Five Things I have learned as an Autism Mom
By Chandra Ferrell | Published on September 11, 2020 | 7 Minute Read
Being an autism mom is one of the most complicated, rewarding jobs I could ever have. My son was born at 37 weeks and as soon as I laid eyes on him I knew he would be special.
We went through the normal stages of childhood when he was younger. My son was diagnosed with Autism three days before his 3rd birthday. I knew then, having an actual diagnosis in hand I had to do everything in my power to make sure he got everything he needed to be successful with or without me. When my son was born everything was fine, he would mimic sounds, letters, noises and right after his 1st birthday we noticed a digress in his behavior. We went to multiple specialists, doctors visits, all to be left with no answers. It was the pediatrician who thought that it might be autism and we should seek to get him an appointment with a specialist.
I had heard of autism but I honestly never really understood anything about it. I had to do my research. I researched, bought books, read blogs, and even talked to other autism moms. Here are five things I would tell any mom with an autism child that I have learned from my own experience.
- Seek a neurologist and request an MRI
The neurologist was a game changer for us! We did a genetic screening (which is covered by most insurance companies), to check my sons genetic make up to ensure everything was the way it was supposed to be. The neurologists even requested an MRI. I was aware that autism has to do with neurological make up but this I did not understand why at three he needed an MRI. To this day, I am thankful for the MRI because it saved my sons life! After the MRI there was an accidental find of a Chiari Malformation I. Within 12 months of the accidental find, my son had to have brain surgery. The Chiari Malformation was causing fluid to build up on his spine and head and if it had stayed any longer we would be looking at additional surgeries, and the possibility of him never being able to walk again. My son had is surgery and ever since then he has progressed so much in his learning, his speech, and even helped to correct some of his issues going to the bathroom. (side note: once the MRI is complete request a CD of the scan. Nowadays with technology there are other options, but I keep a copy of all my sons MRI cd’s for my own records.)
- Therapy is Important
Therapy is important. My son did therapy weekly once or twice depending on the type of therapy it was. We participated in ABA Therapy, Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy and even Food Therapy. As most know, autism children are picky eaters. Food therapy taught my son to try new things without the fuss and fight. Also, take advantage of the therapy services offered at school. Get to know your child’s therapist, the plans they have, what lessons they will be working on etc. I even introduce our private therapists with the ones from school so they were both able to communicate my sons progress and regressions as well as teach the same lessons. The more we communicate, the better communication we have, we are able to stick to the same curriculum and make sure we are all on the same page. This is the moment the old saying reigns true. It takes a village to raise a child!
- Let them try!
Just because your child is autistic doesn’t meant they can’t live life. Anything they want to try, let them. Whether that be a sport, learning a new skill, or wanting to do everyday chores let them. The ultimate goal of any autism parent is to leave their child will all the skills, tools and resources to be self sufficient. My son participated in various sports, Boy Scouts of America, book clubs, & karate. Anything he showed interest we explored. I want let him experience everything, so that he will learn skills, meet new friends, have the opportunity to participate in something that requires skill. Seeing your children get excited at the accomplishment of being to do something they love & enjoy will give you so much joy. My biggest fear is my son growing up and not being able to live on his own, or fin for himself independently. So any opportunity I have to teach him things he will remember forever I let him try!
- Don’t give up
Speaking from my own perspective, sometimes things get hard. I have had my moments where my kids is frustrated, it causes me to be frustrated and next thing I know we are both in tears. Don’t give up. You may feel like you have exhausted all options, explored all avenues, and you feel like there is nothing left. Don’t give up. If you have to go in the closet and shed a tear, cry late at night from frustration when you’re in the shower whatever you have to do. But your baby needs you. Give them your all and their love will show ten fold in return. I know its hard, I know that sometimes you want to throw in the towel, but the more you work, keep the faith, remain level headed and give it your all, and you will see your hard work pay off.
- Patiently Love
Number five is the most important. Patience is key in having a child with disability. There are times they don’t comprehend, you have to repeat yourself, or you are just having a day and want to lose your cool. Patience is important. Remember it, hold on to it, and know it is the focal point to having a great understanding with you child. Love is patient, Love is kind. The more you give the more you receive and out of all of my children my son is the most loving. With patience and love you can never go wrong and showing that to you child can not only motivate them to be great, but to see the smile on their face, the look in their eyes, your heart will instantly melt. Love your child, be patient with your child and know that the smallest amount of patience & love goes a long way.
One thing I can say is that my son has taught me love, patience, understanding, and the value of enjoying the moment. I had no idea when I first started this journey what all I would have to endure. We have been on this road for almost 5 years, and the amount of progress we have made is only the beginning. I am no specialist, I am no medical expert I am simply just an autism mom going through this journey along with you. I know I am not alone, and neither are you. I hope these five gems can help you in some way shape or form. You are your child’s mother because your purpose here is bigger than you know. Stay strong, don’t be afraid to lean on others for help and know that you are not alone.
You got this! :)
About the Author
I am a mother of 3 & reside in Dallas,Tx. I am navigating the life of being an autism mom all while balancing my children, self care, faith, work and blog. I wouldn’t trade this journey if I had the chance.