My son Matthew is approaching his 28th birthday. That would make me a well seasoned autism mom who has learned from doing and making a zillion mistakes along the way.
Here is a partial list of key mistakes that I have learned from:
- Stressing math and reading at every IEP meeting. What good was math and reading if Matthew couldn’t connect with his teacher and his classmates? If I could do it over again, I’d encourage his teacher, his aide, and everyone in his therapeutic circle to engage with him in a relationship based way.
- Finishing Matthew’s sentences. People learn nothing if you are always finishing their sentences. I’ve learned it is better to be patient, and to wait…….and to listen.
- Being the parent who was “better” with Matthew. “You’re better with Matthew,” my husband used to say. So I was exhausted and resentful. I should have demanded that Peter “be better” too. I did, eventually, and now we are (almost) even, and that is the way it is supposed to be.
- Hoping (even assuming) that Matthew’s siblings would be movies-made-for-TV-super-siblings. They are currently in the super category, but it was a process.
- Trying too hard to “make things right” for Matthew’s siblings during difficult times.
- Not getting professional help when I was overwhelmed. “Talking to a therapist is not going to fix anything. I just have to tough it out.” Not true.
- Not connecting the members of Matthew’s treatment team. Why didn’t I do that? We were all managing Matthew’s challenges in different ways. It must have been so confusing for him.
- Doing too much for Matthew. Not only was Matthew capable of doing so much, he loves working and the praise that follows.
- Leaving Matthew with a sitter that I wasn’t sure about. Ugh.
Enough for now. I’m sure I’ll wake up in the middle of the night and remember more.
What have you learned from your autism parenting mistakes?
Next time: Autism parenting then vs. autism parenting now.
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