Overprotecting A Child With Autism

How it all started: Anna’s Story…
“My son, Harry, was born on Christmas Eve 2002. Although he was small, he was perfect in every way – with thick, blond hair and piercing blue eyes, he was like a miniature version of my husband, Tom, and we fell in love with him straight away.
Harry was hardly any trouble at all – he was a contented baby, whose sunny personality attracted compliments from everyone who met him. An energetic toddler, his happy chatter filled our lives and he would rush around, talking to everyone he met. He had a wide vocabulary and soon learned to express himself, telling anyone else who would listen what he thought about the world he was exploring.
But, over time, Harry became less chatty. At first, we thought it was a phase. Then, we began to notice more changes: Harry struggled to calm down after his tantrums, which were happening more and more frequently. He couldn’t get to sleep at night and spent hours tidying his toys into rows, only settling one they were all neatly in order. 

As Harry’s mom, I tried my best to soothe him, giving him the kisses and cuddles that I thought he needed in a bid to show him how loved he was. But, as time went by, he became anxious, distant and, eventually, untouchable. He reacted violently to the affection that Tom and I would show him, pushing us away and then punishing himself with angry words, scratches, bites and slaps. I tried to reach Harry, to understand what he was experiencing, but he wouldn’t let me in.
“Just after Harry’s second birthday, our Doctor confirmed our fears: Harry was on the Autism Spectrum…”
So many emotions ran through us: fear, anger, confusion and, more than anything, guilt that we hadn’t been able to protect Harry from this condition.

Life after the diagnosis was tough. People who we considered good friends began to avoid us. 
They no longer saw a beautiful, intelligent little boy – they only saw the anger and rage when he threw a tantrum. They couldn’t know that, when I looked into his eyes, I saw that my baby was frightened by the world around him and struggling to cope. 
Harry didn’t notice the stares and tuts coming from the people around him. Instead, he carried on in his own little world, fulfilling the little rituals and habits that brought him comfort, lining up his toys and humming to himself. But, the uneducated responses and cruel comments from people around us took its toll on me. I felt so incredibly guilty that I couldn’t give Harry the care-free life I so desperately wanted him to have.

“As Harry’s mom, I felt a strong duty to protect him from the outside world, and from other people, who I worried would only see the negative side of his condition.” 
Over the next couple of years, I kept Harry close to me as often as possible, turning down the few play-dates we received, rejecting invitations to parenting groups and encouraging him to play at home rather than taking him to the park. I was sure that other parents would look at him and notice the differences in his behaviour.
In a bid to keep him from falling behind with all the milestones that other kids were passing, I would help Harry get dressed in the morning, ignoring his anger when I did his buttons up for him because it was taking him too long. At mealtimes, I’d cut his food up into bite-size pieces for him. Eventually, he stopped trying to get dressed or feed himself, and waited for me to do it for him. 

It took a heart-to-heart conversation with my husband to make me realise what I was doing was wrong – not just for me, but for Harry. One night, when I had bathed and undressed Harry, cleaned his teeth for him and put him to bed, Tom asked me to come and sit by him in the sitting room. He told me he’d watched a webinar by a childhood Autism specialist, who explained the seven most common – and dangerous – mistakes that parents of children with Autism can make. “In the webinar, he discovered that over-protecting Autistic children can have a serious negative impact on their long-term development.” Feeling stung by my husband’s words, I finally agreed to watch the webinar with him. I was sure that whoever this so-called ‘expert’ was, she wouldn’t understand the challenges that Harry and I were facing. She wouldn’t know that, when I did Harry’s homework or tied his shoelaces for him, I was trying to help my little boy.
As I watched the webinar, I felt tears well in my eyes. I realised that, by protecting Harry from the world, I’d stopped him from growing into the independent little boy that I wanted him to be. Instead of letting him take on new challenges and celebrating when he did a good job, I did everything for him.  In the webinar, renowned childhood Autism expert Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed., explained how over-protecting children on the spectrum can stop, or even reverse, their development. Often motivated by feelings of guilt or fear, parents wrap their Autistic children up in cotton wool and keep them away from challenging experiences that help children to grow, learn and achieve.  As I listened to Sandra outlining the other six mistakes that parents of children on the spectrum often make, I felt a sense of relief and comfort.  “After twenty years working with Autistic children, Sandra understands the difficulties and encourages parents to look forward to their child’s future, not back.” As my wonderful little boy lay sleeping next door, I opened my mind to what Sandra was saying and vowed to let Harry have all the experiences he should have. 

