Waiting for over a decade to have a baby is brutal, but it becomes almost painless when you compare it to realizing that the offspring that you prayed for has an irreversible mental health condition.

That’s what I realized when a child psychologist revealed that Jayden, my darling son, was in the autism spectrum.

Our Story

I was already 40 years old when I found out that I was pregnant with Jayden. My husband and I had been ready to have a baby in the last ten years, but we somehow didn’t get what we wanted until now. Although our close relatives raised their concerns about my health and the baby’s health, we went through the pregnancy like a breeze, and I carried Jayden to full term.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

My husband and I genuinely assumed that things would continue to be smooth sailing, considering I didn’t deal with any complications before or during childbirth. The first few months of motherhood were blissful, too, since Jayden didn’t cry unless he was hungry or needed a diaper change. Even his bath times went well because he seemed to like being in the water so much.

However, we started noticing that Jayden’s behavior was different from other babies when we attended a mommy-and-me class when he was 12 months old. There was a portion where the facilitator asked us to leave the kids in the middle of the room and let them interact with each other. It was said that this little activity would show their level of independence when the parents were out of sight.

Some of the most independent kids began to crawl or toddle and even waved goodbye to their moms. The others who had not been away from the mothers until then were already crying as soon as the door closed. But then, they eventually adjust after seeing what the rest of the babies were doing.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

When I looked for Jayden, my amusement faded as I saw him playing with his toy car, oblivious of what’s happening around him. He didn’t seem to notice that I was not in the room or that none of the adults were. In the entire 30 minutes that the parents were out, Jayden didn’t even show interest in the other children.

Road To Diagnosis

The facilitator saw what my child was doing. After the class, she said, “Ms. Smith, I had been watching Jayden ever since you entered my class, and I know that you noticed his behavior during the activity today.”

I uttered, “Yes, and I worry that it might not be normal.”

I talked to my husband about my observation, and I called the facilitator that night if she knew any child psychologist. Luckily, her sister had a clinic nearby, and she helped us secure an appointment within the week.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: flickr.com

Since neither my husband nor I had any encounter with psychologists, we merely assumed that they could diagnose someone’s mental health condition during the first appointment. However, the mental health professional said that despite showing some signs of autism, Jayden was still too young to diagnose his condition. She scheduled us for a series of appointments throughout the year to see how his behavior would change.

And the psychologist was correct – Jayden’s behavior changed indeed. He could not make intelligible sounds yet, so we could not always understand what he wanted. In such cases, my son would have a meltdown and throw his toys around or cry as loudly as possible. Sometimes, when he’s playing with a toy, he could do it for an entire day. If we tried to feed him or take the toy away from him, Jayden would simply keep it close to his chest and not interact with us.

After some time, we finally understood that Jayden was on the autism spectrum.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

Disciplining A Child With Autism Properly

It has been five years since Jayden’s diagnosis, and he is growing up to be a strong and healthy boy. He has been receiving therapy for the same amount of time, teaching him how to function like other children. Still, with autism or not, kids tend to act up and require parents to enforce disciplinary tactics to keep them from becoming spoiled brats.

Here are some disciplining tips that I have gotten from autism parents.

Use Simple Words

Children with autism cannot understand complicated words, such as “Do not touch the hot water if you don’t want to burn yourself.” With Jayden, I tend to say, “Hot water is not for touching,” and he understands.

disciplining-tips-that-wouldnt-aggravate-a-childs-mental-health-condition

Source: pixabay.com

Set Up A Simple Routine

A simple routine includes waking up, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, playing, napping, and preparing for bed. It wouldn’t be advisable to add more things to this list, especially when the child is still too young. Otherwise, your routine may fall apart.

Avoid Triggering Your Child

When you want your kids to understand something, you cannot yell or make loud noises. That is a common trigger factor for individuals with autism. You need to be calm yet firm so that they can hear you well.

Final Thoughts

Jayden is only eight years old now. We are still a long way away from adulthood, but my husband and I hope that he becomes a highly functioning individual by then.

 

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Having children is hard. It is not a job that you can just quit if you could no longer handle the stress or pressure. Sometimes, even taking a break is no longer an option. Your kids are with you wherever you go. They follow you to the restroom, the bedroom, the kitchen, and it is understandable to feel frustrated or tired. Well, have you ever thought of how life would be if your child needed extra attention? Some parents have the blessing of having a child with autism or ADHD and maybe even both.

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At first, I thought, how will we survive in this tiny home during a lockdown? I cannot go out for work, and with that, what about my income? Another thing is that I have a son with special needs. He also has to go to a school for kids who are the same as him. And my son, well, let’s just say he needs constant prompting. I shook off that fact, but now, I can say for sure that I have survived it. My son and I have survived at home and under lockdown without having to go out in public.

