Many Autism families have more than one child on the Spectrum, but the truth is all too often the needs and emotions of those families are dismissed. It’s as though the second time around should be easier, as though they should somehow feel more prepared for the diagnosis and all it brings, as though they should already know the answers.
And the truth is, that that isn’t always the case at all.
So as families what can we do to make the process easier?
Be Kind To Yourself
It’s ok to be sad, it’s ok to be angry and it’s definitely ok to feel that this is unfair. Take time out when you need it, acknowledge that you are human. Recognise that even though you know the theories it’s ok not to know how to handle your emotions. On this front the second time around definitely isn’t any easier.
Focus On Today
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by what the future will hold, probably even more so from those of us who have already travelled that path. Focusing on today rather than on the future helps to reign those emotions in a little. Share hugs, do their favourite things, and tackle the things that are happening now. The future isn’t going anywhere, it will still be there tomorrow.
Find Someone You Can Talk To
Pre-diagnosis is the hardest stage, and with current waiting times it’s often a long one. Find someone who will listen, who cares and who won’t diminish your thoughts and feelings. It’s ok not to shout it from the rooftops – we all have that hope in the back of our heads that maybe we’re wrong – but we all need someone.
Remember It’s Ok Not To Have All Of The Answers
Each child is different, yes even if they are both on the Spectrum. Don’t feel guilty if the strategies you use with your eldest don’t seem to work. Instead allow yourself the time and space to figure out the strategies that work for your youngest. And if you need help, definitely ask for it. It’s ok not to know. Yes…. even the second time around.
It’s OK To Get It Wrong
Think how many times we tell our children it’s ok to make mistakes, and apply that to you. With the differing needs that two children inevitably bring to the equation, sometimes things are going to go wrong. In fact sometimes they are going to go wrong spectacularly. (In fact the picture on the post is from one such spectacular beach disasters – just to remind you that even I get it wrong some of the time). Breathe, and remember that tomorrow will be a better day. You can do this.
You Have This
I can’t give you a magic wand. But I can give you belief in you. This is hard. It’s really hard. And there are times it will feel as though it will overwhelm you. But you can do this. On the tough days wrap your children in your arms, but on the TV, stay in PJs and regroup. On the good ones, remember the world is your oyster. Anything is possible.
You can do this. I believe in you.
Why not join our lovely, friendly Facebook Group full of parents determined to make sure their children are #UNIQUEANDSUCCESSFUL.
If you do want to learn more you might find our autism section a useful place to start. It’s full of different strategies to try out.
Or if you’re looking for more personal support to help you take that action, why not check out our Consultancy Services.