Staying in the Game…

Autism is a big giant life size “whack-a-mole” game. It is the most frustrating and rewarding game – at the same time– with one difference: it offers tremendous pay off opportunities with our most precious assets. It is worth all the effort put in – especially by our hard working kids.

It can be extremely frustrating. I’ve been there and have the scars to prove it. Just when you think you have tackled an area and it is handled, done, finished – it bounces back.

My suggestion to families living with autism is to look forward not backwards. There are steps to consider when managing a child with autism and their journey (1). And there are many parents you can turn to who are veterans at it. Experienced, caring parents like Bernie, Poita and Mary (my mentors in the early days) are out there ready to serve. I would have been lost without them. I don’t think TACA would be here without the assist from some of my early heroes.

After 12 years in the game, I have come to appreciate that incremental success is a beautiful thing. I love those steps. Over time – they add up to amazing triumph! I look at my son today and marvel at the gains he has made. I am so proud of him. He had to whack a LOT of moles to get where he is today.

I’m from California so I tend to view everything as a “reverse” Richter scale (where a high number is a GOOD thing). No single effort, treatment or therapy has yielded a 7.0 response for Jeff, but over time they have equaled a 7.0. I take these steps .5 or 1.0’s at a time. Combined, they paint a brighter future for Jeff than ever before.

Here are some ways to stay in the game and, hopefully, be less frustrated:

  • Create a strategy using best practices: use TACA’s Blueprints (2) as your guide on the journey
  • Know the treatments out there (3) & (4). Keep current on new or reformulated treatments arriving on the scene.
  • It’s never too late to get started. The window does not close (5)
  • Since 2002 TACA has been providing one to one parent support. Get a TACA mentor to help (6)
  • Plug in at meetings more often (even you seasoned veterans – 7)
  • Find resources to help you. If you need a second opinion – get one. TACA can help.

Over time the incremental steps forward add up. Use TACA tools and friends to help you. What I love about TACA families is that they focus on the positive. They are consistent. They are always looking for answers. They are my heroes.

1) What is it??? http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/when-something-isnt-right/

2) TACA Autism Journey Blueprints http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/autism-journey-blueprints-guide/

3) What autism symptoms mean http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/what-autism-symptoms-mean/

4) Traditional therapies overview: http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/traditional-therapies/

5) TACA Parent mentors http://www.tacanow.org/about-taca/parent-mentor-program/

6) Does the window ever close? http://www.tacanow.org/family-resources/does-the-window-ever-close/

7) Find a TACA Chapters http://www.tacanow.org/local-chapters/ . If there isn’t one by you – check out TACA live chat for support. http://www.tacanow.org/about-taca/real-help-now-live-chat/ .

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