Diagnosed With Autism at 21—and OK With It

Lydia Wayman’s tips on dealing with an autistic child:

Make a list of things you love about your child. Share it with someone.

Give him freedom to obsess about his favorite thing. Obsess with him. It may be the bridge to learning and connecting with others.

Limit choices. If scratchy clothes are a challenge every morning, fill the closet with comfortable clothes. Then, narrow his choices: “You can wear jeans or sweat pants today. Which would you like?”

No matter how verbal your child may seem, work toward at least one alternative method of communication—sign language, typing, text-to-speech, etc. It may help you and your child share complex ideas and understanding.

Presume competence. Believe your child has limitless potential to learn, communicate and live as a valued member of the community.

Don’t judge a day by veggies eaten, words spoken, sticker charts filled. Aim for a happy, healthy, one-of-a-kind kid who is proud to be himself.

From this excellent article in Wall Street Journal about a woman who was diagnosed with autism at 21.