I work to create support groups and coaching for families who have children on the spectrum. Being an Autism myself, I understand the struggles, and obstacles that sometimes may come with parenting a child on the spectrum. I have also recently written a book, #1 Best Selling AU-MAZING GIFT: A Journey to Autism Acceptance.
This past month, I have had the pleasure of interviewing some Au-mazing moms from all over the world to get an idea of what their experiences have been like. I find that when we can connect through each other’s experience, we can also find ways we can help each other.
This week, I spoke with Au-mazing Parent Shantea Lankford. Here is her story:
What were the first signs/symptoms you child has Autism?
I have 2 children with Autism, both presented a little different. My daughter was always different from birth, she did a lot of headbanging at a really early age. At around 2 years we noticed she couldn’t follow directions, wasn’t answering really to her name and daycare brought up that she did not play with her peers. My son started off developing well, answering his name, trying to sing, and pointing. Suddenly it stopped and it was always frustrating and was not speaking at all.
What was your first reaction to your child’s “Autism” diagnosis?
For my daughter it was really like the stages that you go through with grief, I went through them all. However, I am in an education mode right now. My son, I was taken by surprise and the manner of timing was even earlier for him. I took it a lot harder with him.
If you could give one piece of advice to another parent what would it be?
I would say that you should always try to keep a fresh mind even though it is hard to do with all the responsibilities. However, even if it’s the 5 minutes in the shower take that time to recuperate.
What is one of the hardest parts about being a parent of an Autistic child?
The hardest part would be the not knowing their thoughts and feelings. Definitely, for my son who does not speak at all, we have communication devices but I would not know if he is harmed or emotionally hurt by someone.
What is one the most rewarding part about being a parent?
My time to learn my children and get to know them is slowed down a bit. So we have a lot of celebration for the things that we otherwise to take for granted.