We hear so many different things from people because we’re raising a child on the Autism Spectrum.
What do you say to a mom whose child is throwing the most impressive tantrum you’ve ever seen, in the middle of the grocery store, and he’s 15? Or what do you say when a seemingly “normal” kid you’ve just met seems to be seeking out much younger kids to play with, or won’t answer simple questions, or is acting strangely? Her lack of eye contact seems suspicious; what’s she up to?
We hear thoughtful, kind remarks almost as often as we hear hurtful, insensitive judgments on our parenting skills or our child’s mental capacity.
We overhear “Yeah that kid’s really weird!” just as often as we hear “He’s such a nice boy! I don’t see anything wrong with him. I just think you baby him too much.”
Invisible disabilities are still disabilities.
They don’t warrant judgments and unkind comments any more than a child with Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy does. If you have questions about Autism, or about raising a kid like mine, all you need to do is ask. I have thick skin. I’m used to answering questions.
I would much prefer to have a gentle, honest conversation with someone than witness harsh judgments and preconceived ideas directed at my child. Please ask, and be prepared for an education because really, that’s what every Autism Momma eventually learns to do. We’ll tell you about our kids, so that you will know and understand and have compassion on someone else’s baby, someone else’s puzzle piece child and her frazzled mother.
Often, the best thing you can say to an exhausted Autism Momma is “Is there any way I can lend a hand to help you out right now?” Just the offer—the thought—really does count. It brings the goodness in humanity to our immediate vision and reminds us for a moment that we aren’t alone in this.
The best thing to say is something kind.
What types of remarks have you overheard or had spoken to you, about your child? How did you handle it?