When your child is diagnosed with autism, it is a crushing blow (sometimes the crushing blow comes from your child). Living with a child handicapped by autism is exhausting and stressful. We are under a lot of stress in the home. Then we are under a lot of pressure from professionals (and ourselves) to try to find the treatments that will “cure” our child. In the 1970s, there were very few treatments and services for children with autism.
Some of us who have accepted the crushing blow of autism, now have to accept another crushing blow. Our child will not be “cured” because they do not respond to the treatments. Many parents have spent many thousands of dollars on treatments for their child that did not work. I did not spend as much as some but what I did try did not work. I must admit that I did not handle this fact very well. I became paralyzed by fear. I felt isolated and alone. At least now, parents can communicate with each other and get helpful advice through the internet.
How do we accept this situation? In his booklet, “Thought Conditioners”, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale said that if we can’t change the situation, we can change our attitude about the situation. The attitude about the situation is more important than the fact of the situation. “Could this be true?”, I asked myself. Could I change my attitude about autism? The answer was yes, but it took years. I tell the story of how it happened in my book “Inspired By Autism”.
Have you heard of acting “as if”? When the situation is not what you want it to be, you act “as if” it is your desirable situation. I had to act “as if ” I loved my son when I did not feel any love because he was being hostile and aggressive to me and others. Susan Taylor said in her book “Lessons In Living” that when people are being most unlovable is when they need love the most. I had to pretend to him that I was a loving mother so that he would feel loved. I’d heard the saying that you can “fake it until you make it”. Could I? I could and I did.
My life with my son PJ has taught me that parents struggling with a child handicapped by autism need comfort and support. I tried to give comfort and support in “Inspired By Autism” by sharing my experiences and things that gave me comfort. Pervis and I started the PJ Foundation to give financial support to needy children with autism. I hope that you will give comfort or support to a friend or family member who is struggling with a child who is handicapped by autism.
Until next time; may you have Peace, Love, and Prosperity in your life.