Ten Things I Now Know about Raising an Autistic Child

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Niki, Community and Family Coordinator at CTN, shares what she has learned a decade after her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).


  1. The diagnosis didn’t change my child - it gave me a way to understand them better.
  2. Autism isn’t a tragedy, a burden or a consequence - it’s another way of experiencing the world (check out this amazing video to see what I mean).
  3. Raising a child (autistic or not) is a marathon, not a sprint - so pace yourself.
  4. Do not attach your happiness to your child achieving any specific goal. Instead, make your child’s happiness the goal.
  5. Certain therapies may help your child develop skills, but therapy isn’t everything. Do not go broke over therapy interventions.
  6. How you feel as a parent about your child’s diagnosis will have a great impact on how they feel about themselves - so being comfortable and accepting of it is essential.
  7. Being autistic doesn’t mean your child won’t drive, get married or go to college - it also doesn’t mean they will. Try not to get stuck in those “what ifs” of the distant future.
  8. Pick your battles and master the art of negotiation - whether it is with your child or with the school team.
  9. No one is going to do it all for you - there are agencies and people to support you on this journey, but ultimately you will need to figure out what your child needs. Listen to THEM and include them on decisions whenever possible.
  10. You need a break too! There’s no medal for going 597 days without one. Take a break whenever you can and remember that you can’t help anyone if you’re physically, mentally and emotionally drained. So BE KIND to yourself, you matter too!

Niki Huxtable, Community and Family Coordinator at CTN and Mama who changed her perspective from awareness to acceptance and hasn’t looked back.