The Autism Parent’s Journey

If I had to condense my 15 years of being an autism parent into one word, it would be “changed.”  I have irrevocably evolved. I have experienced more than I ever bargained for when I entered the general parenting realm, and more than I anticipated. I knew I would love my children unconditionally, knew that I would do anything for either of my sons. But because of autism I have felt deeper, searched longer, and stretched farther than I ever expected.

Because of autism I was much more involved and attentive, I developed nearly infinite patience, and I started to view not only those with special needs but everyone with more compassion. Because of stares and negative comments and ignorance, I’ve developed what I call “diplomatic advocacy.” Because of elevated fears and autism-affected family dynamics, I’ve learned how to do what I can and let go. I’ve accepted that I needed to ask for help and am doing better because of it.

But what has helped me the most has been something I never would have thought of when Nigel was diagnosed back in 1997. For years I did not know any other parents of autistic children, and I felt so isolated. I didn’t even realize how much I needed to connect until he headed into the teen years, and it hit me that I had to find other parents who were facing that as well. This was 2007, and, not finding much on autism in the teen years online, I started TeenAutism.com a few months later. Shortly after that, I discovered what I had missed for ten years – camaraderie, understanding, and a new kind of group therapy. In 2009, I traveled to Nepal as an autism parent advocate and discovered how universal our emotions are. Our individual journeys all differ in some ways, but the feelings we share, the fears, the frustrations, and the triumphs, are often very similar.

With that in mind, and this being Autism Awareness Month, I have written The Autism Parent’s Journey, a free PDF book that I am offering to those who subscribe to my monthly newsletter. The book is a simple, brief tribute to autism parents and the journey we find ourselves on. In it, I list resources and strategies for coping, as well as my 15-year-post-diagnosis outlook and thoughts on the future that those of us with special needs children face. I’d be honored if you’d take a look, and I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful. Most of all, I hope it reminds you that you are not alone.

P.S. In addition to the book (or instead of it), I am also offering a free PDF of the first chapter of Slip, if you haven’t read it yet and are curious. Click here to subscribe, and thank you for your interest!

8 thoughts on “The Autism Parent’s Journey

  1. You have definitely undergone an evolution, and I think it’s wonderful what a helpful advocate that you’ve become. I hope you continue to maintain the camaraderie you’ve experienced and that others will gain needed knowledge from your experience. Take care!

  2. Yep, changed is right! I say, “transformed.” I so agree, I have infinitely more patience and compassion for everyone (and I needed it).

  3. hi tanya, it’s great to see you as well. excited to get caught up on my favorite sites, like yours. i’ve missed our conversations, look forward to geting back into the swing of things, hearing more about things in tanya-land. take care, more soon.

  4. You have built up such an impressive body of work over the past several years! I’m so proud of you for being proactive and helping to empower yourself and this community.

  5. Really excellent Tanya, I am nodding my head with agreement as I read through the pdf The Autism Parents Jorney, how true. Would like very much to add a link via my next blog post, probably in a few days, ref. if people sign up for your newsletter they will get this wonderful pdf., if that is okay.
    Many thanks, Paulene

  6. A wonderful way of sharing the knowledge and experience you have acquired over the years. Well done :-)

    I’m sharing over on my iPhones4Autism.ie fb and twitter page.

    xx Jazzy

  7. Everyone thank you so much for your lovely supportive comments! I am truly blessed to have each of you in my life.

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