are many agencies and organisations who support and help children with autism and other disabilities, as well as parents and other members of the family.
There are many organisations that work with autistic children and their families in the UK such as the National Autistic Society, Child Autism UK as well as Scope.  There may also be groups and organisations local to you too. And don’t forget to connect with your child’s school as they too, have access to support networks.
It is important to build scaffolding around you and your family so that when you need help, you know who to turn to.

#4 Talk and listen to each other

The biggest issue for any family in the middle of any kind of situation is miscommunicating or, worse still, shutting down and no longer talking or listening to each other.
Everyone needs someone to talk to and when things don’t feel like they are improving, or you are unsure how to cope with certain traits or behaviours, talk to someone. A chat over a coffee with a friend is just as useful as seeking professional counselling or therapy in many cases.
Managing your child’s autism means listening and talking to each other as part of the wider family.

#5 Keep a journal

There have been studies that have shown than describing traumatic events, our feelings and thoughts about them are linked to dealing with the event in a way that is useful. For many parents, there are times when managing their child’s autism feels like an uphill battle, a war that will never be won.
But just as there are ‘bad’ times, there are fantastic times too. And by keeping a journal, you keep a record of what worked, what changed, and so on, insights into what could be useful in the future.

Children with autism do lead full, energetic and fulfilling lives. Getting a diagnosis, understanding autism, and accessing support and help is an integral part of you, as a parent, beginning to learn how to manage your child’s autism.

NCC Home Learning is an online provider of over 300 courses, including courses relating to additional learning needs and developmental issues such as autism. Many of their students continue to work whilst they gain valuable qualifications, perfect for taking the next step in their career

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