Things You Shouldn’t Say to a Parent Whose Child Has Autism
If your child has autism then you’re a walking target for friends, relatives and even strangers to offer unsolicited advice. You realize they have good intentions but it’s still a very hurtful experience.
With the desire to help, people offer discipline advice and parenting tips. Little do they know you’ve tried every trick in the book and a lot more they’ve never thought about. Here are some common errors that people make when talking to a parent whose child has autism.
YOU CAN LEAVE HIM BEHIND
You’re planning a trip to the amusement park. You’d love to go with your friend but you’re in a dilemma. Her typical kids love the amusement park but her child with autism seems to have a difficult time. So you come up with a solution. “Come with us to the amusement park” you tell her. “Your kids will love it. Well except for Tommy, but you can find something else for him to do that day.”
Inviting a family to join you, except for their child with autism is a very crushing experience to a parent. Your intentions might be good but that doesn’t make the experience less devastating. Parents that have children with autism desperately want their kids to be accepted in the community. Rise above the judgments of others and invite the whole family. If you feel that isn’t a viable option, leave your invite for another day when the whole family can be included.
Your grandchild has autism. You’re distraught that your children have such a rough road ahead of them. You’re devastated that your gorgeous grandchild is autistic and you want to help. Having already raised your own children you’ve learned a thing or two. You cringe as your daughter tells you about the therapy option she’s picked and the behavior management she has for her child. You give the gift of wisdom and let her know how she should do it differently.
Parenting a child with autism is totally different from raising a normal child. You have to live it to really understand. If you want to do something wonderful, be supportive to the parents. Give your love, follow through on their decisions and stand by their side. You will become a hero to parents who desperately need your acceptance and support.
To all the parents whose children have special needs, we commend and praise you! Your road is rocky, filled with joy and challenges. To everyone else, we stand in gratitude. Your love and support is immeasurable for parents and their special needs kids. Thank you for standing by their side.