Autism parents are often in a league of their own, one that isn't easily understood by those not in it. Here's a list of a few things autism parents would like to say to their friends, but don't.
1. Autism isn’t always the same.
Autism is a spectrum. Each autistic person is as unique as their finger print. It’s not always helpful or encouraging to hear about others who are also autistic, their situation could be very different from our own.
2. Autism looks different for each individual.
Autism is different for every person. Sometimes it’s very noticeable and sometimes it’s not noticeable at all. Please don’t judge my child if they seem much better or much worse than another autistic child you know.
3. Non-verbal doesn’t mean my child doesn’t communicate.
The world just isn’t used to anyone being non-verbal and most aren’t sure what to do when verbal communication isn’t an option. But that doesn’t mean that my non-verbal child doesn’t communicate, it simply means we have to listen and pay attention more closely.
4. Getting a babysitter is hard, if not impossible.
I can’t just leave my autistic child with anyone, there is a short list of people who can handle their care and an even shorter list of people I can simply pay for it. That means even with advance planning, I might not be able to make it work, and last minute, exciting plans that require a babysitter? Forget it. Please just be understanding of this and know it’s not an excuse, and I wish it were different.
5. Discipline isn’t the answer.
All the discipline in the world won’t make my child not autistic. It’s part of who they are, and I love and accept them for who they are...all of them.
6. It’s not about finding a cure.
Autism isn’t a disease to be cured, it’s a condition to be managed. Through hard work and a lot of understanding and patience, my child can learn to be part of the world in their own way.
7. Awareness is great, acceptance is better.
Yes, we need more people to be aware of autism and what it really is and isn’t, but what I really need is my friends, like you, to accept my child for who they are and accept our family the way it is. No questions, no opinions, just acceptance.
8. Meltdowns happen.
Please don’t make a big deal about them. It isn’t about doing everything right, they will happen. Your understanding of this means the world to me.
9. My child wants to be included. (and so do I)
Even if we don’t make it to most gatherings and get-togethers, please still invite us. We want to be there and knowing that we are welcome makes up for all the times we simply can’t make it work.
10. Autism is only a part of who my child is.
Look past my child’s autism and see what an amazing person they are! There’s so much more there and I promise you’ll be blessed if you get to know them.
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