Parenting a child is not an easy task. With a child diagnosed with Autism, it becomes even more difficult, tedious and exhausting for a parent to constantly help and push the child to do their best. However, by staying patient, keeping yourself up to date with the strategies that can be used for the child’s better progress, and being a strong advocate for your child, they can live a much happier, successful and fulfilling life. This article will give you the best ways, tips and strategies that can help you become an effective advocate for your loved one diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In the initial days of the diagnosis, you might find yourself clueless regarding Autism and your child’s behavioral symptoms. Sometimes you’d see your child struggling with their needs, but you might be unable to understand it. If you want to help your child and understand their wants and needs, one this is for sure- You need to make yourself an expert on Autism. Only once you know about it, you’ll be able to help them or at least be able to seek help from the right person. For this, read blogs, attend workshops, read his/her reports, and try to explore and grab as much knowledge and information as possible from a variety of credible sources.
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As a parent of a child with special needs, you need to be constantly on your toes. Write down the areas you think your child needs help with and discuss them with their special educator. Also, analyse and keep a note of the goals he/she has already achieved. For instance, if your child is about to attend a new class or will be going on a different bus, it is obvious that he/she might be meeting several new people. Generally, individuals diagnosed with ASD find it difficult to interact or accept a change, and so you need to proactively find out which new persons are going to take the responsibility of your child.
Fix a meeting with them and discuss your child’s requirements and understanding with them. Share your contact details, just in case they need your assistance regarding your child. For instance, if your child’s bus is going to take a new route from the next day onwards, you need to prepare your child beforehand for this change. Proactively, contact the school authority or bus fleet manager and ask them the directions. To ease out your child’s stress, you can drive him/her along the same route in the evening and tell the child, “You will go by school bus via this route tomorrow.”
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You probably would be referring or soon planning to refer a child counseling expert or a special educator, or clinician for your child’s improved development. To keep things organized, try to maintain a written record of your child’s reports, tests, progress cards, evaluations, medical records, etc. This will help the concerned person in conveniently evaluating your child’s progress and build plans for the goals that are to be achieved by your child. Moreover, keeping these documents ready at all times would empower you for advocating your child.
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Constantly keep in touch with your child’s teacher, shadow teacher, (in case he/she has one,) therapists, clinicians, etc and enquire them about your child. You can make a short questionnaire for them to fill. For instance, when you go to pick up your child after school, you can hand out a questionnaire to his/her teacher.
Also, try to communicate with your child and try to know if they are having any problems or issues at school or the therapy centre.
At times when you find it hard to understand how to help your child, it’s best to reach out for help. Consult a therapist or a child counseling expert as he/she will be able to better guide you with the comprehensive treatment plan that works best for your child. You can simply type in your browser, “child counseling near me” or “autism counseling near me” and you will have several options to choose from. Look for a centre that has a team of Occupational therapists, Child psychologists, Speech and language therapists, Special educators, etc who can together for the best interests of your child.
Following these ways will enable you to become a strong and effective advocate for your child. Not only this, but it will also encourage your child’s growth and holistic development.
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