A consistent, recurring theme for parents of autistic children has long been, “You know your child best.” While this is not always easy for parents with a new diagnosis to accept, or understand, those of us who have been doing this for a while recognize what it means.
Listen to the doctors, the teachers, the experts. Read whatever you can find. Try different approaches to helping you and your child. But in the end, do what YOU as the parent believe is best, based on your knowledge of your child. Specific programs – whether it be ABA, chelation, mainstreaming in school, etc – will never be successful if they are blindly implemented without your or your child’s individual needs being used as part of the decision.
A while back I picked up Deng Ming-Dao’s 365 Tao – Daily Meditations. As its name suggests, it has one Taoist meditation per day. I’m not a Taoist (I don’t think), and came upon the book after reading another by Deng, Chronicles of Tao, itself a very interesting story. (To be honest, I’m not really sure if it is fiction or not – it is presented as a true story – but in the end it didn’t really matter; it’s a good book.) I have found that many of the meditations in the book are very useful and, indeed, practical. I’ve marked each of the pages with the appropriate date (there is a chart in the back of the book that does this, but I like having the dates on the page), and have referred to it off and on for many years now.
Yesterday’s entry, Retrospective, resonated with me as I was thinking of those common themes of parenting, especially parenting an autistic child:
You could labor ten years under a master
Trying to discern whether the teachings are true.
But all you might learn is this:
One must live one’s own life.
Too often today we try to live life like others expect us to, this is a nice reminder that our lives are our own, and that they are ours to live. Which brings to mind something I saw on a young man’s t-shirt last weekend at a local Yugi-Oh tournament:
The only way to know who you are is to go somewhere you don’t have to be anyone else.