“People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet.” Temple Grandin.
It can be a very challenging and daunting time as a parent, when you begin to recognise that there may be an area of your child's development that is delayed or is of concern to you. Who do you turn to to get the answers and support that you and your child need? How can you help?
So clearly stated by Temple, there is no simple strategy, one resource, person or quick fix that will provide all of the answers. This can be hard to recognise but is important for parents to recognise when trying to get support.
Instead of focusing on the enormity of your child having additional needs, try and focus on their strengths and interests to help engage and motivate them, and break their needs down in to manageable areas. For example, instead of ‘I'm worried that my child has Autism; how can I help? What will work?' try focusing on their specific needs, regardless of a diagnosis; ‘What are the specific things my child finds challenging? Where can I get support for each of those areas?’
Some examples of this might be:
If your child has difficulties with their physical strength, balance or coordination, try seeking Occupational Therapy or Physiotherapy support.
If your child has difficulties with their play or early learning skills, you may want to seek a specialist teacher or speak to your child's nursery.
If your child has difficulties with processing language; break down tasks and instructions in to manageable chucks, reduce language to key words and use visuals. You may want to seek a Speech and Language Therapy referral.
Breaking it down will help to make each bit that little bit easier and can help you manage the journey that lies ahead.