Rita's 5 Musts for Every ASD Family

CREATE YOUR VILLAGE – It is essential to surround yourself with people who are able to understand your journey with your special child. These are people who you can be yourself with, can share your most difficult moments with and who will be positive and non-judgmental with your transparency. These individuals are the backbone of your journey and can help you have a harmonious life while parenting a child with special needs (ASD). You need people who will be there for you and for your child. Therapists, teachers and social workers are obvious candidates, but you also need friends, coaches, cheerleaders, childcare people, errand running people, ‘give me a moment so I can breathe’ people. And they need you and the experience of being in your space and in your life.

KNOW YOUR POWER - It is important to realize that you know your child best! There are many professionals who will believe that they know what your child needs in order to get better. However, the truth is you are the one who lives with your child on a daily basis and you get to truly see what is happening moment to moment. Use your intuition to guide you as you explore what is best for your child. Give yourself permission to pick and choose the advice that feels best to you based on what you know about your child.

KNOW THAT THERE IS NO "ONE CURE" - So many parents believe when they start a specific treatment approach that is ‘the one’ that will truly make a difference in their child’s life. Often, that is not the case. Intervention is a giant puzzle and each approach and therapy is a small part of the whole. It is most useful to look at each approach as a step to the next level of your child’s development. Like peeling the layers of an onion, each approach will bring you closer and closer to the deeper layers of your child. If you realize that this is the way life works naturally, you can be more present with the process and allow yourself to adopt a new treatment with ease when the one you have chosen has stopped giving you the results you are looking for.

CREATE SPACE FOR YOUR CHILD – It is important to make an area or a room where your child can feel calm, a space free of offensive sensory stimulation. However, remember that what is over stimulating for one child might be very regulating for another. Be attentive to your child specific sensory needs. When it comes to the common areas, it is useful to have little clutter and wide open space for the child to move around.

GET REGULATING TOYS – It is great to have toys and objects that your child can use independently to help regulate their energy. Some of the most common and useful objects are: trampoline, tent, therapy/yoga ball, bean bag, an egg swivel chair (ex. from Ikea), music player (and choice of sensory regulating music).