Today is Autism awareness day. Every year I feel compelled to write or share something on this day. Luckily for me I am now in employment where I can do my part to raise awareness and acceptance daily.
I will spend most of my day finishing the first draft of my dissertation which investigates resilience in parents of children with autism. The difficulties in raising a child with autism can affect parental functioning, yet resilience can positively influence outcomes for the child.
As a mother of a daughter with autism, it is so important to me to understand how she feels and to help her with coping mechanisms to navigate her way through this odd world. I want her to be herself and be happy and comfortable. If I cannot balance the difficulties with my own methods of coping, it will be hard for me to help her. Therefore resilience is key.
Only at this stage, 5 years after diagnosis, can I say I am confident in my resilience, but this resilience has been partly developed through support. You do not have to understand what a parent of a child with autism is going through or be one yourself to offer support. Just listening without judgement, empathising, being inclusive and positive and even offering a bit of respite if you can, goes a long way.