For the parents
For any parent of a child with autism, it is natural to feel upset, annoyed or even frustrated. In the first few weeks, it is very likely for parents to play "the blame game" - feeling guilty of themselves as well as blaming other people in the family. A mother with an autistic child may keep asking herself if it was the glass of wine that she had in her pregnant period, or the long hours working, or her husband tickling the baby so much in his first years.., that cause the problem. But remember there is no time for blaming. As a parent, you will need the support from others, and also the confidence in yourself. Here are some things that parents should do:
Take a deep breath - Get used to the situation
It will take time to get used to the fact that your child has autism. Allow yourself some time to relax - take a bubble bath, go jogging in the park, walk the dog - anything that can help soothe your mind, and do not feel guilty about doing this. You will need to regain your composure to help you, your family and especially your child with autism.
Be ready to share feelings and ask for support
This is not the time when you want to close your heart. This is the time when you will need support, experience and emotions sharing. Stay close to all the members in your family, listen to their stories and difficulties, and try to work them out together.
Caring for your autistic child does not mean that you will have to sacrifice the whole family. Of course in the process of raising the child, you will find it necessary to leave behind some of your goals, but if you allow your child and his/ her special needs to drive all the family members away, your family life will be ruined. Try to keep balance and work together with other family members to find out the best way to educate the child.
Don't be too protective
It is all right to protect your child from harm, especially when he/she is so vulnerable towards many things in the environment. However, being over-protective will not make the situation any better, and can even lead to counter-productivity, as the child will be likely to throw tantrums at anything and ruin the family life.
Love your child
This isn't a skill to be taught, as every parent loves their child. But loving your child and accepting the person he/she is, thus not putting much pressure on him/her and on yourself, may be difficult to learn. Don't reject your child - you will feel more painful that way. Instead, start finding appropriate intervention for your child.
Green, Gill (2000). "My Child Has Autism - A Parent's Guide". Singapore: Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). Page 2.
Wing, Lorna (1996). "The Autistic Spectrum - A Guide for Parents and Professionals". London: Constable and Company Limited. Pages 17-21.
Happé, Francessa (1994). "Autism - an introduction to psychological theory". London: University College London Press Limited. Pages 7-14.
The National Autistic Society