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What can your child do?  As a therapist working with individuals who have autism, I hear about the things they can’t do quite frequently.  From the time of diagnosis on and sometimes before diagnosis, parents are told everything their child can’t do. What most people forget is that at some point they couldn’t do most things.

What if when you were an infant your parents looked at you and said “well this kid will never walk, why bother taking them out of the crib?”.  Do you realize if they genuinely thought that and never took you out of the crib they would’ve been right?  If they had simply let you lie in the bed all your life you would’ve never developed the muscle structure in your legs or the coordination in your brain to be able to balance standing let alone walk.  Your cerebellum wouldn’t develop properly and you’d be confined to a life of laying in bed staring at the ceiling.  That would more than likely be pretty boring and you’d probably be in a bad mood all the time because you’d be completely dependent on your parents for all your wants and needs.  Why wouldn’t these hypothetical parents take their baby out of the crib and at least try to teach walking.  I’m just guessing but maybe their response would be something like “Teaching my child to walk is scary or I’m not sure what to do first.    What if they fall or get hurt or they still can’t do it?”  Hopefully you see where I’m going with this.

At some point you have to just believe your kid can do it. 

Why should you have to stop believing your kid can do something and if they can’t who cares!  It may lead to them learning some other skill or developing a different way to do something.  If you’re wrong about it, what does it matter.  How is believing your kid will get a job someday and preparing for the job market different from the parent who thinks their extremely short kid will play in the NBA someday and consequently sends them to a lot of basketball camps.  That kid may never make it to the NBA or he might be a starting point guard for the Dallas Mavericks.  Why are high hopes only reserved for the neurotypicals? So try something out.  If that doesn’t work try again.  Try everything you know and then learn new things.  Failure is a part of mastery.

When people obtain success in a particular area it’s often due to the fact they were willing to fail longer and more spectacularly than their predecessors.  You don’t have to give up on a particular skill just because your child hasn’t achieved it yet.  The impossible happens everyday and sometimes it was always possible, we just never knew it until we tried.

– Courtney