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Striving for independence – a little bit at a time


It’s something we all strive for in our children, isn’t it? Independence.

From the moment they’re born, we’re waiting for those milestones: an ability to support the head; rolling over; crawling; walking and then more and more achieved as they get older.

Before you know it, they’re dressing themselves, reading and writing and having more opinions about what they like and don’t.

When parenting a special needs child (as I am, twice over), the independence question becomes more pronounced. Will D be able to live an independent life, whether by herself or in sheltered accommodation? Will she be able to just hop onto a bus into town and go shopping for an outfit? I don’t know the answer to either of those questions, but I veer towards a “no” unless she is able to manage her anxieties better with maturity.

But sometimes there is a little glimmer of light. This week it’s happened twice.

The first was at school, in Phonics. D has always found sounding out words difficult, preferring instead to memorise words but in her lesson, she really engaged and was extremely speedy. Working by herself and enjoying it so much that she came home with quite a few “well done” and “good work” stickers on her top. She also received a certificate.


The next was crafting, D absolutely loves crafting and will fashion all sorts of little bits and pieces out of blu tack/material and pipe cleaners. We bought an arts and crafts magazine in the week for her and she was very quickly reading it, eager to try out the crafting.

The finished craft articles soon followed, D had read the instructions independently, got the bits she needed and made them.  With one exception, she finds glue a bit messy so had used Sellotape. An independent decision and one that works for her.

So, whilst I have no idea of how D will “fit” – if that is the right word – into society when she’s older, she’s gaining a little bit of independence at her own pace and that is extremely positive.


How do you encourage your child to strive for independence? Share your thoughts with us below.

Image Source: Creative Commons / Florida Photo Guy

Sometimes I feel like a brand but I'm me, a commuting career woman in a previous "life", now a stay-at-home Mumma to two wonderful children, who just happen to have autism too. One at each end of the spectrum, one diagnosed at 4.5 years old and the other, very recently at 10.5 years. I blog to raise awareness and acceptance of autism for them and everyone connected with the autistic spectrum (there's an ever-growing number of us!) Very humbled to have been shortlisted in the Brilliance In Blogging awards for my website. That would be me, @AutismMumma aka Jeannette

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