These commandments have been floating around the internet in one form or another in various places for a while now, but we felt they spoke to the essence of what parents of children on the spectrum need be reminded from time to time. All of us deal with hope and heartbreak, recovery and regression and lose sight of these valuable principles as a result of things sometimes. Some parents print them out and post them as a reminder to themselves as to what is really important. Others bookmark them and revisit them when they need the comfort of their ideals. To each his own. Feel free to share them, save them, link to them, or encourage others to remember what is truly important in our lives one day at a time…all our children deserve nothing less.
1. Take one day at a time, and take that day positively. You don't have control over the future, but you do have control over today.
2. Never underestimate your child's potential. Allow them, encourage them, expect them to develop to the best of his abilities.
3. Find and allow positive mentors: parents and professionals who can share with you their experience, advice, and support.
4. Provide and be involved with the most appropriate educational and learning environments for your child from infancy on.
5. Keep in mind the feelings and needs of your spouse and your other children. Remind them that this child does not get more of your love just because he gets more of your time.
6. Answer only to your conscience: then you'll be able to answer to your child.
You need not justify your actions to your friends or the public.
7. Be honest with your feelings. You can't be a super-parent 24 hours a day. Allow yourself jealousy, anger, pity, frustration, and depression in small amounts whenever necessary.
8. Be kind to yourself. Don't focus continually on what needs to be done. Remember to look at what you have accomplished.
9. Stop and smell the roses. Take advantage of the fact that you have gained a special appreciation for the little miracles in life that others take for granted.
10. Keep and use a sense of humor. Cracking up with laughter can keep you from cracking up from stress.
Autism is the fastest growing disability on the planet according to the Centers for Disease Control. More children will be diagnosed with Autism this year than with pediatric cancers, AIDS and Diabetes combined. This means more parents and families will be looking for the same encouragement, assistance and answers that we are. Embrace them, Share with them, Support them in anyway and everyway as we ourselves would want to be treated. Regardless if you’re loved one with Autism is 18 months old or 81 years young we are all on the spectrum and deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Gandhi said: “The truest reflection of any society is how it treats its most vulnerable citizens”. By treating others in our cause they way we ourselves want to be treated we set forth an example to inspire the willing and compassionate members of society. Compassion begins with Awareness, but must inspire Action if we are ultimately to make a difference for those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders today.