I started thinking yesterday about a lot of things that have gone through my mind in the last four years of my son’s life.
***There is still a lot of misconceptions in the world regarding autism.***
Many times people who have seen the dreaded movie Rainman believe that all of our kids have some amazing skill that no one else can do. Well the truth is there are very few children on the spectrum with those amazing skills and my son just isn’t one of them! He isn’t going to find a way to end world hunger in the next year, he can’t count cards (so nope we aren’t going to win big at some Vegas casino) , and he hasn’t been accepted to Harvard for his amazing ability to line up his legos. We are still waiting on that last one though 😉
I have found that people tend to hide their well intended advice behind the disguise of a question. This really PISSES me off! I love educating people about autism and how it changed my family. What I do not love is some one using that question to tell me what I should be doing to change the outcome of my child’s meltdown or learning style. Here is an example: Do all kids with autism have an obsession with one thing? me: Not all, but the vast majority. It is part of the diagnosing criteria to have limited and restrictive interests. Person: Well you need to use your child’s interest and make that his calm down technique. Me: Thank you! (said as nicely as I can possibly manage). Here is what I am really thinking: Wow, you are going to tell me that from one part of a small conversation you have figured out an end all solution to the kid’s meltdowns. You should win a huge reward for that (heavy on the sarcasm.)
The truth is I know the person is trying to be helpful, I really do. I think I have just lost a little bit of my patience when it comes to people telling me what I should do with my kid. I have tried the interest, however said interest happened to be thrown at my head when I first tried that. Legos hurt for being such little things lol.
If I could tell people just one thing about life as an autism parent it would be this, If you have thought of something because of the movie rainman please don’t say it out loud. If you have thought of something that seems really simple to fix the “problem” chances are we have already tried it. If we are cranky and bitchy and antisocial don’t take it the wrong way. We have probably just spent the better half of the day in therapy or fighting with schools or doctors to get our children what they need to succeed. See we want the same things are you do for your own children, we just have to fight harder for them.
The next time you talk to an autism parent, the best thing you can do for them is to find one improvement you see in their child and celebrate it with them. That’s what we need more than anything else. If it is a person you don’t know and you want to ask questions by all means do so, I am sure most of us want to spread awareness and educate those around us. Just make sure you are asking for the sake of asking and not hiding a parenting tip somewhere in there.