Tag Archives: life skills

Is There Really A Cure For Autism and Do We Want To Have It?

John Graduation 2016
John Graduation 2016

Our youngest John finally made it! He graduated high school with a bang. With over $400k in therapy since he was two years old, he was able to came out as a nonverbal child to a grade 12 graduate with a full diploma! Yes, we did it! WE DID IT! I feel like shouting these words over and over again. I am so proud and elated for his future that I sobbed like a baby. His soothing words of “It’s okay, Mama” had made all the difference in this world.

So, if I am asked today on whether I am interested about a cure for autism? Not anymore. At some point when he was two until he was like 6 or 7, I was hoping that someone brilliant will suddenly just come on national television announcing that they finally found the real cause of autism or have discovered some drugs that will untangle the brain of each and every child with autism in the universe. Yes, I had hoped before. In fact, I prayed a thousand times for it so my son can have more of everything.

But you see, year after year, I am given every reason to believe that John is perfect as he is. Amid all the struggles that all of us had went through, we were able to rise up the occasion and raised a sweet and thoughtful young man who sees more goodness and kindness in others more than he sees in himself.

Compassionate, this is the perfect word for my son John. He knows when I feel down and agitated. He knows when to give you a pat in the back without even you blurting any word of what’s bottling inside you. It’s like he can see through you and, without judgment or whatsoever, he simply understands. He recognizes his but never complains about them. He is aware of his frailties but smile head on even when the whole world is frowning upon him.

Enjoying his graduation cake
Enjoying his graduation cake

As an autism parent, I know there are others out there who are still trying to unravel their children’s condition. Some of them are, perhaps, hoping that a magic vial will be available soon to relieve them from the constant anxiety and frustrations often common in households with autism kids.

Trust me, the frustrations will always sneak up on you every now and then. It will haunt you and make you feel so down it feels like you will never stand tall and proud again. But it is up to you to let such feeling gnaw at your being. It is up to you to let others get into your skin. Your child, your most precious one maybe different from the rest but he is yours and yours alone. He is a gift that needs to be cherished.

So, if you ask me if I am interested in a cure. Stop it already! I may still not be satisfied in the success that John enjoyed today because I know he can do better in the future, I am confident in my skin that I have raised a good son—autism and all. There is no amount of cure that will change him. He is exceptional as he is and for that, I am forever thankful to the Heavens above.

How about you? What’s your autism story? Share your thoughts with us. Feel free also to visit our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’d love to hear from you.

Life Skills for Autism: Preparing Your Child For Life

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), or simply “autism”, is a wide-ranging spectrum of disorders affecting cognitive, social, communication and developmental aspects. For autism parents, managing ages 2 to 10 years can be handy.

However, this may not be the case as they enter adolescence, and then, adulthood. It is our moral obligation as parents to prepare them to a life where they can stand on their own feet—fully or even, partially. This process can require huge sacrifice and efforts, but embracing the inevitable with an open heart and mind will enable children who are living in the spectrum to live a life they want.


Individualized Approach

19Life Skills for Autism_Preparing A Child With Autism For LifeTeaching life skills to individuals with autism is difficult. Apart from varying manifestations of the disorders across individuals, it can be strenuous and often requires professional support. We as family members or as parents can only do so much to arm them with the right skills in facing life amid their frailties. We need all the help we can get from people who have the experience and expertise in handling ASDs. These professionals are geared with the right knowledge and familiarity of various skills needed to prepare them in living as independent adults. The key, however, in teaching life skills is to focus on an individual’s core deficits and strengths to bring out the best in them.

Facing the Inevitable Head-on

When you have decided to engage your loved one with autism on developing life skills, it is also important that you know what to expect from individualized programs. Though, experienced professionals will be at hand to teach these skills to your growing child, we are bound to continue such at home to ensure success. So, what life skills are considered critical to individuals with autism?

1. Sensory Integration

Autism is a world where metaphors are nonexistent, where everything seems to be confusing. Teaching a loved one living on the spectrum how to process his senses can help him develop communication, social connections, self-awareness, and safety.

2. Communication Skills

One hugely affected skill of individuals living on the spectrum is communication. Verbal communication, metaphors, implied meanings, and other means of communication are limited, if not non-existent, to all those living on the spectrum. Speech, proper eye contact, and interaction with peers, however, can be taught when done accordingly.

3. Strong Self-Worth

Often, children with developmental needs have low self-esteem, and this does not exclude those who have ASDs. For a happier adult life while living on the spectrum, it is imperative that self-confidence and a sense of self-respect be instilled in the minds of an autistic for them to reach their potential.

4. Interests Engagement

Individuals with ASDs are often discouraged to indulge in their obsessions. Instead, let them pursue these passions and use these to their advantage. An obsession on art or engineering or math can be harnessed proactively leading into job skills later on.

5. Safety

Safety is one concern that never goes away when you have a child with autism. With sensory difficulties, these individuals can have a hard time identifying hazards. This “ignorance” or lack of knowledge and hands-on training can make them subject to abuse later on. Teaching them safety measures will make them be more aware about abuse or harassment, certain precautions and defense should they face unsafe situations, and knowledge on how to seek help when they need it.

6. Self-Control

For someone who has a hard time understanding the world, establishing self-control can be daunting but—take note—doable. By teaching sensory, communication and social integration to an individual on ASDs, guiding him to identify certain triggers and allowing them to discover their own “coping” method, this will enable him to develop self-control.

7. Social Integration

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, developing social relationships can be tough to an individual with autism. This, however, can be improved. An individual with autism can be taught certain concepts to understand about some of the different type of relationships that he will encounter in his daily life. Like family and relatives, asking a police for direction, finding a handyman, or even making contacts to find a job.

8. Self-Sufficiency

One of the most arduous tasks in developing life skills among individuals with autism, self-sufficiency or independence can take the hard and rough road for everyone. As parents, being optimistic, patient and persevering can prove to be rewarding later on. With the help of professionals, teaching them how to be organized, responsibilities like doing household chores, setting and sticking to routines, and self-care will develop a sense of self-sufficiency for the later years in life.

9. Self-Advocacy

Keeping your child “informed” about what is going on with him and his needs is essential when preparing them for life. Encourage discovery of their developmental needs, and make them recognize their strengths, needs and weaknesses. By knowing themselves, they can better handle difficulties and, in the long run, be of help to others who are also like them.

10. Financial Independence

Getting a job and be able to keep it can be quite challenging to individuals with autism. Today more and more multi-national corporations are actually hiring individuals with ASDs making it more lucrative for them to learn about nurturing their talents and how to seek opportunities to earn a living.

Indeed, there is a lot in store for individuals with autism. By finding a sturdy support system of professionals and experts, building up their life skills at a young age will definitely result in lasting and rewarding developments to individuals with autism—and make them live a life they choose.