By Brigitte Shipman
In this episode of Mother’s Guide Through Autism, my son Joseph and I discuss together the 5 Things that Joseph was glad that I did raising him with autism.
We reflect our journey through these 5 points that Joseph felt helped him the most throughout his childhood. We offer insight for mothers raising children with autism as well as for those on the spectrum.
Joseph talks about how encouraging peculiar interests and obsessions of an autistic child can be used as a tool to learn new skills and how curiosity should be encouraged and pursued to expand the child's mind instead of looking at it as a symptom or a negative aspect of autism.
Joseph encourages mothers to not protect their children with autism from every discomfort (unless in the case of sensory issues) and to include them in social functions as much as they can.
He also discusses the importance of giving a child an opportunity to have some kind of autonomy and choice even if they're on the spectrum where they need more assistance.
It was always encouraged for him to not default to ask somebody else to help when he couldn’t figure it out. He had to sit there and figure it out, though of course, his shoulder was looked over a lot. It was in the effort to make him more independent in the future.
He is also glad that I did not blindly take the word of medical professionals. He was given a fighting chance to be included in the regular classroom even when he was assessed as mentally deficient by an IQ test. I fought for him to be included.
Joseph gives this message to all mother guides and caregivers out there: Living a happy and fulfilling life is always possible wherever you are on the spectrum. And it doesn’t have to look or behave or sound a certain way.
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