Meagan Klaes is a mother of two MGA Colorado Springs patients, both diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In this Q+A she focuses on the positive activities and services that help her children thrive as well as the importance of a parent’s own self-care. Read on below and share with another parent you know this Autism Awareness Month.

“Focus on the present and the future. Do not dwell on the past. It doesn’t matter what other people think. All that matters is what’s best for your child. Sometimes people don’t understand autism, and that’s okay.”

What have you learned from raising a child with autism?

I have learned that every child with autism is different, no two are alike. I have learned that you can never have enough patience. I have learned to accept my children for who they are and not to beat myself up for things I cannot change. Focus on the present and the future. Do not dwell on the past. It doesn’t matter what other people think. All that matters is what’s best for your child. Sometimes people don’t understand autism, and that’s okay.

What has been the greatest (or one of the greatest) accomplishments you’ve had together?

One of the greatest accomplishments we’ve had together is being able to communicate with one another through basic sign language, words, and an Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device.

What activities do your children enjoy?

My children love water. They love water tables and swimming. They also enjoy making arts and crafts, painting, barbies and princesses. Both children also like going to the zoo and feeding the giraffes.

Which home care services have the most impact on your children’s quality of life?

It’s hard to say which home care services have the most impact because each child is different and every service they receive has had a positive impact on their quality of life. My advice is to take advantage of every service you can receive to help your child. Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy is a must which helps with behavior and communication as well as social skills.

What advice can you offer to other parents whose child has been newly diagnosed with autism?

My advice is to take everything one day at a time. Be patient and calm and don’t forget to take care of yourself so you can take care of your children. Respite care is a must. Don’t feel guilty. Most of all, remember that you are not alone. You’ve got this!