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My Child Has Been Diagnosed With Autism

No parent wants their child diagnosed with a disability.  I never dreamt that one day my child would be diagnosed with autism.  But both of my girls have been diagnosed with autism.  It is very easy to say my child is autistic.  However your child has autism, Asperger’s etc.  The diagnosis is only a little part of who they are but they are honestly more than that.  It is important to remember that no matter how old they are that they are simply a child who has a lot of strengths that we need to focus on.

Part of me thinks it is time for me to tell my eldest that she has autism and I keep trying to find ways to tell her.  However I keep telling myself that I need to tell her about all her strengths and that the autism is just about how she looks at the world.  She is as special as every child in the world.

It’s Hard Watching My Child With Anxiety!

Grace lines

To watch my child with anxiety is heart breaking.  As a person who suffers from high anxiety it is hard enough for me to deal with on a bad day.  The feeling that I have to flee from somewhere.  The tightness in my chest and upper body.  The feeling like I need to go to the toilet desperately.  The feeling that self harming is a way to escape the pain and turmoil within me.

The look of panic when I ask her something.  The need for her to line up her toys in lines. The above line has been moved and now three rows deep.  We got to the stage where there would be so many lines there was no floor space and watch out if you moved anything by a millimetre.  The clinging onto me when we enter the school gates.  Plus we can not forget the emotional volcano that erupts when we get home.  But that is only one part of the autism spectrum.

Strategies to help your child with anxiety:

  • We give Grace a chew necklace to give her something to chew on.  It is also a great visual tool for the teachers to know where her anxiety is at with the rate she is chewing it.
  • Listen to your child.  We do not need to have all the answers as sometimes it helps with listening and a cuddle.
  • Normalize what your child is feeling.  I find Grace understands more when I explain how I feel when I am feeling anxious.
  • Model ways to relax and let the child discover what works for them.  Grace tends to ask for breaks where she tunes out to her environment.  Sometimes she likes to do jump and crash type activities.  Grace also uses re
  • Avoid giving your child excessive reassurance but encourage your child your child to use their coping strategies.

If you would like help with creating a wonderful relationship with your child and you helping your child with anxiety is a goal for you please have a look at the two links below so that I can help you.

http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/surviving-to-thriving-for-mums-with-special-needs-children/

http://coachingforlifetimechange.com.au/services/

 

How to Help a Child with Autism During the Christmas Period

Amaze (Autism Victoria) in their monthly magazine The Spectrum Volume 9, Number 4, Summer Edition 2013-14, they have written a wonder article about how to reduce the anxiety and stress for ASD children.

Strategies that they have suggested are:

  • Talk about the holiday period and what that means for your child and family.
  • Minimise change as children are finishing schools for the year and will be heading into longer holidays.
  • Continue to continue to use positive behavioural strategies.
  • Make a visual calendar/timetable for them to follow.
  • Talk about any changes.
  • Keep routine as much as possible
  • Create photos albums of people who they will see at functions.

These could be some really important for children with autism.

How a Mums and Dads Feel During a Child’s Meltdown

screaming childWhen talking to any parent after a child who has had a tantrum in public a common comment that is said is that “people look like they have not seen a screaming child before.”   As a mum with autism, I have had numerous “well meaning” people say to me that my child needs a smack.  Mind you I do get a kick out of asking the person if I could smack them first.  Plus do not even get me started on people do not have any children who want to add in their 5c into the issue.  I like to ask them what do you know?

Usually after their opinion, I then inform them of the situation and they usually walk away with their tails in their legs.  You see a child screaming and in your head naturally you think you know the situation but usually you don’t.

Do you know how the mum and dad are feeling?  I remember a recent situation where Grace was having one of her meltdowns (emotional eruptions) whilst on a bike ride around the Maribyrnong River.  She was beyond being able to calm down quickly and all we could really do was wait it out until there was some change.  We spent the time telling her it was ok. But my goodness the looks that we received were incredible and even with some rubber neckers.

As a mum, I felt like a failure.  I could not provide her comfort when she needed it.  I felt like I had a good understanding of what she needed in these cases and usually it is a hug but on this day it all went out the window.  I felt embarrassed, I felt angry but mostly that I was all alone.

No one gave us any encouragement, not even a smile or any acknowledgement that they knew how I felt.  Instead of making mums and dads in this situation feel all alone, a kind word of acknowledgement or even help may make all the difference.  It is not easy for the child when they feel like this and mums and dads feel the same.  Understanding is what parents need not alienation.

So Proud of My Girl

Grace calisthenics awards I am so proud of my big girls Grace.  She simply amazes me on how far she has come.  After she was diagnosed with autism, we did wonder what the future will hold for her.  But my goodness with all the wonderful help we have received from therapists, her kindergarten teachers at Keilor Park Preschool and at Keilor Heights Primary school it has proven how essential it is to get all the help you can.

She started calisthenics at Kendara Calisthenics this year and to watch her grow has been amazing.  She is enthusiastic each week and really tries her best.  We had her final concert a week ago and she won the tinnies group annual award for all her hard work.

 

Steve and I realise that Grace will always try her best and she will always have such supportive people around her.  Even Emma was simply so excited for her big sister which is simply beautiful and I do hope that they will always be excited about each others achievements.

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