Embracing autism means recognizing and celebrating the unique strengths, perspectives, and talents that individuals with autism bring to the world. It's about fostering understanding, acceptance, and inclusion. By embracing an autism diagnosis in yourself or in your child (or in someone you care about), you can feel more empowered and help the person with autism to feel more empowered, as well.
To be empowered means, “having the knowledge, confidence, means, or ability to do things or make decisions for oneself.” Another definition of the term empowered is to be “confident and in control of your life.”
We all feel better when we have a sense of control over our own lives and when we feel confident in ourselves. An essential aspect of leading a healthy and fulfilling life is the ability to independently make decisions and have confidence in them to shape the course of our own lives.
Everyone experiences setbacks or challenges in life. We all should learn to cope with, accept, and even embrace the unexpected things that happen to us. When we can embrace our challenges, we are more empowered to live a better quality of life.
For people with disabilities or parents of children with a disability, such as autism, it can be overwhelming to get an autism diagnosis. To feel more empowered, parents should embrace their child’s autism diagnosis. And children should learn to embrace their diagnosis, as well.
Embracing an Autism Diagnosis
Embracing an autism diagnosis can be a significant and sometimes challenging journey for individuals and their families. However, by embracing an ASD diagnosis, you can help yourself and your loved one to be more empowered. Let’s review some recommendations on how to embrace and navigate this process.
Learn more about autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Understand the different strengths and challenges associated with autism. Knowledge can empower you and help you make informed decisions. By having more information about ASD, you can make more educated decisions about all aspects of life from what treatment to receive to what kind of accommodations will be most helpful to recognizing and supporting the person to be their true self.
Connect with Others
Seek out support groups. You might do this online or in your local community. Support groups can help you connect with other individuals and families who have experience with autism. Sharing experiences and insights can be comforting and valuable in your journey with autism. Through building connections with others, you empower yourself, as having this support system boosts your strength and confidence in making the best decisions for individuals with autism.
Autism often comes with unique strengths and talents. Embrace and celebrate these strengths, whether they involve a particular skill, interest, or way of thinking. Recognizing and nurturing these strengths can boost self-esteem. Greater self-esteem is related to greater self-confidence and greater self-confidence is related to being more empowered.
Advocate for Acceptance and Inclusion
Work towards creating an inclusive environment for individuals with autism. Advocate for understanding and acceptance in schools, workplaces, and communities. Emphasize the importance of accommodating different needs. It can be very anxiety-producing to stand up for yourself or for your child when other people may not fully understand autism. By embracing an autism diagnosis, you can help others become more accepting and more inclusive of the person with autism, whether that’s yourself or your child.
Focus on Individuality
Remember that every person with autism is unique. What works for one individual might not work for another. Tailor support and interventions to the specific needs and preferences of the person with autism. Embracing autism means acknowledging and accepting that everyone is a unique individual and by supporting this individuality you are empowering the person with autism to be their best self.
Consider seeking therapeutic support for both the individual with autism and the family. Therapists, counselors, and support groups can provide guidance, coping strategies, and a safe space to discuss challenges. You might consider getting your child into applied behavior analysis (ABA) services which is an evidence-based treatment for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). When your child receives ABA, you, as the parent or caregiver, can also receive ABA-based parent education and support which is a great way to learn tools and strategies that can be used to help your child (and yourself and your family as a whole) to live a better quality of life.
Foster independence in individuals with autism. Provide opportunities for them to develop life skills and pursue their interests. This can contribute to a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Embracing an autism diagnosis means acknowledging that the person with autism has their own strengths but also has areas in which they could use support in order to be most successful in everyday life. Teaching your child skills to help them be more independent is very empowering.
Recognize and celebrate small victories and progress. By consciously reinforcing your child’s progress, you are helping to empower them. You are helping give them the encouragement and the support they need to continue growing and improving in important areas of functioning. Positive reinforcement can be powerful in building confidence and resilience.
Encourage open communication within the family. Discuss feelings, concerns, and aspirations related to the autism diagnosis. Creating a supportive and understanding family environment is crucial.
Consult with healthcare professionals, educators, and specialists who have experience in autism. They can provide guidance on interventions, educational strategies, and other aspects of support. Behavioral Innovations staff will happily support you and your child as you embrace an autism diagnosis. We want to help empower you and your child to live your best lives.
Embracing an Autism Diagnosis
Remember that embracing an autism diagnosis is an ongoing process. It involves adapting to new information, learning from experiences, and advocating for the well-being and inclusion of individuals with autism in all aspects of life. Embracing an autism diagnosis will help you and your child feel more empowered which will greatly support your functioning and experiences in daily life and overall well-being.
Cambridge Dictionary. (n.d.). Empowered. In Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/empowered
Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Empowered. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved September 29, 2023, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/empowered