While I would be there forever to  support him, I would no longer live his life for him… 
Raising a child with Autism is hard. It’s a long-term commitment but I’ve learnt that, by encouraging your child to be independent, you can achieve hope, joy and freedom that you didn’t think was possible. 
I’d encourage anyone out there to watch the completely FREE webinar by Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed to find out how to unlock your Autistic child’s potential starting now. Supporting your child appropriately from the earliest possible age is crucial. 

Today, you can learn more about the seven most dangerous mistakes, and learn to avoid them. 
“Remember: you are the key to your child’s future.”  
Children with Autism need strong parents and carers who will give them love, support, boundaries and structure. It’s time to take action, and you’re not alone. 
Join Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed for her FREE webinar, and help your child become one of the success stories.”

Register for your FREE webinar training with Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed now and discover the key to unlocking childhood Autism.

Autism Children

AUTISM: Why Acting Quickly On Your Child's Behalf Is Essential - And How To Do It Now
As incidences of childhood Autism increase, experts are warning parents to act swiftly in the event of early indications in order to ensure the best possible outcome for their children.
According to a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children diagnosed with Autism in the United States has increased by an alarming 78% in the last ten years. 
Where previously only 1 in 110 American children was diagnosed as being on the Autistic Spectrum, the latest data indicates that 1 in 88 now has some form of Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  
At the current population level, it is estimated that 1,000,000 children in the United States is on the spectrum. When questioned on the reason for this startling increase, Autism experts have suggested that better diagnoses, a broader definition of the disorders that make up ‘Autism’ and increased awareness of ASDs account for around 50% of the newly diagnosed cases.  However, that still leaves 50% of cases unaccounted for, which places ASD on an ‘epidemic’ level in the United States. While the increasing rates of Autism diagnoses vary according to gender and ethnic background, one thing is clear: symptoms typically appear before the age of three and need to be recognised as early as possible to ensure the best possible outcome for the child in question.  
As Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that typically leads to impaired language, communication and social skills, early intervention helps to give children the best chance of a positive outcome. 
Sandra Arntzen M.Ed., who works as an Educational, Behavioral and Social Skills Educator for children with Autism, had this to say about early intervention:
“When a parent or carer hears the news that their child has Autism, it’s completely normal for that person to experience a wide range of contrasting emotions: anything from fear, confusions, resentment, bereavement or even guilt. “While these feelings are completely natural, it’s important that the parent or carer puts them to one side as early as possible and focuses on the needs of their child. There is every reason to be hopeful about the future of a child with Autism, as long as the appropriate support is started early.”

Dr Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, agrees:

“Early detection is associated with better outcomes. The earlier kids are detected, the earlier they could get services, and the less impairment they’ll have on their learning and in their lives on a long-term basis is our best understanding.”

Anna and her husband, Tom, started to notice some changes in their son’s behaviour when he was 15 months old. Harry, who had previously been a contented and chatty toddler, began struggling to calm himself after tantrums and started fixating on the position of the toys in his nursery, throwing screaming fits if they weren’t arranged in a certain way.
He started to reject physical affection and became withdrawn, talking only when he needed to and avoiding eye contact. While they dreaded the diagnosis, Anna and Tom took Harry to see a pediatric specialist on the recommendation of their personal physician. After conducting a large number of tests, she confirmed that Harry was suffering from Autism. “So many emotions ran through us”, says Anna. “Fear, anger, confusion and, more than anything, guilt: we felt so guilty that we hadn’t been able to protect Harry from this condition.” Following a strict behavioral program that is tailored to his specific needs and abilities, Harry is now showing significant progress in terms of his communication and social skills, and is demonstrating an increased awareness of how to manage his emotions in situations that he finds challenging. And, while at first Anna and Tom struggled to come to terms with the diagnosis, they are pleased that Harry was diagnosed relatively early.  Most Autism diagnoses in the United States are still made when the child is between four and five years old. At this stage, the child’s brain is substantially more developed – more of the ‘hard-wiring’ has been put in place – and entrenched habits are harder to change.

Possible signs

A child with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder may:

- Repeat actions or motions over and over again, such as rocking back and forth or tapping their hand or foot.

- Avoid direct eye contact and prefer not to have hugs and kisses.
- Not respond when people speak to them, but respond to other sounds around them.
- Not look at objects when someone points to them.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
While there is no known way to prevent occurrences of Autism in children, it does seem that early intervention is the single agreed method of ensuring the most positive outcome. 
Once a diagnosis is made, it is important for carers and parents to adhere to a structured behavioral program to give their child the best chance of improvement. 

Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed., has produced a free webinar for the parents and carers of children on the Autistic Spectrum, which outlines the seven most common mistakes to make when raising a child with Autism

And, while the webinar focuses on these mistakes, the message is undoubtedly a positive one. Arntzen is clear: “Children with Autism need strong parents and carers who will give them the love, support, boundaries and structure they need. These mistakes are easy to make, but also easy to correct with simple and effective strategies. 
“It’s not an exaggeration to say that these strategies are critically important for ensuring a happy future for a child with Autism. My aim is to offer parents and carers of children on the spectrum the clarity and encouragement they need to realise that they’re not alone and that there is hope.”

Famous People With Autism

Seven Dangerous Mistakes When Dealing With Childhood Autism
The first time a parent is told that their child has Autism will be a moment that they never forget. 
Often, the moment has been preceded by months – or even years – of concern, guilt and even anger as their once happy and outgoing child becomes less communicative, less expressive and often less able to control their emotions. 
Physical comfort, such as hugs and kisses, that used to soothe your child are no longer welcomed and unusual habits and obsessions become an important part of your child’s life. As a loving parent, you try everything to draw your child back out of the little world they’ve created for themselves, but nothing seems to work. 
You talk to doctors, nurses, child-care specialists, positive parenting groups – anyone who can help you find the key to your child’s behaviour. And finally, it’s confirmed: your child is diagnosed Famous People with Autism.
But, while it can be a relief to finally discover the reason for your child’s difficulties – and to realize that it’s not your fault – a diagnosis of Autism can feel like a life sentence. Parents of children with Autism experience a wide range of emotions – confusion, resentment, maybe even guilt that they were somehow unable to ‘protect’ their child from this condition. Many parents fear for their child’s future and feel certain that life will never be normal or enjoyable again. 

It is vital at this difficult time in your child’s life that you put aside your fears and anger so that you can realise this one important truth: you are the key to your child’s future. 

Children, especially children with Autism, are vulnerable little people and they rely on you, their parents and carers, to protect them and do what’s best for them. And, while you can’t protect your child from Autism, you can give them the tools they so desperately need to help them to live with the condition and realise the potential that’s locked up inside of them. 

BUT – to be able to help your child, you need to make sure that you’re ready to work with them in the right way. 

Seven dangerous mistakes – easy to make, impossible to undo

Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed, specialises in helping children with Autism. Using her twenty years of experience, Arntzen has identified seven dangerous mistakes that parents and carers can make when they are faced with a diagnosis of Autism. These mistakes, while easy to make, can halt your child’s progress or even undo the steps they’ve taken so far.

Failing to accept the diagnosis

One of the most common – and natural – responses that most parents have when they learnt that their child has Autism is to go into a state of denial or shock. Many parents and carers don’t really know much about Autism, and what it means for them and their child, but it’s important to accept the diagnosis, embrace the diagnosis and work on moving forward with that diagnosis. 

Once you accept and understand that Autism is part of your child’s life – and part of who they are – you can start working with them to unlock the potential that’s trapped inside them. 

Feeling guilty about your child’s condition

While it’s natural for parents and carers to want the best for their child – and to mourn the loss of their life ‘before’ Autism – it’s important not to let this guilt get in the way of responsible, positive parenting. 
Parents who spend their lives feeling guilty about their child’s Autism – rather than accepting it as a part of who their child is – risk spoiling their child as a way of ‘making up’ for the diagnosis. While parents may feel that their Autistic child needs to be wrapped up in cotton wool and protected from the world, this dangerous tendency can keep children with Autism from progressing and can even undo the steps that they’ve taken towards leading their own lives.

Even though your child has Autism, it is important to raise them with structure, discipline, challenges and boundaries. Just like any other child, a child with Autism still needs to be pushed to become independent. Whether it’s doing their own homework, learning to feed and dress themselves or simply communicating their needs to you, your child needs to learn how to grow.

Supporting your child appropriately from the earliest possible age is crucial. Today, you can learn more about these, and the other, dangerous mistakes and learn how to avoid them. Using this completely FREE webinar by renowned Autism expert Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed, you can be the positive change in your child’s life.

Remember: you are the key to your child’s future.

Children with Autism need strong parents and carers who will give them love, support, boundaries and structure. While you might still be feeling shell-shocked by your child’s diagnosis, it’s time to take action. You can start helping your child right now.

Register for your FREE webinar training with Sandra Arntzen, M.Ed now and discover the key to unlocking childhood Autism.