Parent Contributions

boy With Park Trash

Celebrate the Small Wins

As the parent of a non-verbal child with autism, I’ve learned to find joy in the small things. For example, one of my favorite moments came when my son was about three years old. He had always struggled to communicate his needs, and we were constantly trying to find ways to help him express himself.

One day, we were out at the park when my son suddenly ran over to a trash can and started frantically pointing at it. My husband and I looked at each other, wondering what on earth he was trying to say. After a moment of confusion, we realized that he was trying to tell us that he was hungry.

We quickly pulled out a snack from our bag and offered it to him. As he happily munched on his treat, we couldn’t help but laugh and feel heart-warmed by the progress he had made in communicating his needs. It was a small moment, but it meant the world to us as parents.

As I’ve learned over the years, parenting a child with autism is full of ups and downs, but it’s also full of moments of joy and pride. It’s these small victories that keep us going and remind us of how far our children have come. So, don’t lose hope and keep trying to communicate with your child. Every small step matters.

Autism may change the path, but it doesn’t define the journey

As a parent, I have come to realize that autism may change the path of our journey through life, but it does not define it.

When our child was diagnosed with autism, it was a difficult and emotional time. We were unsure of what the future held and how this would impact our child’s development and overall quality of life.

However, as time has passed and we have learned more about autism and how to best support our child, we have come to see that it is just one aspect of who they are. It does not define them or limit their potential.

Sure, there may be challenges and obstacles along the way. There may be therapies and interventions that are necessary to help our child reach their full potential. But, ultimately, it is up to us as parents to help our child navigate their unique path and to support them as they grow and develop.

And as we do this, we have come to realize that our child is just like any other child – full of potential, curiosity, and a love of life. They may learn and process information differently, but that does not mean they are any less capable or deserving of a fulfilling and meaningful life.

So, while autism may change the path of our journey, it does not define it. It is just one stop along the way, and we will continue to support and advocate for our child as they make their way through this beautiful and unpredictable journey called life.

A Boy And His Dog

Finding Joy and Purpose in the Love of a Pet: A Parent’s Story of Caring for a Child with Severe Autism

As the parent of a child with severe autism, I never knew what to expect when it came to my son’s development. He struggled with communication and social interaction, and I wasn’t sure how he would cope with the responsibility of caring for a pet.

So, when my son begged for a puppy, I was hesitant. But I also knew how much he loved animals, and I didn’t want to deny him the chance to have a companion. So, we took the plunge and got a sweet little golden retriever puppy.

At first, things were a bit rocky. My son had a hard time understanding how to care for the puppy and would get frustrated when she made a mess or chewed on his toys. But as the weeks and months went by, I started to see a change in my son. He became more patient and nurturing, and he seemed to find joy in caring for the puppy.

As the years passed, my son and the puppy grew up together. They became inseparable, and the puppy provided my son with a sense of purpose and responsibility. She was always by his side, offering comfort and unconditional love.

One of my favorite memories was the day my son, who had always struggled with communication, finally found the words to tell me how much he loved his puppy. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “I love her so much, Mom. She’s my best friend.” It was a small moment, but it meant the world to me as a parent. It was a reminder that even when we face challenges, love and companionship can make all the difference.

school woes

Strategies for Successful Play Dates with Children on the Autism Spectrum

As a parent of a child with autism, play dates can be a great way for your child to socialize and have fun with their peers. However, it is important to consider the unique needs and challenges of your child when planning a play date. Here are a few strategies for successful play dates with children on the autism spectrum:

  1. Choose the right playmate: It is important to choose a playmate who is understanding and patient, and who is willing to accommodate your child’s needs. This may involve choosing a playmate who is familiar with autism, or who is willing to learn more about it.
  2. Set clear expectations: Before the play date, it is important to set clear expectations with your child and their playmate. This may involve discussing appropriate behaviors and rules, as well as any sensory or social challenges that your child may face.
  3. Prepare a calming environment: Children with autism may be sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, and other sensory stimuli. To create a calming environment for the play date, consider setting up a quiet, low-stimulus space for your child and their playmate to play in.
  4. Use visual supports: Visual supports, such as schedules, social stories, and picture cards, can be helpful in helping children with autism understand and follow social rules and expectations. Consider using these supports during the play date to help your child understand what is expected of them.
  5. Encourage communication: Children with autism may have difficulty with social communication. Encourage your child to communicate their needs and preferences during the play date, and consider using alternative communication methods if needed.

By following these strategies, you can help ensure that your child’s play date is successful and enjoyable for everyone involved.