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Love does move in mysterious ways, and when it hits you, it does hit you hard. However, in choosing your romantic partner for life, you cannot fully know who they truly are not until you get to live under one roof. However, what if your partner is someone who has Asperger Syndrome?  

 

“The term unconditional love does not mean love without limits or bounds. It means, “I offer you my love freely without condition.” What this means is that when we offer our love, we offer it without expectation of repayment.” – Elizabeth Earnshaw, LMFT

 

Source: goodfreephotos.com

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Every couple dreams of having a little angel of their own. They have imagined how they would be like parenting a baby. Some are too excited they even prepared a nursery in the house right before they are pregnant. It is because having to create a new life out of love is the most fantastic feeling in the world, to see a little human walking and running around the house who has the parents’ eyes and lips. It is indeed priceless! 

 

Source: pixabay.com

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In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of television and movie characters who supposedly are on the autism spectrum. Similarly, celebrities have come together to raise awareness of the disorder.

As it has steadily become a more open topic for discussion, there come myths about autism. Believing in these tales can be a dangerous deal, as it may lead to stigma, misunderstanding and even damages to the well-being of those on the spectrum. Now, let’s debunk some of these common misconceptions.

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Source: wikimedia.org

 

Most online information regarding autism is geared towards young children. In fact, data about adult autism is insufficient that it poses a negative impression that the condition rarely occurs in adults.

The truth is, autism is a disorder that does not only occur in children but can also prevail during adulthood. However, there is just a lack of information about this according to Kenneth Smith, LPC. He says, “Many resources are available for childhood/adolescent autism, but these approaches do not seem well-suited for adults, and there is almost nothing for people over age 21.”

According to an expert at BetterHelp, autism can primarily appear during the early stages of childhood and can progress until old age. Due to its permanent effect, autism can be severely challenging for adults. Therefore, it is essential to learn about adult autism since it can interfere with how a person will appropriately navigate through a complex and demanding world.

According to Sarah Swenson, LMHC, “When your adolescent is also at the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, which we used to refer to diagnostically as Asperger’s syndrome, the angst and alienation can remain locked inside to an even greater extent. They manifest in withdrawn behavior, preference for solitude, and intense acting out in frustration.”

Adult Autism Facts

Let’s start with the basics of adult autism. What are the things that are necessary for one to know about the disorder?

 

Autism Can Persist From Childhood To Adulthood

Despite the stories you know and see on television, autism is a disorder that does not disappear quickly. Yes, there are claimed treatments here and there, but it is a rare occurrence for children who were diagnosed with autism to not carry the condition with them once they grow old. On certain occasions, autism persists from childhood to adulthood even though the person has efficiently built a reliable set of skills and demeanor that make autism less discernable.

 

 

Source: defense.gov

 

Autistic Adults Can Be Successful

Just because they have autism, doesn’t mean that they are not going to have their fair share of success. Although it is somewhat extraordinary, there are still prominent adults with autism who are either moderately or extremely triumphant in their fields. Some are enjoying their married lives while being adequately compensated by their employers. There are even some autistic personalities that have become role models for those who fall under the spectrum, inspiring them to become independent and live full lives despite their condition.

 

Autistic Adults Experience Uncompromising Challenges

“Typically, explains Psychologist Megan Farley, “adults with autism come to a mental health clinic because they’re struggling with one or more issues. Common autism-related challenges include social isolation, finding and keeping a job or a romantic partner, anxiety or mood problems or an inability to organize one’s life.”

Given that high-functioning adults who have autism were able to power through despite the weight of their disorder, the majority still face difficulties and challenges. The demand required from higher-functioning autistic individuals is sometimes so herculean that they usually struggle to become “normal” and at the same time, cope with their sensory dysfunction, deficits in social or communicational skills, and extreme anxiety. Almost 30% of individuals with autism are on the non-verbal side; which means, they have little capacity to verbalize words or phrases to communicate with other people. They have problems interacting and expressing themselves. More so, approximately 18% of autistic adults are exhibiting aggressive behavior, making it hard for them to develop positive relationships in a typical environment.

 

 

Source: pinterest.com

 

Adult Autism Varies From One Person To Another

The presentation of the condition is not singular; adult autism can be divided into different settings and categories. While some autistic adults are outstanding in ambitious fields like robotics, video game design and production, and information technology, others are efficiently functioning within compounded settings. The vast differences between a happily married individual versus someone having a fruitful friendship make it arduous for medical experts to provide support and services for autistic adults.

“If you think this might be you and you want a diagnosis, go online and find someone in your area who specializes in autistic adult assessment. Sometimes, just knowing can be a tremendous relief and explain so much that you always wondered about.” –

In retrospect, autistic people are dependable, honest, and are mostly focused on getting the job done because they are seldom distracted by external factors and interests. They have their own understanding of how things around them are functioning. Thus, never underestimate the capabilities of an individual with autism for you may just be in awe with their wide-range of competence and strengths that can even surpass “normal” standards.