Getting a diagnosis and a name for your child’s condition is extremely important. It will help you understand why your children do what they do and it can often point you in the right direction for assistance. At the same time, we must remember that our children are not their disorder or condition. They need to be kept separate.
Sometimes labeling hinders us. We think that our children might not be able to do things other “typical” children can do and that type of thinking can keep your children from succeeding.
Learn all you can about your child’s condition. Knowledge is power. Then seek treatments that sounds right to you and learn the tools to best help your child grow.
Allow the name and the label to disappear. Once you know what your child has you no longer need to refer to it except in an IEP, classroom, or doctor’s appointment. You do not have to make excuses for your child having autism or any disability.
We did not find out Brandon had autism until he was thirty-two years old, only seven years ago. Looking back I have to ask myself if I knew my son had autism, would I have allowed him to live his dream of independence? Maybe I would have not let him go and grow independently. Maybe it would have stopped me from allowing him to advance. I now know fifteen years later that would have been a terrible mistake.
Brandon loves being independent and living alone, although it has not been easy. He is determined to make it work and has for the past fifteen years. It is quite beautiful to watch my son continue to grow, develop, and want to change.
What I find very exciting is that Brandon has grown more in the last year than he has over the past ten years. Maybe it is the culmination of all those years combined. I don’t know but it is truly wonderful to see.
When parents see maturation in their children, they become energized and it helps to motivate them. It is empowering for both the adult child as well as their parents. Many of the professionals believe that when our children reach a certain age they will not see much, if any maturation. I say that is not true. Not only has my son continued to grow but many of my client’s adult children are continuing to develop as well.
No one knows what the future will bring it is a huge questions mark. If that is the case, we might as well think positive.
For those autistic adults who want to be addressed by “autistic adults” they have a right to make their own choices. For me I describe my son by saying he has autism, epilepsy, and learning disorders or he is an autistic adult for teaching purposes only. At all other times I refer to him as my son, Brandon.