Friday, February 25, 2011

How to Stay Strong As a Family When You Find Out Your Child Has Autism

Every family has expectations and dreams for their children. We all want our children to have a better education, and better life than we have. When parents hear a diagnosis of autism, shattered dreams and expectations are the new reality. Their lives and the life of their child will be charting new territory.

No family is ever ready for that diagnosis. A variety of emotions come to surface. You have the child you dreamed of, but the future you envisioned is now gone and replaced with what? It is a type of grief and the feelings are very real and intense. You grieve for the life you had dreamed of. The normal steps of grief fall in place, denial, anger, quilt,and acceptance.

Anger is a common feeling when the child you love so much has autism. You are incredibility sad, and feel like you are alone, bereft of support. This is the time that it is so important for the parents to bond and work in unison to do whatever the child needs. This includes intervention, early screening, and receiving needed services. You must understand and accept that these feelings are normal and expected.

In time acceptance will come but until it does you feel a deep sense of being wronged. Your frayed nerves means even the smallest thing can set off on a tantrum. You feel you need to blame someone. It is common to blame yourself, and then your spouse.

This is a crucial point in your marriage and your family. The diagnosed child may never experience these feelings, but the parents, siblings, and extended family do.This is a challenging time for every family. Each person processes the information and the future differently. Some will handle it better and others will experience more problems.

Parents may under-estimate the depth of their ability to cope with and help their child. You must advocate for your child; at the same time you need to take time for yourselves as a couple. You must also consider other children in the family, not to lock them out, but to include them and their opinions.

It is very important for family members to keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your feelings and emotions. Support each other, consider joining a support group. Autism is a multi-faceted disorder affecting every aspect of life. In time you see the world from a different perspective.You will become better parents and the family unit bonds with love and common goals.

Because you and your family are working together the family remains strong, and some families are even stronger after diagnosis.

Patricia M. Hines invites you to visit her blog at To read more information about dealing with negative people

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