Monday, July 8, 2013

30 Lessons Learned

I thought I would take a moment and share with you some of the important lessons I have learned raising an autistic child. You may want to tuck these away in the ole memory banks so that you can call on them when need be. Here are 30 in no particular order…

  1. Clothes are completely optional… at least in the house.
  2. Socks do not always have to be worn on feet.
  3. Laughter IS contagious.
  4. So is crying.
  5. Not being able to talk does not mean a person is dumb.
  6. Every once in a while, repeat back your child’s babbling. Watch their face light up.
  7. Talk to your child in age appropriate language. You’ll be surprised by what they know and retain.
  8. Eating utensils are completely overrated… except for soup.
  9. Celebrate each milestone with your child like they won the Super Bowl.
  10. Know that if you do something a certain way just one time… you may be doing it that way every time.
  11. Keep your expectations high, but be patient with your child meeting them.
  12. As best you can, include your kid in everything.
  13. Be careful in how you phrase things. The literal mind is a funny thing. That is why when pointing to a Coke can and asking what it is, you get answers like “K”, scratch your head, then realize that you were pointing to the “K” on the can.
  14. Doctors may have degrees in their respective fields, but the parent has a Doctorate in their child.
  15. Don’t focus on what your child can’t do, focus on what your child CAN do… and build on that.
  16. When dealing with rude people in public, kill them with kindness. Use that opportunity to educate … unless they are assholes. Then screw ‘em.
  17. Those quirky movements your autistic kid is making with his/her hands… yeah, that might just be sign language. (Thank goodness for YouTube)
  18. Asking for help is OK… in fact I encourage it.
  19. Make a date night with your spouse/partner. If you don’t cultivate the soil, plants can’t grow.
  20. It is OK to think about the way things could have been every once in a while. It is not OK to live there.
  21. Laugh.
  22. Chocolate pudding can look a lot like something else… but smells a whole lot nicer. Celebrate when it is pudding.
  23. If you keep your kid in a size 6 diaper long enough, eventually it looks like a thong.
  24. See your child stimming? Let them… as long as it isn’t hurting them.
  25. The system sucks.
  26. It doesn’t matter to me if you call somebody “autistic” or “with autism”. What matters is intent. It does however matter to a lot of autistics. So maybe we should listen.
  27. In almost every instance there will be growth. It may not be the way you envisioned it and It may not be as much as you want… but more than likely there will be growth.
  28. Know where every neighborhood pool is… I guarantee you your child does.
  29. NEVER let your guard down. I know it is exhausting, but you just can’t afford to do it.
  30. Give your child space when they need it.

To be continued...

If you have not already, please take time to watch my videos, "Fixing" Autism and Autism Awareness with Nichole337 and share them with your friends.

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  1. I am totally agree with the "30 lessons". Your story is so emotional and interesting. You and bianca, take care. A lot of greetings from sami, from germany.

  2. Thank you for the kind words! All my best to you and your family.

    Haben Sie einen schönen Tag! (Which Google Translate tell me is "Have a nice day")