6 Ways to Deal With Your Child’s ADHD, Autism or Asperger Diagnosis
***Guest post by Tanji Dewberry
I remember the day I took my then five-year-old son, Evan, for a neuropsych exam in April 2011. For him, it was nearing the end of a challenging school year yet I was the one left feeling anxious, overwhelmed, and physically exhausted. For over two years, his father and I had worked to manage Evan’s behavior and sadly the situation was only getting worse. The tantrums had become more extreme, the inability to control his body more pronounced, and our ability to cope was hanging on by dental floss.
When I finally received the results of the test and my son was diagnosed with ADHD, I was relieved. I finally knew what we were up against. It has been almost two years since he was diagnosed with an “invisible disease”, and I have learned a great deal along the way. Whether your child has ADHD, autism, Asperger syndrome, or any other invisible disease, here are 6 tips for dealing with the diagnosis without losing perspective or yourself along the way.
- Do Your Homework: Learn as much as you can about your child’s diagnosis as this will help you determine the best plan of action for your family. Ask your doctor, therapist, friends, and even Google for information.
- Build a Dream Team – The USA men’s basketball team had Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird and each of them contributed to the team’s success. Build a strong network to support you and your child, including family, friends, doctors, and teachers. Remember, it takes a village…
- Eat Your Wheaties, Armor Up, and Prepare to Do Battle – Securing resources in school for your child may be challenging. I obtained an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for my son so that he could be eligible for special services within his public school system. To start the process, ask your teacher or principal for the individual responsible for the IEP process in your school district.
- Channel Your Inner Picasso – Well maybe you don’t have a desire to create masterpieces, but I strongly suggest finding a hobby or anything outside of your child that helps restore your energy and spirits. In my case, I took up a painting class called “Cocktails and Canvas” at a local art studio. Wine AND painting??! Sign me up!
- Love Thyself and Don’t Take It Personally – If your child is diagnosed with an invisible disease, remember there is no one to blame. Also, don’t beat yourself up when things are not easy. Instead, love yourself for being your child’s champion and making sure he or she has what they need!
- Stay Calm and Carry on – Diagnosis of an invisible disease does not determine your child’s future. It just means your amazing kid requires your love and patience even more.
Tanji Dewberry is a mom and author of “Oh Fiddlesticks!” a children’s book focused on helping kids learn to cope with their anger and other emotions.