A report once stated that autism parents have stress similar to combat soldiers. I cannot relate to it as I have never been to combat before, but one thing is for sure—the stress and pressure can sometimes snap any parent into two. This is even more so for those who are still waiting for a diagnosis or have just been given one. The confusion, the anxiety and, often, the over-thinking can put one on the edge. By and by, little milestones come your family’s way—and those will help take the stressors away.
Amid such joys being a momentary relief, celebrating milestones in our children’s autism is one of the lightest feeling to any parent. Sure enough, there will be more tough times than good times but the little victories we experience along the way should never go unnoticed. For one, you deserve it. When we’re too overwhelmed, we often take our own efforts for granted. Taking a short pause to pat yourself in the back will not only allow you to recognize the fruits of your labor but also as a motivation to continue fighting on.
Would you agree that self-motivation (endless supply of it!) is the one thing that allowed many parents to children with autism to gain courage every step of the way? Celebrating simple triumphs like learning to flush the toilet or being able to utter the word “Mom” or “Dad” allows a parent to reflect how much progress you and your child made—an exciting reminder that you and your child are capable to achieve more than you think. By recognizing your accomplishments, you can begin working on another step!
Remember the day your son or daughter is fully diagnosed with autism? Or that time when someone insulted your parenting skill over a meltdown of which you have no control of? It cannot be helped to feel awful about your own self. You may have wallowed in self-pity after that dragging your whole self-esteem to guttural level. Acknowledging small victories, however, can help rebuild your dwindling self-esteem. There is something astoundingly good to celebrate your own self. It will help steer you to a strong conviction that “you can do whatever you set your mind to.”
When you begin to acknowledge your efforts as a mother or father, as a sister or brother, as a carer or guardian, as a teacher or a therapist to a child or adult with autism, everything goes full circle. Doing what you do best out of pure love and dedication rather than as a sense of obligation will make the whole thing fulfilling. This is even more so when these pure acts of love deliver positive results.
So, this April and all days thereafter—go and do a happy dance. Laugh all you want. Sing an out-of-tune note or two. Plant a tree. Grow a herb garden. Do something positive for every achievement. Autism is not a problem that needs to be solved or a disease that needs to be cured. It is a way of life. It may be different but not less, and the best that you can do is to live a life of “AUptimism” and celebrate life’s small victories with a grateful heart.
Ever heard of the Be Safe Campaign? Check this out – http://livingautismnow.com/be-safe/
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