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Honor Yourself on Your Special Day

Denise Bianchi is an employee for Autism Speaks, assisting the Family Services Department for the Northeast Region, as well as the Communications and Marketing Departments. She is the mother of two children, Danielle, 18, and Andrew 13, who has autism. She and her family reside in Staten Island, NY.

There are many things parents can do to help children with autism overcome their challenges. But it's also important to make sure you get the support you need. When you're looking after a child with autism, taking care of yourself is not an act of selfishness–it's a necessity. Being emotionally strong allows you to be the best parent you can be to your child in need. These parenting tips can help by making life with an autistic child easier. If you've recently learned that your child has or might have an autism spectrum disorder, you're probably wondering and worrying about what comes next. No parent is ever prepared to hear that a child is anything other than happy and healthy, and a diagnosis of autism can be particularly frightening. You may be unsure about how to best help your child or confused by conflicting treatment advice.

While it is true that autism is not something a person simply "grows out of," there are many treatments that can help children learn new skills and overcome a wide variety of developmental challenges. With the right treatment plan, and a lot of love and support, your child can learn, grow, and thrive. Dee Ocleppo-Hilfiger understands the challenges mothers like me and many other moms of children with autism face. She has shown great courage in standing up and talking about it. She had made a generous donation of handbags to Autism Speaks – 100% of the sale of these bags will go to fund Autism Speaks critical mission; supporting the services and tools that mothers of newly diagnosed children will need.

Caring for a child with an autism spectrum disorder can demand a lot of energy and time. There may be days when you feel overwhelmed, stressed, or discouraged. Parenting isn’t ever easy, and raising a child with special needs is even more challenging. In order to be the best parent you can be, it’s essential that you take care of yourself.

Give your mother – or any woman in your life – something meaningful while helping to support Autism Speaks mission. This Mother’s Day, visit the Autism Speaks eStore to purchase a Dee Ocleppo handbag with 100% of proceeds benefitting our cause. Use code Moms4Moms for free shipping on your entire order – offer ends May 12.

The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.