Here are some ways I practiced self care while getting my son’s Autism diagnosis. I previously wrote about my journey to diagnosis as a single Black mother for my son, Liam. Now I want to provide ways you can care for your family and yourself during the process to diagnosis.
Self care while you are seeking an Autism Diagnosis
Hopefully you have family or a strong support system that can help you emotionally and physically during this time. I know my mom and dad were my rocks when I would get discouraged and want to give up.
Read books on and about Autism. Research some of your child’s symptoms. Think about changing their diet. Think about changing your interaction with your child. There are so many things that we feel helpless over, but upon observing and really tuning into what your kid is telling you, you can learn so much.
Cry it out
Let me say it again: CRY.IT.OUT. There were more than a few days where I felt helpless and defeated. I was overwhelmed and felt like I was failing my son by not being able to offer him the help he needed. It happens, you need to let it happen and then continue on.
Love your child!
Your child is NOT Autism (or whatever their condition may be) Your child has a neurological disorder that will affect them for the rest of their lives. However, they should not be defined solely by their diagnosis. Liam has Autism, but I don’t let it define all he is or who he will become.
Take care of yourself!
In order for you as a mom or dad to be on your A game, you HAVE to take care of yourself. This is particularly hard for special needs parents to do, but it is extremely necessary. At one point in my life I was working out and in the gym 4-5 days a week and felt the best I ever have. I was vibrant, happy and was better equipped to tackle the mental and physical stressors life was throwing at me.
Be your child’s #1 advocate.
I will say this especially as a parent of color, especially if you have limited financial resources and especially if you have a daughter. From what I understand, it is much harder to get girls diagnosed with Autism since sometimes they present differently. Trust your gut parents.
Get creative with finding resources at your price point.
Not a single person told me about the clinic that finally diagnosed Liam. I had to Google, research, pray and search high and low for answers and information. I applied to various programs and was turned down for most. Even when we applied for the waiver program, I think we were on the waiting list for a little over a year. But, it was all worth it for the progress Liam has made from then to now at nine years old. All the phone calls, meetings, hours online and running all around the state were worth it to finally get him the help and services he needed.
Cicely Carter is a single mama to one amazing little boy, sometimes plus size model, college grad and current Nursing student. She loves blogging, all things beauty/skincare and fostering community with like-minded mamas.