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Parenting a Child with Autism

Other parents don’t really know what to say when you explain the head-butting, hand flapping behaviors as ways your child expresses his emotions. Many offer suggestions, help, criticisms, and even sympathy, but only you as a parent can really connect with your own child. Parents who are truly interested look for the rules you govern your child, and try to emulate them. Some parents in an educational or religious environment, will attempt to apply their own methods in contrast to yours, causing confusion and regression in some behaviors.

To be a parent of a child with Autism is to parent from day to day, looking for every possible sign of success, and expecting regression when it comes. Instead of focusing on long-term plans like financial success or brilliant educational or recreational accomplishments for your child, you look for a successful day without spilling food or drink on the floor on purpose, dumping the dog’s water into his food bowl, or pulling out all the marshmallows from the cereal box.

To parent a child with Autism is to place all the anxious future planning of traditional parenting into your daily routine. Effort cannot be diluted with incidentals about which Ivy League schools you want your child to attend when you are still focused on their using utensils while eating. Athletic scholarships are the furthest from your mind while trying to teach your child the necessary hand-eye coordination to write his name. It’s too much effort to think beyond the day, the daily successes, and looking after the little things while hoping beyond hope it’s true that the big things will actually take care of themselves.

It’s scary, not having a well-planned life. I’m the type that likes to have things planned out in sequence in order to provide a smooth transition between two states. With Autism, you don’t have that luxury. Development depends to so many variables that having future plans beyond perhaps special things like vacations have too many variables to make a successful plan.

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Scothoser is a Scottish-American, having grown up in the Rocky Mountains, now moved to San Diego. Having been raised by a farmer’s daughter and a rancher’s son, he has a love for the land, and a desire for self-sufficiency. …

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