I read an article this morning on BBC news this morning which suggested that “Super-parenting’ improves children’s autism…even in severe cases. Here’s there link if you’re interested – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-37729095
The article suggests that parents need tips from professionals to ‘teach them’ how to interact on an ‘exceptional level’ with their own child. However our experience has been very different! Toby at the age of 5 has never spoken a word in his life….he didn’t even babble as a baby yet Speech and Language Therapy have discharged him as he gets ‘all of the input that he needs at home and school.’
Toby was diagnosed at the age of 2 and as parents we did everything possible to ensure he had all of the early intervention possible. We watched videos on Intensive Interaction Therapy, we referred him to Autism specialists, Portage, Speech and Language and we even paid privately for an Occupational Therapist at one point to work one-to-one with him. We even got Toby into a special school full-time (rather than just 15 hours a week) at the age of 3. We were desperate to find any way possible to get through to him and help him develop. Not forgetting that Joel and I were ‘professionals’ ourselves having worked with children with autism and Joel still currently working as a teacher in a special school…teaching children with autism. He really did have every possible early intervention.
But the reality is that none of it worked. He refused to do any of the activities that Speech and Language or Portage wanted him to do…in fact he used to just go and hide whenever they came round. He still doesn’t play and so entering into his world is challenging and every single activity that we have tried to do at home hasn’t worked. We have asked and asked for advice, strategies and help to support him to make progress but the reality is no-one really knows how to help him as we’ve tired everything.
If you look at the data in the article, the studies show that ‘super-parenting’ does improve in about 20% percentage of cases which is great news for those families but it doesn’t work for everyone. I’m not keen in calling it ‘super-parenting’ as it implies that if a child makes progress it’s because you’re doing a great job…and the opposite too. In my experience all of the families that I meet on a day to day basis would do anything to help their child grow and progress and they are Super-parents and are doing incredible jobs. Do all of these children make progress? Absolutely not…but that doesn’t make the parents any less amazing! Because raising a child with any kind of additional need is hard work and does take real super-parenting!!