The Uncomfortable Truth about Parenting a Child with Autism

The Uncomfortable Truth about Parenting a Child with Autism

The Uncomfortable Truth about Parenting a Child with Autism

 

I recently spoke with a father who had a 7 year old daughter he described as Non Verbal Level 3 Autism and he wanted to work on Potty Training and Feeding Goals (Sitting at the table, using utensils etc.).
 
I was really curious as to why communication wouldn’t be on the list as a priority as well.
 
He said it was, and in fact this weekend his family and friends were going to be fundraising to earn enough money to get her an AAC device for communication.
 
So I asked about her ability to communicate so far…

 

“Can she make sounds?”

“Yes” said dad

“Can she say words?”

“Yes, but she doesn’t use them to speak with us.”

Now I am really confused, and I asked…

“If she can actually say words, why are you fundraising for a talker?”

 

I could instantly see I caught dad off guard, he was speechless (Pun intended).
 
So then I asked…

 

“How does she tell you what she wants?”

 

Dad said ….”She hand leads me to the pantry. But if I asked her to say the word “cookie” or “chip”, she won’t say it, so then I give it to her, and Michelle you have to understand I have a very sweet little girl with no problem behaviors and I’d like it to stay that way.”

 

When parents say shit like this to me… it’s like a punch to the gut.

 

I love children, and I look at every single one of them as these little sponges of potential.

 

Thinking thoughts like this is throwing away your child’s future.
 
I replied…

 

You are fundraising for a communication device you do not need. In fact it will be another reason communication doesn’t happen faster than it should.”

 

We need to give your child reason to want to use her voice, even if that means your calm child is a bit unhappy with the new rules. You are not doing her any favors when she can clearly say words and you don’t require her to use them.

 

The only reason his daughter is not speaking is it’s optional in their home to do so.

 

Dad believes that having a tantrum free child is MORE VALUABLE than shaking her tree which means she might not be thrilled and maybe will get upset if he changes the rules of engagement, but this is only TEMPORARY.

 

Once she realizes the only way to get what she needs is to use her voice it will make more sense to her to USE IT vs TANTRUM.

 

You have to be willing to show your child the ultimate sign of a parent’s love by teaching them important life skills, even if it’s hard.

 

No one says…
 
“yay me, let’s go make my kid cry”

 

It’s just part of the job of parenting meaning…

 

AUTISM OR NOT, sometimes the lessons you teach as a parent will be difficult but NECESSARY.

 

 If this is where you find yourself when it comes to pushing your child to reach their potential, whether it be communication or potty training, I ask you this…

 

If this child was not on the Autism Spectrum, would this be acceptable in your home?

 

The answer should be NO! and then you really need to look in the mirror and make a decision….

 

Are you more comfortable with a non-communicating, diaper wearing sweet child in your home?

 

or…

 

Would you rather have a messy life that included cleaning up pee and poop, hearing your child cry when they refuse to pick up the picture card or say the word for what they want…

 

BUT…

 

this messy existence ultimately led to a potty trained, chatty child with a chance at an independent future?

 

Because keeping shit comfortable is at the cost of this outcome.

 

I am not asking you to do things that are more uncomfortable than the reality you are living now.

 

Both scenarios are painful…

 

just one is more familiar because you’ve been living a life with zero to little progress for so long.

 

Everyday you are making a decision to just let them hand lead you to the cookie vs making them ask for it…
 
or

 

You put on the pull up when your child could be potty trained…

 

When you do this, You are setting yourself up to have a child that will need forever care.

 

And I am not going to lie to you, “Messy” will be painful too.

 

The only difference is MESSY has the promise of a BETTER life at the end of it.
 
The good news is…

 

1. Now you can never say no one ever told you and…

 

2. Every minute of every day you can stop and DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!!!!

 

We make this choice countless times every day.

 

The next time you look at your child and think about the long term effects of the life you are living now…make a declaration…

 

Are we doing to just do more of the same which will lead my child right into the group home?

 

or….

 

What is the one thing I can do differently today to move my child towards the independent life I wanted for them before the diagnosis came?

 

What I tell my clients is that you can make it a priority to potty train, teach your baby to communicate NO MATTER your life circumstances

 

or

 

You can also make it a priority to find all the reasons it can’t happen.

 

The choice to course correct is always available to you.

 

The choice to believe something different is ready for the taking.

 

You just have to MOVE towards it.

 

xoxo
Michelle

 

P.S.

If you’re feeling stuck in a cycle of taking the path of least resistance at the sake of an independent future for your child, then I want to help you. I run the Champions for Our Children Masterclass where we help parents master the Big 3 and FEEL GOOD doing it. Book a call to learn more about my program and see if it makes sense for us to work together.

P.P.S. Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for your daily dose of Autism Momming like a Boss knowledge. CLICK HERE!

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Michelle B. Rogers is an Autism Mom & Life Coach for Parents of Children with Autism. She is an expert in helping parents Potty Train and Improve the Communication Skills of their children, with a "straight forward" results-driven approach. Her mission is helping every child with Autism to reach their greatest potential by empowering their parents. She provides Autism Parents with the mental, emotional and tactical tools and strategies to help their child live as independent of a life as possible so they too get their independence back.

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1 thought on “The Uncomfortable Truth about Parenting a Child with Autism”

  1. Yes but….. my son is 46 years old and I’m still doing too much for him! I’m getting old and tired and I really can’t see my way out of this. My oh my….

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