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12 Crucial Steps to THRIVING IN FAMILIES WITH AUTISM that experts won't tell you.

October 27, 2018




1. Talk it out; talk it over.


Children on the spectrum really thrive on exploration. In more conventional parenting approaches, there tends to be an assertion that elders, in particular, parents, are to be respected and their rules and demands adhered to without question.

The autistic brain does not respond well to this. At all.

Whilst there may be a consensus amongst the uninformed members of our communities that children on the spectrum are oppositional and defiant by nature, this is more often than not, inaccurate.

Children on the spectrum benefit greatly from being heard, from engaging in gentle conversation and exploration of their own thoughts and feelings around family rules and boundaries.

The greatest way to have our children come on board with us is to treat them like the intelligent, insightful, conscious and extremely aware beings that they are; regardless of their age or size.

Their need to understand OUR thought processes as parents is crucial. So, engaging in a discussion with them where we can demonstrate and explain the WHYs behind our rules, expectations and boundaries as their parents goes a very long way.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





2. Routines are for winners, seriously.


Oh how we thrive on routines! People on the spectrum LOVE to know what’s happening and when. This doesn’t mean we can’t break out of our typical day and do something different once in a while, but if there’s anything the autistic brain gains the most security and safety from, it’s familiarity and predictability.

It also helps our children to be reminded of expectations across different environments at different times.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.






3. Pencil in chaos and stress.



Not even kidding. If there’s one thing I know as both an autistic person and the parent of autistic children, it’s that as annoying as it may seem, micromanaging our schedules and our lives actually results in more smooth sailing.

We can’t always know how to handle challenging situations on the spot, in the moment, as they’re happening..but we work it out over time through trial and error, right?

So it makes sense then, that we PUT ASIDE TIME for unexpected events across our day.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





4. Get basic.


For reals. Eat. But eat good. Sleep. As much as possible. Have you looked into your own health and needs? If you’re just starting out, if you’re in the middle, even if you’ve been at this game a long time, chances are and stats are high that as a parent of children on the spectrum, you most likely haven’t felt you have the time to invest in yourself as much as your children.

Uh oh.


Here’s a beginning and crucial step: begin with the basics.

Join your children when they eat. Make your own food and join them. Set an alarm if you have to, to remind yourself to nourish the nourisher.

Drink. Water. Plenty of it. A well nourished and hydrated body assists our jam packed brains to do what they need to do-remembering, recalling, problem solving, regulating ourselves emotionally..all this stuff comes much more easily when we are caring for our bodies appropriately.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.




5. Catch dem feels.



Oh yeah, It’s a big one, innit? Our feels. We’ll tend to push those important elements of assisting in balanced mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health aside.

No time, no time, no time! Am I right, or am I right?

Not really.

Cry when you have to. Laugh, because you have to. Scream into your pillow, take up a boxing class, call a friend, see a PROFESSIONAL.

It’s not a joke. It’s really serious and actually crucial to our survival.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





6. Joy will persist when you make a list.



Oooh how I love lists. As a parent, I love to organise, plan, sort, categorise..wait, actually..as a person (especially a person on the spectrum), I thrive on all these things.

But here’s something really important and actually helps to produce hope, happiness, reconnection with ourselves and a touch of dream making on the side, if you don’t hardly mind..

Make a damn list of all the things you want your life to be, and start planning.

Start small. Break it down. Get it done. Grow. Thrive. Reconnect with the human being outside of the parent that we are.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





7. Practice the negative.


Let’s face it, we’re givers. We’re often nurturers too. As parents, we’ve become accustomed to getting stuff done, finding inner resources to continue on and get anything and everything done when it has to be done. Therapies, filling out forms, taking phone calls, interviewing schools, finding time for friends and partners and family, playing with our children, put together resources and lists and reminders and schedules, and then there’s just plain old everyday living.

Finding the courage to say No, to set boundaries is HARD. We often worry about disappointing others, losing support networks, losing value as human beings and being disconnected from friends and family.

But where do WE fit in, amongst all of this?

