The challenges of having a child with ASD or a child with special needs can be overwhelming for parents. The challenges may be peculiar to each parent, but one thing that is constant is the need for support. Parents of children with special needs are seeking for care and support. They need to know that they have friends and family members that have their back. So let’s talk about how we can help.
· You can go and help out in the house whenever you can. I know some mothers will appreciate some help in the house. It does not mean they cannot take care of their homes, it is just your way of showing that you are there and you care.
· You can take all the children or maybe just the other children out sometimes. They are often stressed out raising that child and their other children. Siblings of children on the spectrum also deserve a beautiful childhood, and you will be contributing to that experience for them.
· Go and babysit the children so that the parents can have sometime alone. Raising a child with autism is demanding and so some parents do not have time for each other and this has caused the break up of some marriages. Even couples that have neuro-typical kids feel the need for a break, how much more a couple dealing with their child’s disorder. I am very sure they will appreciate the gesture and labour of love.
· Encourage them with your words. A call can bring comfort sometimes.
· You can also give money when necessary. Therapy costs money and so some parents and caregivers will appreciate financial support.
· It will be nice to have your children go over to their house to play. This will help to build d child’s social skill.
· Helping them with new information can be very helpful. If you have any news that will benefit them, please share it with them.
· Stand up for them and their child when people speak ill or rudely of them. People are very mean to children with autism and their parents. We need more people standing up for them.
· Show them and the child love and care.
· Be an autism advocate. There is a Disability bill in the House of Representatives in Nigeria. You can join your voice with ours to ensure that it is passed.
· Most importantly, pray for them and their children. The place of prayer cannot be overemphasised. We are sometimes limited as humans, but prayer allows us to invite divine intervention or help where our own strength cannot help. Sometime ago, a boy at the centre I work now, needed to do eye surgery to remove cataract from his eyes. His parents did not have the money and we could not help either. We just kept praying to God to send help. And God miraculously provided the money for the surgery. Your prayer can also be for God’s comfort for the family. Whatever you pray for does not matter, but please pray for them.
Some people do not have relatives or friends with children on the spectrum, but they can also be involved. You can give to organizations that cater for these children. Another way to help is to spread the awareness. You have no idea how mentioning autism somewhere will help someone who needs to hear about it. School owners can also decide to provide education for these children. Every child has a right to education including children living with autism.
Also I believe that with your help, an adult with autism may be saved from discrimination, and allowed to get a job in a work place of his/her choice.
Thank you for listening. Till our gist continues next time... muah
p.s: In another news, GTB is organizing an Autism awareness seminar and Behaviour Clinic later in the month. The Behaviour Clinic will hold from March 24-28, while the Autism seminar will hold on the 31st of March and 1st of April, all in Lagos. Check out http://www.gtbank.com/autism to learn more and register for it.