Five years ago I was one very overwhelmed autism mom. I didn’t have a diagnosis yet, but that didn’t matter. Asperger’s syndrome. Sensory Processing Disorder. PDD-NOS. Meltdowns. Allergies. All of these things loomed large and intimidating. As is my nature, I researched. I did a lot of reading. However, what helped me most was one friend.
I’ve never met her, though I could spend a day or a week with her and not feel awkward. She’s touched my life and my family’s life more than she’ll ever know. She gave me hope. She gave me strength. She gave me ideas. She’d been there. She helped me prioritize. She helped me wade through the information and advice. She shared her story and others. She pointed me towards resources.
I give her a lot of credit for the progress I’ve seen over the years with Dr. J. She probably wouldn’t accept it, but her support and encouragement as another autism mom have been invaluable. She helped me calm down and focus. She reminded me to spend time enjoying life with my sons in the middle of the therapy, treatment, and research. She gave me courage and confidence that comes from having been there.
If you are a special needs parent, and you’ve been around for a while, I encourage you to reach out to those new to this life called “special needs”. You never know how you will bolster confidence and calm fears. You can make a difference in a family’s life. You are “only one”, but you can make an impact.
If you are a new special needs parent, let me encourage you to seek out someone who’s been there. I know most special needs parents don’t have the chance to get out much. If you do, seek out a support group or start one of your own. If that’s not possible, which I completely understand, seek special needs friends online. There is a large special needs parent community on Twitter. If you’re dealing with autism, start by searching for the hashtags #autism and #youmightbeanautismparentif. Many special needs parents also connect on Facebook and there are also groups there. Just type the diagnosis and “support” or “parents” etc (be creative) in Facebook’s search box and see what happens. You’ll find pages and groups.
And to my friend Cheryl, I say, “Thank you”. I know I’m not the only newbie special needs mom that you’ve encouraged. Thank you for reaching out to all of us and helping our children in the process.
Are you a busy mom who uses the Power of One in daily life? Are you on Instagram? I invite you to share your Power of One moments on Instagram with the hashtag #powerofonemoms. Why not encourage each other to persevere and live thoughtfully. Tag me as @manyhatsmommy so I can cheer on your Power of One moments!