Sometimes it’s absolutely crucial that we say NO in order to make time for ourselves. And here’s the thing-if others support, love and understand us, they’ll honour and appreciate our No.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





8. More is less.


So many of us are parents of children with anxiety. In all honesty, it’s really tricky to get around that one when you’re on the autism spectrum.  So, we as parents are constantly trying to find ways to soothe our children’s worries away in order for them to reach their potential and live out the days they want to.

Separation from us is often a difficulty that comes hand in hand with anxiety in out littlens and managing this can be exhausting for parents who really need to recharge and take even just a five minute break.

So who would have thought that actually investing quality time into our daily life with our children could be so helpful in order to establish security?

Separation anxiety is a battle. In many families, not just those with autism. And finding ways to have our children feel secure and safe to explore away from us can be extremely challenging.

But here’s where consistency is absolute key.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.




9. Fake it til’ you make it.



Hey, don’t shoot the messenger here, but we can’t always like our children.

I mean, don’t get me wrong..I LOVE my children. Always. Unconditionally. But sometimes, they’re mean to me. A lot.

But here’s the truth-when kids are mean, particularly to us, there are a few really critical factors we need to understand.

Firstly, they’re mean because they’re struggling with something. And the younger the child, the less ability they have to verbally express to us, to articulate their feelings about what’s actually going on for them. And sometimes, they simply don’t know.

Secondly, they’re mean to us, their parents, not because they hate our guts. It’s because we are their safe people-their soft place to fall, their most comfortable place which enables them to let it all go, let it all out.

So, punishing a child or becoming angry with a child who is already struggling is absolutely counterproductive.

They need our love even more in those moments. But how do we find it within ourselves to dig deep and find something buried under our own struggle?


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





10. Finding treasure and Letting go


Finding our support network is crucial. As people, aside from being parents, we need friends. And there ain’t nothin’ in this world as reassuring and as comforting as another parent on a similar path to us saying “Me too”.

But here’s where it gets tricky. Sometimes, it takes real guts to be able to recognise when it’s time to let go of the people, places and things that no longer serve us.

How do we know when it’s time to move on? By tapping into our inner experience when we’re engaged in a friendship, a service, a therapy with or without our children, even in support groups.

Different networks and services will support us at varying rates and speeds and then they won’t any longer.

We’re people. We grow, we progress, we heal, we recover, we become empowered. And a lot of this brings about making those extra uncomfortable, super courageous decisions.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.




11. Everybody put your hands up-make some noise!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again..you have GOT to ask for HELP.

I know, it’s scary, sometimes we don’t believe there will be others on the planet that will understand, accept and love our children’s ways like we do. And we often have the media to thank for instilling these fears, along with the dark underbelly of social media (AKA the comments section).

But you know what? Sometimes we’re wrong. I know, hard to believe, right? But yep, it happens.

And amazingly, there are often scores of people out there who are willing and waiting to help us, given we tell them how to do it.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.





12. Mind your business!


I’m already laughing writing this one. I know, without a shadow of a doubt that this here headline is the very thing that so many of us are busting to say to hundreds of people in our lives, that is, unless we haven’t already (sometimes in nice ways, and other times not).

But you know what? What we don’t know, won’t hurt us. And what we do know, can be absolutely empowering.

So how do we handle when others speak about us behind our backs in regard to our parenting? And how do we handle those crappy situations where those who claim to be ‘helping’ feel it within their right to offload some really crucial parenting suggestions and recommendations (that they alone feel will benefit us)?

With grace, and a rock solid sense of self.


Click below to access the video on this topic for a deeper explanation.









These are only twelve of the many, many ways in which we can take smaller, yet huge steps in order to create harmony across our environments, particularly the family home.

Minimalism, sensory clean ups, paying close attention to food and it's link to mood, movement that supports positive brain function, incorporating music into our schedule and using services and therapies that are on the same energetic level as our children (equine therapies, swimming, etc) are just a few more.


If you'd like access to our new and upcoming family friendly program created for families who want to thrive with autism, you can subscribe to our list here in order to stay in the loop and be informed when the program is launched in early 2019.


Our program is designed and developed by people who are #actuallyautistic and will consist of an online series of learning modules that incorporates videos, print offs and reflective sheets to get our parent brains ticking over, as well as 1:1 online or in-home consultations (depending on location) with Kristy Forbes, Autism & Neurodiversity Support Specialist.






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