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The Benefits to Parenting a Child on the Autism Spectrum

Moms and dads of Aspergers and high-functioning autistic (HFA) kids can lead lives that are often complex, complicated by their youngster's differences. Many times such complications are imposed by others who do not understand or appreciate your child's way of being in the world.

Like all parents, you have likely done or said hurtful things to your child out of frustration or exasperation. This is typical of any mother or father, not just the parent of a youngster with Aspergers or HFA. Your frustration may stem from your child's limitations or your own challenge to cope day-to-day. You may wish your son or daughter would “snap out of it” and “get with the program.”

If you have been unable to see the glass as half-full rather than half-empty, then hopefully these “benefits” listed below will help you to recognize the profound journey that you have embarked upon as a mother or father of a child on the autism spectrum.

The Benefits to Parenting an Aspergers or HFA Child:

1. Computer technology and the Internet have revolutionized the world, and in particular, have been a blessing for the autistic youngster. As a result, it is entirely possible for your child to communicate with others around the world who are also seeking a connectedness in learning about the disorder and themselves. Through these relationships, your youngster may very well develop an enhanced confidence and comfort level about living with the condition.

2. In seeking formal and informal supports for your youngster, don't be surprised if you are both a ‘recipient of service’ and an ‘educator to others’. It may be one of your missions in life to help other parents of "special needs" children who are currently going through trials and tribulations that you have previously experienced.

3. Many mothers and fathers who survived the turmoil that an “autism spectrum diagnosis” can bring have gone on to develop wonderful support groups, products, agencies and organizations to make life easier for others. Maybe you’ll be one of these humanitarians.

4. Even if you are struggling currently, understand that you are raising a child who will likely have the ability to (a) focus intensely (on obsessions if nothing else), (b) notice details, (c) have a good memory, and (d) be a visual thinker with a unique mind.

5. Understand that without your youngster in your life, you would be a different person. As the mother or father of a youngster on the spectrum, your life has been forever changed. Maybe you have become stronger, more vocal, or more defensive in protection of your youngster and his rights. Maybe you are more tolerant and compassionate of differences in people of all kinds. In any event, you have developed emotional muscles that you never would have developed otherwise.

6. Whether you realize it or not, you and your youngster have been on quite a journey together. He has worked very hard to adapt to people, places, and things that are often very difficult to understand without your support and guidance.

7. Even if you don't see it yet, your youngster has a great desire to give back to you and others. He has a lot to offer you as well as the rest of the world – and he has every reason to assume his rightful place in the world and be recognized for his contributions.

8. Whether you see it or not, your youngster has come a long way toward becoming more self-sufficient and independent.

9. Your youngster will reflect back to you what you project upon him. Armed with your loving support, your trust and your confidence, your son or daughter will be poised for great things. And you have every reason to expect them.

10. It is very likely that you will be able to say some great things about your youngster in the not-so-distant future. For example, my child:
  • Does not get bogged-down with preconceived notions
  • Is ambitious and motivated
  • Is dependable and a hard worker
  • Is honest and trustworthy
  • Is non-biased and non-prejudiced
  • Is usually fair, just and objective
  • Is very inclusive, accepting and non-judgmental
  • Is very intelligent and knowledgeable
  • Tends to finish what he/she starts
  • Will research everything exhaustively to come to well-rounded, factual based opinions

More resources for parents of children and teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism:


Anonymous said...

Michelle Cagle Thank you! We all need reminding. ;) My son (Quinlan) is eight years old. We are learning everyday to love and treasure each moment.

Anonymous said...

AshleyandJustin Fenton Well said michelle! :)
14 minutes ago
Kathy Foster awesome and thank you. :)
11 minutes ago
Kathy Pitts Being reminded is definitely refreshing.
7 minutes ago

Jennifer said...

Thank you for reminding me of these things!!

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm so glad and thankful for this page! My 12yr old boy just started going thru some testing and after many hrs and days and eventhough we are still not finish the neurologist and psychiatrist inform me that they think is aspergers. I'm having a hard time with the diagnosis and feel that the few people I've told do not understand me! The more I read about the diagnosis although conflicting at times it describes my son a lot. I feel alone, fustrated and angry. I'm also scared and nervous about school begining soon. There is so much more but I just don't the the time or energy to write. Thank you for this page again! Its a great support system for me!

Anonymous said...

Autistic Spectrum Information, Therapies, Interventions & Support (ASITIS) My daughter is now High Functioning and it is so hard to remember that she actually doesn't always understand what you expect her to because her receptive language is way below her expressive language ability, but we are working on that. When we do remember we all feel so bad for getting so frustrated with her and making her feel she is the one who is to blame...But with the guilt I also try to remind myself and the rest of the family that all parents and daughters, brother and sisters, cousins and others get frustrated with each other and she is a young person first and has autism second which causes her difficulties but it is not ALL what she is about... we have to look at the personality and the beautiful gentle, kind, loving person there and help her understand in a different way!....We are all different and wouldn't it be terrible if we weren't? We would all be fighting each other for the same things!...ΓΌ
5 hours ago · Like · 1 person
A Little Bloomer Like a roller coaster ride living with a child with Asperger's. Up and down we go with her all the time trying to stay patient and understanding. The ongoing question is how much truly can she control? We are learning and so is she.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this thoughtful, respectful article. You have such a gentle way of speaking truth about our Aspergers children. Item #10 was a gift -- a reminder of how we can overlook these wonderful traits in the midst of the challenges day to day. I'm going to share one of these strengths with my nine year old son right now and thank him for being who he is.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this article. When things get super-challenging with my DD7, I'm going to look back at this article to remind myself of the positives.

Anonymous said...

Thanks heaps. Its so easy to judge yourself and feel isolated but it is nice to know we are all battling on the same. With all the negatives we get from everyone around us it is nice to have an opportunity to enjoy the possitives in life and respect the journey that we have come through so far.

Anonymous said...

Tears! we all need reminding sometimes, not to get bogged down in how hard it can be.x

Anonymous said...

Patricia Sutton Thank you so much for this article. When things get super-challenging with my DD7, I'm going to look back at this article to remind myself of the positives.
August 4 at 4:16pm · Like · 1 person

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children with ASD Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...