By Dan Coulter
"It's a miracle!"
You may have used this expression when something happened that you wished for but didn't count on.
All of us hope this will happen to us. Advertisers play off this hope when they offer us miracle cures for everything from back pain to challenging autistic behaviors in our children. And we see doctors routinely performing miracles in television dramas.
When it comes to Asperger Syndrome or Autism Spectrum Disorder, it's temping to look to a doctor or other expert for a comprehensive solution to a child's challenges. But ultimately, we as parents have the responsibility to analyze recommendations and options and make choices for ourselves and our children.
Making mistakes is part of the process.
When our son was very young and had not yet been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, my wife and I were told that his problems were caused by optical difficulties that could be fixed by special glasses. We tried the glasses, which had no benefits. No miracle there. Just profit for the person selling the glasses.
After we got our son's Asperger diagnosis, we saw a lot of experts and doctors. We learned to evaluate suggested treatments and therapies and try those most likely to succeed. Yes, we still look back and wish we'd made different choices at some points, but that's like looking back and wishing you'd invested in a stock just before it shot up. You can't beat yourself up for not having a crystal ball and seeing the future. You just have to do your best and move on.
Medication decisions can be especially challenging. We found it's important to educate yourself about the possible side effects of medications your child's doctor recommends, including risks of dependency and possible negative effects of stopping a medication. It's helpful to find doctors who will answer your questions and use your feedback to adjust a treatment plan.
Along the way we learned that we often had to step back, let our son figure things out by himself, fail and succeed, and become his own person. We now have a 30 year old son who makes us proud. He cares about his parents, but often resists our advice because he wants to make his own way.
I sometimes wish I had a switch that would turn off his independence just long enough for him to take my advice on a matter, then flip his self-reliance back on. Given that life doesn't work that way, I much prefer having an independent adult child than one who can't make a decision by himself. We're really pleased when we see him researching his choices and not blindly taking advice from advertizers or friends.
My son doesn't need a miracle cure. He made his own miracle. Even though his parents weren't – and aren't – perfect. And slow cooking self-made miracles are the best.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Dan Coulter is the author of the soon to be released DVD, “The Puberty Video for Boys with Asperger Syndrome (and Autism Spectrum Disorder – Level 1).” You can find more articles and information on his website: coultervideo.com.
Copyright 2014 Dan Coulter Used by Permission All Rights Reserved