Today is World Autism Awareness Day! Some of the children and youth who are awaiting adoption in the province of Ontario live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but what does that mean? ASD is like many diagnoses, it is a spectrum and looks different for every individual. Popular movies such as “My name is Khan”, “I am Sam”, and “The Other Sister” show people living with ASD on various ‘positions’ of the spectrum, from mild to more severe.
So what does it mean to parent a child/youth living with ASD?
Remember, living with Autism affects everyone differently. It is important to look past the diagnosis to learn about the uniqueness of the individual. Like all of us, children and youth presenting with needs because of their diagnosis have unique talents, interest, and hobbies that make them exceptional.
Let us take a look at some key elements to consider when hearing about a child or youth with ASD.
- Autism is a spectrum. This means that some children may just need some visual reminders in to complete tasks and some children may need further interventions and supports. Characteristics of the spectrum vary significantly from person to person. When you are learning about a child ask the questions about what is needed day to day to support them in being successful.
- With support, children and youth living with autism can form meaningful friendships. This can take time and their friendships can look different as they have unique ways of communicating.
- With the right supports, the stability of a loving home, access to resources and being taught tools and techniques many children living with Autism can become successful and independent adults. As prospective adoptive parents you can help a child in reaching their fullest potential.
- Many children and youth living with ASD have very unique gifts and talents. Some can memorize maps, or solve and any mathematical equations. Others are very creative and artistic.
Learn More: AdoptOntario's Understanding Autism
If you are considering parenting a child with this need visit the Understanding Special Needs section on the AdoptOntario website. You can also do further reading on many other special needs to open your heart and mind to parenting a child with special needs.
Did you know?
There are many famous and successful celebrities and business people that are on the ASD spectrum. To learn more click here.
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