autism, on my heart, Parenting, YMCA Auckland

Surround yourself with a team. Autism and Expectations

November 15, 2016

He is just flourishing, and I am so proud.

Proud of him and thankful for the small but awesome support network we have seemed to acquire around us.
In the beginning. it was just me and him, working hard – showing up for each other.

Slowly people in our life started showing up for me, and I felt supported – his daycare Teachers Jane and Victoria, the whole teaching crew there is amazing, but those two babes were there for me, a safe place to vent and be offered advice and understanding.
Jakes YMCA Swim-school teachers, particularly Helen, and James.
These people in particular helped Jacob show me and the world that he could smash all these limitations that deep down I believed his Autism would forever hold him from.

I remember those times not so long ago, where he wouldn’t utter the words Mum, or I love you.
Now I am showered with love and words all day everyday.

His imagination is huge, and his emotions span oceans.

Surround yourself with a team. Autism and Expectations Autism and Expectations img_3298-1

If you have a child with higher needs, here is my advice to you.

1. Believe in your child!

Nothing matters to me more then my child knowing I believe in them, no matter what.  I have always known that if I didn’t believe in him then no one else could.
Even when you feel helpless just believe in them, accept the diagosis not the prognosis.   Our children are more then the labels they are given.
Focus on the positive things and remarkable changes will happen.
Most important of all, when they see you believing in them, they will begin to believe in themselves.

2. Believe in yourself!

As parents I think that we are given a gift of knowing when something just doesn’t feel right with our children.
Regardless of what well-meaning Doctors, Friends and Family members tell you, always trust in that feeling.
No one knows your child better than you do.

3. Surround yourself with people who understand your child.

The saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,”gets thrown around. Finding a village can sometimes be very hard, When we found those people, our children began to instantly thrive. There are people out there, and they will make your life so much better.


4. Never give up!

Regression can be a natural  part of the process. Focus on how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.
Nothing worth while comes easy.

5. Research.

I learned  by tapping into the experts: parents of kids with ASD, therapists, teachers and doctors. Families who have been through it have learned through lots of trials and errors. Ask them what they’ve learned, hear there stories.

6. Make yourself a priority.

Taking that time out for ourselves allows us to feel sane, so we can handle the roller coaster of emotions and be present for our family.

7. Welcome to their world.

Whatever my son was doing, my daughter would be right beside him doing the same thing. When my son was younger, he loved to spin. My daughter would stand right beside him and spin, too. Every so often he would look over at her, and they would fall on the floor laughing hysterically at each other. Then they would get up and do it all over again.

Do what they’re doing and don’t be afraid to get silly. It will help them learn to trust this sometimes scary world.

8. See the world through their eyes.

By putting yourself in their shoes, you become much more understanding of their feelings and needs. I just couldn’t understand why my son was such a picky eater, hated his hair clipped, screamed when we would wash his hair and screamed when I flushed the toilet. It all made sense when I learned more about Autism.


9. Don’t listen!

They mean well, but most of the time they don;t know what they are talking about.
You have to believe in yourself and believe in your child. Just keep moving and ask advice from people in your village, your trusted confidants.

10. Be thankful!

Focus on the positive and the positive grows, focus on the negative and the negative grows. No matter what your situation there is always something to be thankful for.

It does get better, keep the faith!

For about the first year after my son was diagnosed, every doctor and therapist we went to said he was the most severe case they’d ever seen. That they were surprised he didn’t have behavioral or attachment issues. I was terrified for his future and felt so hopeless.











  1. Hannah Parr

    November 15, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Love this Lisa. Such an inspiration xo

  2. Rachel

    September 16, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    Thank you Lisa, its a hard road and its nice to hear your success with your son. sometimes its easy to get down and only see the negatives, especially with so many appointments and negative comments its overwhelming at times.

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