A Guide of What NOT To Say To Parents of ASD Children

Having people comment on your children and their behaviour is tough at the best of times. As most parents will know, kids save their absolute best for the moments where you’re short on time, already have your hands full, or when there’s just enough people around to be considered “a crowd”. With that in mind, below are the best of the infuriating comments parents of ASD children hear far to often…

 

“He seems fine to me?”

 This is an intended compliment yet completely dismissive phrase. What people don’t realise is that the morning preceding this comment consisted of 6 changes of pants, 2 top changes, 2 meltdowns, an altercation with a piece of Lego that was in the wrong place and 3 attempts to enter the building because it was too loud. Oh and hey, we’ve been toilet training for 3 years…

 

“Perhaps he just needs more discipline…”

Autistic children are not sensory and phobia ridden by choice. There’s all sorts of misguided messages raging through their body misinforming them of what hurts and what’s too loud. My son is really struggling to wear shoes at the moment as he says they sting. It’s [email protected]^&*$% ANNOYING, but I’m not in his skin and I can see that when the shoes are on, he is in complete discomfort. Sure, I could insist that he wears the shoes and make threats if he doesn’t, but that’d make me an #$%&hole wouldn’t it?!

 

“Give him to me for 48 hours and I’ll sort him out!”

There are certain people with entrenched ideas of tough love being the best way to create a solid character. I can tell that these people believe that I am “enabling” my son’s behavior with my nurturing approach.

My response:

Okay then. How about you give me a list of every thing you’re struggling with or fearful of and I’ll make you do them. All of them. If you start crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.

Meh. Buy the tshirt at the top of this post. Wear it to their house.

 

“Stop worrying. He’ll turn out fine.”

Again, this comment has the best intentions yet is completely incorrect.  4 years ago my son was a stimming, rocking, non-verbal little puddle who’s trajectory was looking very scary. I quit work. I spent every hour I could sabotaging his desire to avoid and retreat. I nodded his head with my hands. Manipulated his hands into a point. Repeated words hundreds of times a day. Changed his diet. I did all of this while you sat back with a cappuccino in hand and watched your child develop these skills naturally. Yes, he’s developing into a lovely little kid but unfortunately, I was forced to worry.

 

Finally, a positive one… “They will surprise you!”

This comment is the comment that I love the most as it’s come from parents of autistic children and thank heavens… Better yet, it’s true!

Teddy continuously surprises us with comments or achievements we thought were beyond him. Sometimes they’re beyond your typical child. Teddy’s first word was him reading a number plate at 20 months. Beat that typical kids. Teddy is no genius (or is he?) but his intelligence certainly works in mysterious ways. It’s not just Teddy. I hear this ALL THE TIME.

So yes. Buy the tshirt. Keep being your child’s champion and ignore anything that doesn’t benefit you or your child.

 

Nikki will be contributing a number of these brilliant stories over the coming months. If you’d like to keep an eye on the day to day adventures we recommend following her on Facebook and Instagram.