On April 2, let’s learn about autism, recognize the autistic, and those who love and support them.
For our second Autism Awareness Day, I would like to share some lessons learned from Unlocked: A Family Emerging from the Shadows of Autism, a book written by Susan Levin, a mother of an autistic boy:
LESSON 1: BELIEVE IN YOUR CHILD.
Regardless of what doctors, family members, and well-meaning friends may tell you, your child has the potential for connection – with you, your family members, peers, and the world around him or her. Believe in his or her potential. Believe he or she can heal.
LESSON 2: NO ONE ELSE CAN HELP YOUR CHILD THE WAY YOU CAN.
Who is the greatest healer for my child? I am. Who is my child’s greatest expert? I am. Whether you are the parent, grandparent, or the primary caregiver through some other circumstances, if you believe in your child’s potential, and he or she is in your care, you are the one who can help him or her recover.
LESSON 3: YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT TO HELP YOUR CHILD.
We don’t need to be perfect parents with perfect skills, and we don’t need perfect children. This process is about the perfection of love as a driving force to motivate us on a challenging and enlightening journey of connection with our children.
LESSON 4: CULTIVATE CERTAIN INTERNAL PRACTICES.
In order for our child to grow, we need to do the following:
- Fall in love with every part of him or her, including his or her autism.
- Learn to accept, be with, and celebrate him or her now–before he or she acquires the skills we hope they would someday.
- Learn to study our child: observe, take notes, and make note of his or her responses to every intervention we try.
LESSON 5: ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.
- What inspires your child?
- What does your child receive from the environment in the form of food, and how well is his or her digestive system able to process the food he or she takes in?
- What does your child receive from his or her environment in the form of toxins (e.g. chemicals, electromagnetic radiation, heavy metals), and how well can his or her immune system purge such toxins?
LESSON 6: FIND THE RIGHT ANSWERS FOR YOUR CHILD.
The answers to your child’s autism will be unique to your child.
LESSON 7: ACCEPT THE UPS AND DOWNS. THEY HAVE LESSONS TO TEACH YOU.
The greatest challenge in this journey is the unpredictability of the process. Watch for ways to help your child by observing what triggers his or her symptoms so ways can be identified to help lessen, or prevent, them.
LESSON 8: TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN NEEDS, AND PARENT YOURSELF AS YOU WOULD PARENT YOUR CHILD.
Our capacity to accept and flow with our child’s changes are directly proportional to our degree of self-care. Let’s remember that self-caring is not the same as selfishness, and prioritizing our own needs as well as our child’s will help us have much more emotional cushion against their fluctuations.
To end, having a child under the spectrum never fails to remind me how truly lucky I am. Because of her, I was able to see and appreciate life more meaningfully and deeply.
On April 2, let’s all reach our potentials – our potential to love this amazing community, and their potential to conquer the world.
Happy Autism Awareness Day!
P.S. To those experiencing some regression for their kids during this pandemic due to reduction of therapy hours, keep the faith and just continue praying that this will all be over soon. The silver lining is that we’re able to spend more time with our kids, and that’s something that can never be bought.