Okay, so maybe autism isn't exactly a religion but it sure is a way of life. All it takes is one person in the house to be living with it and everyone else converts to it too. I guess you could say my Kiddo is my spiritual guru. Sure wish the services didn't start so damned early in the morning though but he makes up for that in pushing me to be a more creative parent. The Church of the Kiddo has enlightened me in the following ways.
1) Thou shall maketh and keepth the schedule.
My kiddo doesn't have much control over what happens most days. He's not an adult so he's not in charge. (As much as he feels otherwise) So I have to honor the little things I can keep constant as much as I can. If watching the "Hot Chocolate" scene in The Polar Express every night means so much to him, well I guess I'll just being hearing Tom Hank's voice in my sleep then.
2) Thou shall remember it's not personal.
It's hard not get hurt when your kid doesn't say "I love you". It doesn't mean they don't. They just show it differently. Don't take it as a slight. They're going to do a lot of things you don't quite get and it's going to make you wonder why. It's what they need to do. It's how they cope.
3)Thou shall remember you are a parent, not perfect.
You're going to screw it up because let's face it, 90% of parenting is making it up as you go along.
4) Thou shall throw out the "typical" milestones.
"Oh my God! My kid is four and still not potty trained!!" Yeah? Probably won't be at five or even later. Dudes, you got to get your Elsa on and "Let it go!". Stop comparing them to typical kids. If you are still referring to the parenting books, I suggest you donate them to your local library. Those rules no longer apply here.
5) Thou shall STOP comparing your autistic kid to any other autistic person.
They're all snowflakes. Different. Blah, blah, blah. You know the deal. You know the autism you live with. That's it. No lumping them together.
6) Thou shall remember it is not a martyr competition.
Nobody wins a trophy for most amount of suffering and it's very easy to feel bitter and resentful. Especially when you hear about other's people and their kids. I know. I've done it. It gets you no where. Feel the feelings, sure. I won't deny you that but move the Hell on. When someone is talking about their kid, don't try to one up them on how it's worse for you. They are sharing their equally valid feelings.
7)Thou shall not beat thyself up over not getting anything done that day.
Yes you did. You raised your kid. You fed them. You gave them clean clothes. You picked up those same clothes when they stripped them off and had them get dressed again. You turned on favorite DVDs. You downloaded apps on their iPad. You said your lines in their scripts. You put them in showers. You chased them into bed five times in an hour. Trust me, you got stuff done.
8) Thou shall learn to say "No".
To your kid, to your spouse, to their teacher, to your family, etc. Sometimes your butt needs a break. Chuck the guilt that you're not the class mom. Don't feel bad if you pass on going to some overcrowded family get together. You can only do so much.
9) Thou shall redirect, redirect and redirect.
OK, some of the behaviors aren't the best. They can be down right hard to live with but you just can't expect them to stop without giving them an alternative. It's not just "Stop!". It's "Stop and here, let's do this instead.". Lather, rinse, repeat.
10) Thou shall listen to thy gut.
Sure, you have questions but I bet you already know many of the answers. Trust yourself.
Now pardon me as I go make another side of fries as an offering to the autism gods. ;-)