Dear Sis Dolly
My kid has just been diagnosed with autism. He’d been having problems for a while and eventually the school suggested we take him for tests. I was hesitant at first, but I realised that knowing what the problem is means I can get him the help he needs sooner rather than later.But now that I know his diagnosis, I’m really scared.
They say this could last his whole life and I feel lost – I don’t know how I’m going to support this child. I feel bad when I think like this but I don’t have any support from family and his father isn’t part of his life so everything is up to me. How do I find the strength to do this?
Sis Dolly answers
As an expectant mother you hardly ever think about what will happen if you end up giving birth to a child with special needs. That is why when it happens you feel like the earth is caving in on you. What you are currently going through is typical of the anxiety parents with special-needs children go through.
You’ve already made a start to ensure you support your child by acknowledging his diagnosis and your anxiety about how to deal with it. Your next step is to learn as much as you can about his condition. You will see it that can be managed and autistic children can grow up to have careers and families.
Talk to him and get to know him and his condition as well as you possibly can so you can give him the support he needs. Try not to treat him differently to any other child. I also suggest you contact Autism South Africa on 011-484-9909 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They can answer your questions and put you in touch with support groups for parents and family members of autistic persons.