As parents we all want to believe that our children are perfect and we want the very best for them. How would you feel if you learned that your child suffered from Autism? As a parent of three children I am still in denial after learning that my youngest has characteristics in the Autism Spectrum. What exactly does this mean? Well, doctors have said to me that this means he has a few of the autism symptoms, but he is not exactly or totally autistic. He may start out slow (in some areas), but in a few years he could catch up with the other kids in the areas he was lagging in. What does this mean? Plain and simple it means there is hope. My son has delayed speech and withdraws from social interaction. Mind you he is only 4 years old, but this behavior is still in the autism spectrum. After attending a seminar with parents who’s children have autism I am starting to believe that my son may be Autistic.
My first response was there is no way that my son is handicapped. As I learned more about autism I learned that I was right. Autism is not a handicap it is a disadvantage. Autistic children may be great or even geniuses in math, but during P.E. (Physical Education) they may with draw. There other classes could be average or above, but socially they have no interest. These are a few examples, but the more you learn about autistic children the easier it is to understand your autistic child.
Should they be put in special education classes? My theory is while in the beginning this may sound good it could also be bad for the long-term progress of your child. Have you ever heard of monkey see monkey do? Over time your child could regress do to the progress of the other children. If the class your child is in has children with Down syndrome, or epilepsy the class my not be advanced enough for your autistic child. You could lose ground by not challenging them enough. The key here is to meet with the school officials and have them meet the requirements for your child. Let’s be realistic as well. Your school district may not be equipped to handle your child’s needs at first, but you the parent must insist that your school district make efforts to accommodate your child. My son started speech therapy at age three, and the school administrator made accommodations for this. This has helped him in several areas where he was challenged before. In 6 months he is speaking in full sentences, but the gibberish talk is still there just not as bad as before. He has improved socially in some areas as well. He plays beside the other kids, but he still won’t interact, but before he would hide in a corner. He is progressing, and my goal as a parent is for my son to have every opportunity as the rest of the kids in school.
In my efforts to make parents aware that autism is real. I also want to give hope to those parents that are frustrated and feel helpless. Join the support seminars, and read about autism. The knowledge you receive about autism will better equip you to handle the pressure of being the parent of an autistic child. Remember this one point and don’t forget it. This is your child and your child is at a disadvantage, but he or she is not paralyzed. Your child has a chance to live a normal life. Follow the programs available to you, and do the research. Keep the hope in your heart. You will only have regret if you do nothing at all.
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