I believed many things about the world and figured that everything would be exactly as I desired. I believed money grew on trees (not literally, but I thought money was free and endless). I believed that other people should do as I saw fit. I believed I was right and everyone else was wrong. I believed women should come up to me and tell me they had feelings for me. Heck, I even believed that it wasn't my duty to find a girlfriend and someone should look for her and introduce me to her. If you want something done do it yourself.
In the tenth grade, I believed that if I wanted to become the President of the United States, then I could so just as easily as snapping my fingers. According to my mom I was living in a fantasyland with unrealistic expectations of how the world worked.
Since then, I have found there are other parents who feel their child with autism is very much out of touch with reality. For instance, one parent told me that they have a child that believes they will just become a billionaire one day without doing any bit of work. This person apparently spends most of the day playing video games or doing what appears to be nothing. To my mom, there were many times where it appeared I was doing nothing, but to me, I was doing very important work. What that is, I no longer remember since that was a few years ago.
So, as a parent, what do you do if your child seems to have a belief about the world that seems impossible. What do you do if your child believe they will become President, become a billionaire, a top-billed actor, or whatever notion they have that you feel is crazy. Many parents tell me they have children with these fancy ideas, but they just don't see how their child can ever achieve the goals they have set for themselves. It seems impossible.
First, almost all of us with autism have social difficulties. So, if we are afraid to talk to people then how can we become the President or a great actor or whatever? The truth is that while I do believe that some of our ideas may sound crazy, I don't ever believe anything is 100% impossible. If you have a child that wants to become the President someday then perhaps you should encourage him or her. By doing so, you might help your child develop social skills and other life skills. Yes, your child may never get elected to office, but that doesn't mean your child won't grow from the experience. I know this personally from having run for City Council myself. Unfortunately, my parents laughed at my plans for someday running for President. I don't know why because one grows a great deal from going out of their comfort zone.
So, let's take the President example. One way you can encourage your child is by taking them to political rallies. Tell them to notice what the candidates do. Have your child take note of how the candidate is smiling and socializing with other people. Tell your child that if they want to run for office someday they will need to do the same. If the child really wants it, they will do whatever it takes to make that dream come real and to your surprise you will see your child putting himself or herself in the public spotlight.
Don't squash an idea because it sounds crazy. That idea that you just squashed may have been the answer to helping your child one day make friends and overcome many of the issues associated with autism.
But, what if your child feels like money grows on trees and feel as if that they will just become a billionaire? Then what? You just can't allow your child to sit on their butt all day doing nothing? My suggestion is to do some research on the richest people in the world. Some went to college. Some didn't. So, if you are trying to get your child to attend college, using making money as an excuse might not work. If your child is very smart, they will just quote that the economy isn't doing so well and college graduates are having as tough of a time as anyone else when it comes to finding work. Or, your child will tell you that college simply can't teach you how to become a billionaire. Which is most likely true because if it could, I am very certain many people would enroll in the "How to Become a Billionaire" course.
So, you do your research. You show it to your child and tell your child that every billionaire had to do some level of work. They either founded a company like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg or somehow became a CEO for a leading company. So, perhaps you can encourage your child to create their own business and see how that goes. I don't know the best answer to tell you the truth. Perhaps, you can find out who their role models are and explain the work that they had to do to get where they are now and the work that they now do.
With that said, many of us on the autism spectrum might have what appears to be unrealistic beliefs and expectations for the world. But, the truth is that if our goals and beliefs are encouraged, while we may never attain these goals, we may end up growing and evolving as individuals. Our lives might be much better because of the encouragement. I believe that if we are not encouraged to do what we want, then we will just become stagnant. I believe having people tell us that we can't achieve our dreams might even be a contributing factor to social impairment later in life. I sure felt less like socializing when my mom told me she couldn't do anything.
My mom often told me to get a check on reality because she didn't want me to be disappointed when I ended up failing at my objectives, but in all do honesty, I felt like this was a mistake on her part. I feel like when she spoke those words she only stopped me from growing. Perhaps, I would have never achieved my goals to the fullest extent, but I would have achieved something and grew as an individual as result. Nonetheless, I am a very stubborn person. In the seventh grade I decided I was going to become a writer. That is one goal I have now achieved. I have to my satisfaction finished my first book and now I am looking to getting it published. I am grateful that I did not allow other people's beliefs about what I could and could not achieve stop from writing my book.
I encourage you to encourage your child. I thank you for reading today's blog and wish you a most awesome day of awesomeness. :)