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The 10 Autism Parenting Rules I Live By on a Daily Basis

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We know autism is infinitely different between individuals and families. However, there are commonalities that we may share, which is the basis behind this list. The term “rule” is meant very loosely, as in there really aren’t any! I live this on a daily basis with my four kids: 11-year-old identical twin boys, an 8-year-old daughter and a 13-year-old daughter.

1. The first rule of autism is to talk about autism.

I’ve been talking about it for nine years now and don’t plan to stop.

Source: "Doctor Who"
Source: “Doctor Who”

2. Never run out of your child’s favorite food.

If you ever have, you know why this is important. You might find yourself heading to the store at an inopportune time in an attempt to quell a meltdown that ensued after the oversight was discovered.

Source: "Sherlock"
Source: “Sherlock”

3. Don’t switch to decaf coffee or run out of coffee.

Why? Because we are tired! For those who don’t consume caffeine, how do you not?

Source: "Fast Times at Ridgemont High"
Source: “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

4. Pants are sometimes optional.

Fortunately, my kids were minimal in their disregard to pants. In fact, one of my twins used to get really upset if his brother wasn’t wearing a shirt. I know many households can relate to Wayne’s “no pants” revolution.

Source: "Wayne's World"
Source: “Wayne’s World”

5. Expect the unexpected when driving.

Driving with my kids is always entertaining. I have learned to expect the unexpected such as spilled drinks, items being thrown, bickering. I really want the newer Toyota Sienna minivan that has the microphone so you can yell at the backseat passengers. That would be awesome. (Morgan Freeman? Well, maybe it would lend itself to actual adult conversation.)

Source: "Bruce Almighty"
Source: “Bruce Almighty”

6. Don’t let anyone underestimate your child’s intelligence.

On a more serious note, never let anyone question your child’s intelligence. Standardized testing isn’t a true reflection of what they know. One of my son’s teachers said to me last year, “If I didn’t have R in class, I would have never known how smart he was.” This teacher took the time to see past his defiant behavior about writing and allowed him to type his answers. It was excellent.

Source: "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure"
Source: “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”

7. Don’t believe everything you read about autism.

I think the fragmented splinter studies that are published weekly don’t take into account the big picture. The look on The Hoff’s face says it all.

Source: David Hasselhoff
Source: David Hasselhoff

8. Don’t forget the iPad or the charger.

I think we all know what happens if you do.

Source: "Parks and Recreation"
Source: “Parks and Recreation”

9. Don’t be afraid to question the medical professionals.

For the first year and a half, I was repeatedly told that my twins delayed milestones were because they were twins, they were preemies or they were boys. I knew something was amiss, but I listened to the doctor’s excuses. I don’t hesitate to question them now. On a side note, look how young Nick Nolte was! 

Source: "Emergency!"
Source: “Emergency!”

10. You can’t just “get” a babysitter

And if you do find one, you may do anything to have them come back!

Source: "Junior"
Source: “Junior”

Hopefully, you were able to relate to some of these.

Follow this journey on Autism Odysseys

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Originally published: December 9, 2015
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