So I took a poll the other day (very unscientific – I asked a question on our Facebook page) asking my autism friends what was the most useful thing someone told you when your child was first diagnosed. The overwhelming response was to connect with other parents. Interestingly enough, that is the first piece of advice I give to any parent, whether their child is newly diagnosed or they’ve been at this for a while now. I remember a mom of a young kid (I think about 4 years old) had called me and I invited her to come along to our support group that afternoon and meet some other moms. She clearly was having a tough day. She arrived and told us, through her tears, how she had just had a difficult conversation with her mother who refused to believe that her son was anything other than a “picky eater” and how it was HER fault that he wouldn’t eat any more than 5 foods. Just at that moment, one of the other moms perks up and says “FIVE? He eats FIVE foods? We only eat 3 at my house . . . “ The look on our new mom’s face was priceless. She had found her peeps! What a gift, to be with others who have “been there, done that” and truly understand what it is you are dealing with. In my support group, we talk, we vent, we cry, we laugh, we share resources and information (sometimes we even go and do karaoke and drink wine). We also cook meals for members who are sick or have just given birth to a new baby, we attend PPT meetings, we arrange play dates, we use each other as our emergency contact for school (who else will not be fazed by any “behaviors” your child may have) we support each other. So, to quote another mom “. . . none of the advice any of the “expert professionals” gave us was worth a thing. Didn’t get any good advice until I started talking with other moms.” Find a local support group here.
Can’t find one? Got a group who wants to start one? Drop us an e-mail and we can help you get started. You’ll be off and running (or supporting!) in no time.