A Message to Parents

Nadia Shanab | autism, general advice, parenting, tips
19 Jul 2017

Dear Parents,

I am finally back after a long silence for almost two years. It is very hard to disengage myself from thinking and writing about autism, one of my favorite topics, interests, and concerns.

Needless to say that all parents of children with autism struggle on a daily basis, on a journey they cannot perfectly plan for or organize or predict the outcome. I would like to talk to young parents who are just starting their family life and are full of hopes and dreams and so much enthusiasm to reach their full potential, and so excited about their future.

Sometimes young parents are still not settled in their jobs, because they either don’t know exactly what they want to do, or because they keep looking for their dream job…

Besides, the young couple is still getting used to their new life together, sharing responsibilities and trying to fulfill the new demands of a family life. Not long ago, they were free to make choices and feel confident about their decisions without thinking too much about the consequences. This is over now. The presence of a child is a game changer. Let alone if they start doubting and questioning their child’s development and behavior.

When in doubt, go see your doctor the earliest possible. I know it is a heartache to suspect that you may hear something about your child that you are not ready to accept. But this is the right thing to do. Early intervention has proved to yield the best results. Denial will aggravate the situation and make it more complex.

Read about some of the signs of the autism condition. Your child doesn’t have to have them all.

Your family doctor/pediatrician may be able to spot the condition right away. But sometimes a more specialized doctors, like a developmental pediatrician, child psychiatrist or psychologist, speech therapist, or occupational therapists are needed. The tests vary according to each child. There is no blood test or screening tools needed for a diagnosis. Your observations of your child’s behavior as parents along with the specialists’ will lead to a final decision.

Make sure to check with your insurance the coverage of these tests. I cannot talk about the cost, but I found a link for a place who may help you, AS A GUIDE, to give you an idea about the possible expenses.

Knowing where you stand will help you plan and act in an efficient way for your child and your entire family. If your child gets a diagnosis and becomes labeled it is not as bad as you may think. She/he will have access to many services, like speech and occupational therapy, transportation, summer school, and even a one on one support (if needed) during regular school days and summer school too.

Depending on your child’s placement on the autism spectrum, she/he may be able to pursue mainstream education and move on to higher education. From my personal experience, I have seen students with autism I’ve worked with growing out of special day classes and joining regular education. Some of them are fully mainstreamed in high school now. Some of them finish higher education and find jobs.

Being on the autism spectrum is a way of living. Nowadays, most people are aware of the condition. People are becoming more and more understanding, they would even look awkward if they don’t show support and cooperation. Employers  are offering jobs to individuals with autism, because they know they are trustworthy and good at what they do.

And even if your child cannot make it all the way to college, there are so many jobs out there hiring individuals with autism.

There are endless ways you can help your child grow, develop, and acquire new skills. Parents should know that each child got a different way and pace to develop. Don’t compare your child to any other child. Children with autism are teachable and trainable.

Stay positive and optimistic, because research is making this topic a priority, given the rising number of children and adults diagnosed with autism.

Being in denial is the worst thing you could do to yourself and your child.

Act now!!!

Nadia Shanab

Leave a Reply