In honor of World Autism Day today and National Autism Awareness Month, I want to acknowledge the amazing support we get from family, friends, and professionals on our journey of raising sensory kids.  There are so many wonderful gifts our teams give us but none more important than the early validation that something is “off” with our child’s development.

Almost every family I have worked with has experienced a period, sometimes a very long period, where one family member was noticing something in their child’s development only to have their concerns ignored with “everything’s fine, she’ll outgrow it” or “every child develops differently”.  Thankfully, many families also had someone who was finally courageous enough to say “Yes – I see it too”.  This is one of the hardest things for anyone to have to do for a spouse, sibling, friend, or patient.  However, without this external validation, families and sensory kids can exist without a diagnosis or the correct supports in place for a long time.

How to Be the Courageous One:

Validate:  If a friend, family member, or patient comes to you to ask what you are seeing in their child, they have already seen it for themselves on some level and need external validation.  Be the courageous one who can help a family take that first, difficult step.

Motivate:  Help your friend, family member, or patient develop a plan.  This kind of stress can leave many at a loss of what to do next.  Help create a plan to get initial doctors appointments, evaluations done, and a list of local support organizations.

Appreciate: The early months of this process for parents and families is an extremely overwhelming and emotional time.  Be there to praise the hard steps they are taking,   cheer them on when they begin to connect with the “sensory” community, and learn to appreciate their new definition of parenting.

For all of you courageous enough to say “YES” – Thank you!  Here’s to a month of gratitude for all the amazing teams supporting all types of sensory kids and helping entire families reach their potential.