When your child is diagnosed with autism, there are really two routes you can go.
First, the most popular route is the “autism mom™” route.
You think autism is a tragedy that steals your child from you, but you are a superhero that has overcome.
Thankfully, there’s another option!
Instead of donning the puzzle-piece laden badge, you can decide to become a parent advocate.
It might seem subtle, but the difference is massive.
As a parent advocate, you are your child’s biggest supporter, their biggest cheerleader, and you make sure they get what they need to succeed.
But it isn’t always obvious how to be the best parent advocate you can be…
Clearly you want to help your autistic child live their best life, but how exactly do you do that?
Well, today I’m diving into 3 effective strategies to become a better parent advocate!
3 Effective Strategies to Become a Better Parent Advocate
#1 Accept Your Child’s Diagnosis Fully
The very first step to take if you want to be your child’s best parent advocate is to accept your child’s diagnosis fully.
Now you may be thinking, “I know my child is autistic. Of course I’ve accepted it, I’m not in denial!”
But fully accepting your child’s autism diagnosis goes beyond knowing they’re autistic.
It’s about accepting their diagnosis fully to your core.
It’s about seeing autism as a natural and positive part of who your child is.
It’s about accepting and understanding their autistic behaviors without trying to change them.
That’s what true autism acceptance looks like. And when you’ve fully accepted your child’s autism, you are in the best position to parent and advocate for your child.
#2 Discover How Your Child Learns Best
Now when you think of advocating, you may think of fighting for your child in the school system and getting their needs met.
And that is a massive part of advocating.
But the fact is, a huge part of advocating is also empowering our autistic children as they learn and grow in their own unique ways.
See, we want our child’s needs to be met, but we also want our child to be challenged and learn new skills.
It can be a difficult balance.
But the key to being the best parent advocate you can is discovering the ways that your autistic child learns best.
If you know your child learns best by doing, you can add more hands-on activities to their day.
If you know your child is a visual learner, advocate for using visual schedules during transition times.
If you know your child gets overwhelmed by demands, advocate for a low-demand school day.
Now — notice that I said if your child, not ‘autistic children’.
Here’s the thing: Not all autistic children are alike.
Most autistic children thrive with a visual schedule… My autistic son HATES them. He thrives on an auditory 3-step plan.
The magic here is in becoming an expert on YOUR CHILD so that you can advocate for their specific needs and the way that they learn best.
#3 Lean On Autistic-Lead Support
This is the big one, friends.
To become a better parent advocate, lean on autistic-lead support.
Magic happens when parents listen to and learn from autistic adults.
Your job is to become the expert on your child, and support and guidance from autistic adults basically gives you a short cut that speeds up that process.
The reason for this is simple: We’ve been where your child is.
When you notice that your child is refusing school, we can help you dig deeper and see the true cause of that refusal.
(And hint… It’s not just ‘they don’t like school’)
Autistic adults can guide you from a different perspective and give you new insights into how your autistic child’s brain works.
Ever wonder why your autistic child has a meltdown at the grocery store or bounces off the walls whenever company comes over?
We can help you figure it out. So lean into autistic-lead support!
We want to help you become the best parent and advocate you can be because we know what a massive difference that will make for your autistic child.
And if you’re thinking “Okay, I want to lean into autistic support and guidance… but I’m not sure where to start…”
That’s why I created the Autism Journey Collective.
Autism Journey Collective is a membership experience for parents of autistic children where you get the training, resources, support and guidance that you need from autistic adult mentors.
It’s like having an autistic on speed dial to get nearly-instant feedback on any parenting struggle you’re facing.
The doors to Autism Journey Collective are closed right now, but we’ll be opening them up soon… Click here to make sure you’re the first to know when we open the doors again!
And if you don’t want to wait, or you’re looking for more one-to-one coaching and support from me personally, you can click here and book a call to see if we’re a good fit for coaching!
And if you absolutely loved the tips in this post, you will also love these:
The Missing Piece in Autism Behavior Plans
5 Important Steps to Discipline an Autistic Child