When my now six year old son was diagnosed with autism I new it would be a journey. I knew that I would need a lot of help and that I was sort of out of my element. What I didn’t realize was how transformational it would be to me. I didn’t realize I would learn new skills and sort of become a whole different mom. Somewhere along the way I’d become an “autism mom”. That I would become a stronger, more self assured parent ready to help my child exceed. I would also have a set of experience that would be unique to being an autism mom. Here are my five signs that I was an autism mom that maybe you’ve experienced too.
You’ve Strategically Entered and Exited Bathrooms With Loud Hand Dryers
Those automatic hand dryers are not your friend if you have a child with sensory sensitivities. I have planned my entrance into countless bathrooms so that my oldest son and I avoided the loud hand dryers. For those of us with children with sensory sensitivities we are constantly trying to help our kids manage loud, uncomfortable and surprising sounds, as well as other sensations.
You Speak in Acronyms
ABA, LCSW, IEP, OT, SLP… you know what I’m talking about. As a parent of a child with autism you have learned all sorts of terms and lingo that you never would have otherwise heard. It’s not rare that I’m talking to a friend and mention “Ross’ OT” only to be met by confusion. These acronyms and the terms behind them become second nature as we navigate the world of special needs parenting.
You Are a Compulsive Researcher
Research twice, do it once. If I had a motto that would be mine. Google is my friend and gives me lots of information, until it gives me too much and I get overwhelmed. As parents of children with autism we research so we do what’s best for our child. We try to stay on top of the latest research and trends and make sure we are giving our children all the support that we can.
You Don’t Have The Luxury to Not Be a
You’ve probably tried being relaxed, hanging back and seeing if it would be ok. Maybe it was… until it wasn’t. If you’re the parent of a child with autism they often need support, reassurance and many times an example of how to engage with the outside world. Being laid back may have led to meltdowns, struggles with peers, and tears. As an autism mom we don’t often get to be laid back and that’s okay. We are supportive and a little bit of a helicopter parent, and that’s ok.
You Put Everyone Else First, and Sometimes Forget About Yourself
Special needs parenting burnout is real and as amazing as we are at looking after everyone else, sometimes we forget about ourselves. We are the caregiver to everyone except ourselves. We are accepting of everyone’s differences and shortcomings except for our own. We are the awesome parents of special needs but it’s a hard job. We learn to accept help, take breaks, and forgive ourselves because in the end that is the best for our children. Being an autism mom, or dad, is hard but we are our children’s best advocate, friend, and support system.
So, how did you know you were an autism mom? Let me know in the comments then be sure to sign up for our newsletter for all the latest.