Raising a child on the autism spectrum is no easy feat but after more than a decade in, I’ve learned a few things out in the world that has made me a better mother and with that, hopefully, given my daughter a better future. And as a huge fan of “The Mandolorian,” I couldn’t help but notice that there are some real truths to be learned. Why wouldn’t there be? After all, Mando’a is a fighter, cast in a priceless, tough set of armor that he never takes off, but underneath lies a soft and compassionate soul that longs for justice.
I’ve never heard a more apt definition of an Autism Warrior Parent in my life!
- Never EVER take your battle gear off. The minute you relax you’ll need to get back up and fight so what’s the point? Nobody needs to see your true face all the time. Seriously. Warrior Mom is good enough. No one needs to know how soft you really are, except that precious child.
- Different is still precious. Seriously, look at those puppy dog Baby Yoda eyes! Your child is precious to you too – and that’s as it should be, so you can parent her into being all she can be.
- Your child will develop at his or her own pace. Train him well, yes, but give him time. Baby Yoda is already 50 whole years old and no more advanced than a human 4-year-old.
- Your kid might not grow out of mouthing toys. This is a side effect of having sensory issues. If the worst thing your child put in his mouth today is not breakable, sharp, full of poisonous chemicals, and or small enough to swallow, you’re actually having a pretty good day.
- Give your child the proper gear. Baby Yoda has a cushy collapsable metal floating baby carrier that I would have killed for when my girls were little! Still, there are PLENTY of safety devices available to keep our kids safe from harm, from wandering, and a whole lot more.
- Find friends who will FIERCELY defend your child. Autism parents CAN be an army of one or two, but when you have support, that changes EVERYTHING! Even if you don’t have support that includes childcare, the sanity from a fellow parent in the trenches is invaluable.
- Treat your childcare providers like gold. If you find a good one, don’t let her go…and pay him or her well!
- Feed your child well. Bone broth is the essential element of GAPS, the must-do nutritional healing food diet that all our kids most likely need.
- Your kid has unique abilities! Walking, talking, riding a bike…all overrated. My kid’s superpower was 6-figure computation in her head.
- There is no place too far to go to keep our kids safe. We will go, do, pay, try, test, evaluate, travel, anywhere, any time, any requirement to help our kids.
- Inclusion means our families too! People on the autism spectrum need full inclusion with their peers who do not have disabilities. It’s good for everyone.
- Parenting an autistic child has a steep learning curve. NO ONE knows how to parent right out of the gate. Don’t freak out if your child has a diagnosis suddenly. You’ll learn on the fly, just like all parents.