Autism can be lonely world. Not just for the kids who have autism, but for the parents themselves. Or perhaps I am alone in my thoughts for this one. Regardless, I will admit that I find parenting a child with autism isolating and lonely. It's hard to explain, but non-autism parents just don't get why I parent so carefully, constantly armed with back-up plans and counter-moves in case something goes wrong. Because believe me, something always goes wrong. So yes, I do carry an extra calculator or two as a calm down tool. And yes, I scout out our environments for potential meltdown triggers like thermostats in public buildings that are always too darn low or are positioned strategically above a chair that a child could easily climb into. Like what is up with that?! And yes, I exchange glances with my husband in a restaurant as we quickly replace chicken nuggets from one child's plate to another because your husband mistakenly ripped a chicken nugget in half to cool (how dare he!) and we both know that a sensory meltdown in a restaurant is best avoided with ninja-like moves and silent exchanges. So what I'm saying is...I need to read other stories by autism parents. I really do. Their stories encourage me and give me hope that I'm not failing. Their stories remind me that yes, I've got a good handle on this thing called parenting or if not, that at least there's always tomorrow.
I don't care where you are in your autism journey, whether you are dealing with a fresh diagnosis or have had a diagnosis in hand for years, but I think it's safe to say that all autism parents could use a little extra encouragement and inspiration from time to time. So here are 10 must-read encouraging and inspiring articles for autism parents.
1. Autism: It's a Colorful, Vivid World in There from An Everyday Story - A mother's inspiring and beautifully written view of what autism is like.
"Autism is a gift if we choose to see it. A gift which opens our eyes to new wonders and teaches us to be better people." - Kate from An Everyday Story
2. I Know What Causes Autism from Carrie Cariello - One of the most powerful posts on autism that I have ever read.
"At the same time, I don’t want to focus so much on the what and when and where and how that I forget about the who." - Carrie Cariello
3. The Numbered Chair Game: How I Got My Child with Autism to Try Something New - My story of how we got my son to break from his rigid routine that is characteristic of kids with autism. If anything it gives you hope and reminds you to celebrate the victories no matter how small they are.
"And it worked on the first try like magic. No fights. No tears. Just a plain old parenting win." - Dyan from And Next Comes L
4. This is Our Autism from Four Plus an Angel - No two individuals with autism are the same. Jessica writes a lovely post about what their autism is.
"But here is the thing, our autism is not their autism and it’s not your autism either." - Jessica from Four Plus an Angel
5. The Things I Know Because of Autism from Carrie Cariello - A good reminder of the things autism teaches parents and a real look at what daily life with autism is like.
"I love someone with autism. Some days this is my very hardest job." - Carrie Cariello
6. I Have a Secret. I'm a Bad Autism Mom. from Picklehead Wigglebum Mum - It's okay for autism parents to feel like they are failing. This honest post reminds you are human and that your feelings are valid too.
"Act like you’re strong, even when you’re not." - Picklehead Wigglebum Mum
7. What Raising a Child with Autism Taught Me About Raising a Child Without from Four Plus an Angel - Such fascinating insight from a mother with multiple children.
[Autism] "has taught me to cheer when my kids stand out rather than sigh with relief when they fit in." - Jessica from Four Plus an Angel
8. I Know Who You Are from Carrie Cariello - A mom's honest admission to hating autism. One that all autism parents can relate to, I'm sure.
"You must believe me, Autism, when I tell you that I will never pack up my ball and go home." - Carrie Cariello
9. To My Son's Autism Therapists on Huffington Post - Us autism parents are always busy with therapies and appointments. We rely on these people for help and support. I love this unique perspective.
"But I wonder if you know what it's like to be me. I wonder if you have given any thought to what it is like to parent these children you work with every day." - Rebecca Smith Masterson
10. What Would You Say to a New Autism Parent? from Four Plus an Angel - A wonderful collection of inspiring quotes from other autism parents.