Being Brave With Autism
Bravery is one of the most powerful qualities you can instill in your child with autism. The moment you hear that your child has autism, you want to be brave, and you want your child to be brave enough to power through obstacles, too.
Developing bravery in your child with autism is easier said than done, but with effort and determination, it is possible. You should learn to accept that your child may be afraid, whether it’s of loud noises, tight spaces, or talking with other children, but you should gently encourage them to confront their fears as well.
The more they develop bravery, the more successful they’re going to be.
Helping your child with autism find his/her bravery can be beneficial at every stage of life. If your young child is afraid to go to school, help him/her through the struggles by listening to and reminding the child that the other children feel the same way. Work with him/her on the aspects that create anxiety, no matter whether the child fears academics or socializing. If he/she is afraid of exploring new places or traveling via certain modes of transportation (by car, bus, train or by plane) keep soothing, familiar items on hand and speak to your child ahead of time about what to expect.
Your child will feel brave enough to experience all kind of new adventures. If your child with autism has become a teen and is old enough to drive, work on the skills needed to build up confidence behind the wheel. Listen to your child’s fears and remind him/her that it is okay to reach milestones at his/her own pace. When your child reaches milestones at his/her own pace, achievements are still just as special and can actually be greater.
As someone on the autism spectrum, being brave has helped me achieve everything I’ve hoped for in life. For the first few years of my life, I was nonverbal, I struggled in school, and sensory stimulation terrified me. Through early intervention programs and a variety of therapies, though, I was able to develop the skills (and the courage) to overcome or improve many of my struggles. Being brave will always be my greatest strength!
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I bravely fought through my struggles with reading and writing to share my story on several websites and author multiple books. I eventually overcame my struggles with interacting with people to become a successful public speaker aspiring to land a TED Talk and to start a happy, loving relationship with my girlfriend.
And despite my childhood fear of flying, after college, I flew across the country to watch Shania Twain perform, and when she invited me onstage to meet her, I was brave enough to accept her offer (and even tell her that I have autism!) Thanks to my bravery, I experienced the most unbelievable moment of my life!
Recently, my life circumstances have tested my bravery as a man with autism. My father was taken to hospice, and I lost my Social Security Disability on the same day. However, because I am so brave, I decided to continue living my life. When my father eventually passed away, I bravely decided to live my life to the fullest in his honor. I managed to survive my most difficult times because my autism taught me how to be brave.
The moments that I’ve realized I’ve overcome my biggest fears as someone on the autism spectrum have reminded me of how brave I truly am and how far I’ve come in life. If you encourage your child to face and overcome their fears, they will find their bravery and accomplish more than you could ever dream possible.
This article was featured in Issue 93 – ASD Advice for Today and Tomorrow