Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Was Your Child Recently Diagnosed with Autism?

Our Newest Featured Guest Blogger is Amalia Starr, Autism Motivational Speaker, Independent Living Coach and Author. Please enjoy her post and feel free to leave a comment or question below for Amalia.
If your child was recently diagnosed with autism, it is important to be aware that negative feelings will arise. Try not to get attached to those feelings, do not numb them out, and do not bury them. They will shift over time. Remember, it is a process. We are all different, but I have found that surrendering to "what is" helps one to move through the acceptance stage more quickly, as resistance to "what is" will only prolong it. When you are able to face the diagnosis head-on, the negative feelings will begin to fade away, and acceptance is right around the corner.
1.   Gather as much information as possible.
2.   Join support groups.
3.   Talk about your child's disability.
4.   Keep a journal, and write down anything and everything.
5.   Find one person you can share your inner-most feelings with.
6.   When you are ready, talk to other parents. They can be a great source of information and support.
7.   Try to live in the present moment, whenever you can.
8.   Be courageous, and believe in yourself.
9.   Trust your feelings.
10. Be kind to yourself.
Do not keep secrets, especially about a health condition. It causes more harm than good.
My son, Brandon was diagnosed with epilepsy and learning disorders at age nine. The pediatric neurologist told us to tell no one, including Brandon, that he had epilepsy, due to the stigma attached. For several years, I did what she said. That was one of the worst things I could have done.
I know from personal experience, that when our children are helped at an early age, they have a much better chance of changing negative behaviors, improving performance, increasing self-acceptance, and self-esteem. However, if you missed that opportunity, as I did with Brandon, do not give up. We did not find out Brandon had autism until he was thirty-two years old. Early intervention is key but, I know firsthand it's never too late to get help.
A) What I wish I knew early on about having a child with special needs:
1.  Do not take it personally.
2.  It is not your fault.
3.  The sooner you give up resistance, the sooner you can help your child.
4.  Trust yourself.
5.  When traditional treatments are not working, look into alternatives.
6.  Doctors are not always right.
7.  Find a physician you and your child like, and who understands your situation.
8.  Acceptance comes only when you are ready.
9.  Take care of yourself first, and you will have more to give.
10. Get as much help, assistance and support from people who care, as often as possible.
11. Hold onto HOPE, and never let it go.
As parents, we must remember raising a child with special needs is a process. There may be days when we do not know how we can hang on, but somehow we make it through. The tools I found to be the most helpful were living in the moment, and having hope.
When we live in the moment, not out into the future, it helps to eliminate fear and anxiety. I also found that holding onto hope was not a luxury, it was a necessity.
Amalia Starr is a Mother, Motivational Speaker, Author and Independent Living Coach. Starr's youngest son, Brandon, is thirty-nine years old. He has autism, intractable epilepsy, and severe learning disorders. The professionals who worked with Brandon said he would never be able to live alone. They were wrong. Brandon has been living on his own for the past fourteen years, enjoying his independence. There is HOPE!
For more information on how to help your child with special needs reach his or her full potential please visit: http://www.AmaliaStarr.com, and accept Amalia’s offer of a free phone consultation.
Follow Amalia on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/autismmomexpert
Visit her new non-profit, Autism Independence Project: http://www.autismindependenceproject.org

*Visit our Giveaway to Enter and Win a 1st Edition copy of Raising Brandon!


  1. Amalia, what a wonderful story to share. I appreciate you giving your advice and can and will use that in my life.

    Thank you,