I didn’t plan on writing about Autism and ADHD until I learned about World Autism Awareness Day and ADHD Awareness Month. The whole subject brings up years of memories and personal experience raising children with ADHD, a developmental disorder that people do not understand.
While I didn’t raise Autistic children, I know the hardship of fitting the pieces together to get through life with ADHD. Support groups and awareness days were non-existent at that time.
Autism and ADHD Awareness
Autism Awareness and ADHD or any sort of “developmental disorder” awareness is not just for parents but also for educators and other people in society.
Speaking from the viewpoint of the parent I can tell you that if you suspect your child is different, learn all you can about the disorder. Doctors have a lot of knowledge, but in many cases they don’t know anymore than you do. So educate yourself on everything.
The same goes for teachers. Regular education teachers are not as well equipped to deal with Autistic children or children with ADHD. Teachers are people just like anyone else and can become annoyed or judge a child without getting to the root of the problem.
The sobering fact is that most people don’t know a thing about any of these developmental disorders and are highly judgmental toward the child and the parents.
The next time you see a child throwing a fit in public, running around in circles or knocking things over, don’t judge the parent or the child, say a prayer for them instead because you don’t know what they might be going through.
Struggling through daily life
If you are struggling through daily life with a child who is Autistic, ADHD, etc. let me tell you that the road is rough. Sometimes it is hard to fit all the pieces together, but you will get through it.
Always remind yourself of these few things:
- God gave you this child because you are strong enough to handle it
- Take it one day at a time
- Stay in the present. Don’t look too far ahead or too far back, it is all overwhelming
- Try to find a support group or someone to confide in and bounce off your frustrations
- Take time for yourself whenever you can, you need renewal of energy
- Get out of the house. It is very easy to become secluded and home-bound because simply going to dinner or to the grocery store is a traumatic event. Try not to let that happen, and also realize that the child, even with his or her disorder, still needs to learn to behave in public.
Keeping in focus
Parents and educators (both the regular and the special education teacher) need to always keep in focus: to love and educate the child. I know it’s hard sometimes, but the reward at the end is immense.
The most rewarding day of my life was seeing my sons graduate from High School, no one really knew how hard it was to get to that moment. But I did.