It Doesn’t Work That Way — Things Not To Say To Parents Of Kids With Autism
“HE’LL GROW OUT OF IT.”
“THERE’S THIS STRATEGY THAT ONE OF MY FRIENDS USED, AND NOW HIS KID IS DOING REALLY WELL.”
Just because you know that someone else’s kid’s autism “miraculously” disappeared by following a certain program, it doesn’t mean that it will do wonders for our child, and for everyone else. It doesn’t work that way. Autistic children fall under different levels (that’s why it’s called ASD–Autism Spectrum Disorder). Some kids may be high-functioning, with impairment in social and communication skills, some other would not talk, nor look at your face at all when you talk to them. A program that may have worked for high-functioning autism, will not work on low-functioning autism. I mean, they are already different. And among these “different” children, they are also different from each other. No two persons are alike (in looks, preferences, etc), even identical twins.
“HE LOOKS NORMAL./BUT HE TALKS..”
Because he is. He’s like any other kid. Autism is a “different” kind of normal. You see, according to Google search, normal means “conforming to a standard; usual, typical, or expected.”. What’s that “standard” that you think my son needs to conform to? All I know is that he’s a child, like your child, his, her child and everyone else’s child.
“OH, YOU CAN CHECK THIS/THAT BOOK/WEBSITE..”
Like the first point I raised, this is almost the same thing. Books and other resources help open “eyes” about various characteristics, as well giving tips on handling. They give general ideas but don’t necessarily target specific needs per individual. Plus, when I and my husband learned about our son’s condition, we tried to read up as much as we can, so yeah. Thanks, but no, thanks. We might have read way more than you did. We’ve also consulted several specialists and it would be an insult to their years of studying this field and experience if a book can “replace” them.
“YOU MIGHT BE GIVING EVERYTHING TO HIM (READ: SPOILED)”
This would probably be the most annoying thing that an autism parent has to hear. While an outburst may look like ” temper tantrums ” to you, to us parents or carers it is “meltdowns”. One has to understand the difference to know which of the two you are witnessing. For the kids without autism, they throw temper tantrums due to frustrations out of things they were unable to achieve ie cannot get the toy they want, don’t like to obey what they’ve been told, etc. Meltdowns, on the other hand, are due to sensory overload; there’s information/sensation that’s too much for individual to handle. It may look like a tantrum as there would be crying, yelling, etc. But it’s different.
Please keep in mind that kids with autism do not throw temper tantrums; they are easily overwhelmed and they tend to go on meltdown when it happens. It’s not because they lack discipline. It’s the way their feelings/minds work to cope with the overwhelming situations they are in.
With that being said, I’d like you to understand that having a child with autism is already a challenge. Please cut us some slack and help us make things a bit easier.
Don’t be, because,as his parents, we’re not. It’s not anybody’s fault that he has autism. The least that we need is pity. Having a unique kid isn’t something to be sorry about. It may look like it’s a sorry situation to you, but we’re doing all that we can to make the best out of everything we have on our plate. It is difficult but we’re happy with what we do and the joy that our son brings, so, again, no thanks. We don’t really want those apologetic looks, as if it’s the end of the world for us. It doesn’t really work that way.
AND SOME OTHERS..
We’ve heard a lot and I know other autism-oriented blogs out there has voiced them out. Children with autism, together with their parents/carers, are also people. We have feelings, just like everyone else. We get hurt, we get offended. Just like you, when someone says you’re fat, or when someone says you’re too thin. Different words but same effect, right?