Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Things that Should & Should Not Be Said - to an Autism Parent

This morning I am having a wobble. I feel very low and quite fragile and not my usual 'I can take on the world' self.

This is because last night someone 'close' to me said some very thoughtless things.

It's not easy being a parent, by and large we are doing our best, love our kids, keep them safe and make sacrifices for their well being. So if that description fits you, whatever your style of parenting, let me offer you a High 5! You're great. What you're doing is awesome. Whether you feel like you're failing some or all of the time, you're not. You are doing enough. You are enough.

If you are a SEN parent, let me offer you a High 10. Because it's harder. Fact.
That's not a judgement on any parenting, it just is a fact. They are called Special Needs for a reason - that reason is that our children have extra needs beyond another child their age. Fact.

So this leads me nicely in to what I want to talk about today. Things that Should and Should Not be said - to an Autism parent.

Things you Should Not say -

1. All kids have Special Needs

No, in point of fact they don't. By definition, the needs of a special needs child are greater than those of a neurotypical child (in the same situation).

2. I'm Sorry

Why are you sorry? I'm not sorry. Don't be sorry. They are not terminally ill, they simply have a different neurological pathway is all. No apology necessary thank you. They are different, not less.

3. Shame

Ok now just **** right off!
It's not a shame. Your ignorance and judgementalism are a shame. Their Autism is not.

4. Did you vaccinate them?

Sadly there isn't a vaccine against abject ignorance! But whether or not I vaccinated them against MMR or otherwise is not in question. Neither are my parenting skills, whether I breastfed and so on. So don't ask - ever.

5. We're all a little bit on the spectrum

No, we're not. Anymore than we are all a little bit allergic to nuts, or a little bit wheelchair bound. We are or we aren't. Sure there are degrees of severity within the spectrum  (that's why they called it a spectrum) but no we are not all on it.

6. Do you get any/ enough support?

There are many, many long answers to this question but the resounding short answer is No. However, we are open to offers any time.....

Things you Should say (as often as you can) -

1. Can I help?

Throw this one around with gay abandon. And mean it. Be prepared to follow that through - however menial a task, you'd be amazed what little act of kindness might help.

2. Your kid/s are awesome

Who doesn't want to hear this?

3. You're doing great

Because, again, who doesn't want to hear this?

And yeah, that's it basically. Just be kind. Don't judge. Don't recommend books, treatments, mention a programme you saw on BBC 6 months ago or a radio phone in discussion you heard. Don't question diagnosis or offer parenting advice.

Listen. Be kind. And be there.

That's what we need.

Please x

1 comment:

  1. A really useful and informative post. And being kind is the best advice - it makes all the difference doesn't it? Thanks for being our #blogershowcase and for joining us at #PoCoLo