The Value of a Parent Mentoring Chain

Okay, I admit it.  My normally sunny, positive disposition occasionally suffers (spirals?) into an abyss of self-doubt, despair and worry.  When I get that way,  I have a gift I can rely on time and time again… I’ve learned the value of a parent mentoring chain.

Being a parent mentor is a blessing.  It gives me the chance to let other mothers vent, rant and talk about things that they couldn’t with anyone else but a mom who has been in their shoes. Mentoring also helps me realize where I’ve been, and how far I have come as a mother and as an advocate.  It helps me comprehend what incredible strides my son has made over the years, and I am grateful for the terrifically brave little kid he is. Equally important, being a parent mentor helps me honor the moms and dads who have come before me–who slogged through indifference, prejudice and low expectations to raise confident, successful children–and who shaped an environment that, although isn’t perfect, is miles ahead of where it was a mere decade ago.

And, although being a parent mentor helps me feel strong, being a mentoree helps me get stronger.  My mentor helps me the same way I help others — by providing a sympathetic ear and lots and lots of good suggestions.  I see how her children, two years older than mine, are doing better than I would otherwise have hoped for my little guy.  And so I know that my son has great things to look forward to. My mentors are also some of the outstanding men and women I’ve met through Twitter, social networking and visitors to Autism is Not the Boss (Elise and Grace, that’s you).

So, dear parents, start a parent mentor chain. Get a mentor. Be a mentor.  To get started,  check out your local autism centers, ARC offices (the ARC is becoming more and more involved in autism issues) and family support organizations to ask how to become involved in parent mentoring.

Original post: Autism is not the