When a Child is Ready…Oh the Places You’ll Go!

I want all parents to hear this: you are not alone in those feelings of being scared and anxious.

Even ‘veteran’ parents who have been living with a diagnosis of autism for their child or children have days when they do not have it together. Don’t kid yourself, we all go through a “pity party” from time to time, and then we pull it together to keep moving forward.

Always reassessing has been my motto. Take a minute to breathe, then get up and learn. Read, reassess your reactions, especially if you didn’t handle a situation with the most patience you thought you had in you. Or when you see your child with other children and realize the differences makes tears you thought were long gone come up to the surface, it is okay. Learn and move on! Create and redefine your relationship with your child, because…

 “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
–Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

When we started our journey I could not imagine the places we would go. The meltdowns, bolting, hitting and crying were enough to make me want to become a hermit. But with the help from all the therapists, especially our child development counselor and autism behaviour specialist, change came when our children became regulated. How long would this take before they were “regulated”? , was my first question. Well, I have learned it does take time, but when you get there it is amazing! It took time, and on our child’s time, not our own. That is the hardest because we want progress instantly. One thing to always hold on to is your child’s potential for growth.

It is important to remember your child will develop in his or her own time, and that changes will happen to show you’re travelling down the path.

We have had some of those moments recently, when we sat through a movie at the theatre for the first time or attended our first baby shower. Since the day I brought my daughter home, I imagined that I would be doing the mother-daughter outings, as I did in my childhood. But that seemed not to be, with all the anxiety she felt about parties or large gatherings. You never knew if it would set her off. I always kept in mind the words, when a child is ready they will show you. So, we talked about a baby party, packed the gift together and signed a card. Even by doing all of this ‘pre-teaching’, I wasn’t sure if it would work out. It was beyond my wildest dreams! She was ready to do this but if she would not have been I would not have gone, out of respect for her needs. Forcing an activity for the sake of doing the activity is not benefiting anyone, especially your child. So what – you can’t go to a movie or walk through a mall. There is plenty of time for that in the years to come. Respecting where your child is at is the most important thing a parent can do.

As the Olympics have concluded, we need to take a page from these Olympians. What did they have that took them to London? Not just talent or a love of sport alone. Yes, that is one piece of their journey. But it seems to me that they needed more than that. They had a belief in their potential to make it, a vision of what they wanted to achieve and a path to follow to get there. They were not alone with their dreams, they had someone believing those dreams and guiding them each and every step of the way. What is important to

What is important to realize here is that you have something in common with these Olympians. YOU believe in your child to be whoever they want to be and be the best of what they choose because no one will set a ceiling for them. YOU have a vision for your child of what they will achieve with your love and guidance. Lastly, YOU have a path for your child to get there. That path is parent-led therapy, giving you the skills and confidence to foster your child’s potential because you are the person in charge of that journey. Otherwise you could be sitting on the outside watching others on the inside making decisions on your child’s behalf. Because YOU know your child, YOU are her therapist, YOU are her play facilitator and YOU are her coach!

When you know your child and understand what it is that makes her feel the way she does, you will know her stress signals and respect them. Always keep the faith on your child’s potential for success and in honour of the London Olympics, believe. Because when they are ready, “Oh the places you’ll go.”

 “And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!”
–Dr. Seuss, Oh the Places You’ll Go!