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10 things I Want You to Know About My Autistic Child

Parenting is a beautiful journey, but it comes with unique challenges and rewards when your child is on the autism spectrum. Therefore, as a parent of an autistic child, there are several things I want you to understand about my child and the wonderful, yet sometimes challenging world of autism.

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1. Autism is a Spectrum, not a Monolith.

The first thing I want you to know is that autism is a spectrum. Just as no two neurotypical individuals are exactly alike, no two autistic individuals are the same either. Autism can manifest in a wide range of behaviours, communication styles, and sensory sensitivities. My child’s experience of autism is unique to them, so please don’t make assumptions or generalise based on stereotypes.

2. Neurodiversity can at times be a strength.

Autism is not always a deficit; it’s a different way of experiencing the world. I want you to know that my child’s neurodiversity can be a strength and should be harnessed and recognised. They bring a unique perspective and skills to the table that can be invaluable. Autistic individuals often possess exceptional attention to detail, creativity, and the ability to think outside the box. By embracing neurodiversity, we can create a more inclusive and enriched society.

Read More: 12 books on Autism and Neurodiversity that are a must read.

3. Communication Can Be a Challenge.

One of the most prominent characteristics of autism can be difficulty with communication. My autistic child might struggle with verbal communication or have difficulty understanding social cues. But it’s important to recognise that communication doesn’t solely revolve around spoken words. Many autistic individuals communicate effectively through alternative means, such as sign language, writing, or assistive technology. Patience and understanding can go a long way in facilitating meaningful interactions with my child.

4. My Child has Sensory Sensitivities that should be believed.

Sensory sensitivities are a hallmark of autism. My child may experience sensory overload in environments that seem perfectly fine to others. Bright lights, loud noises, or certain textures can be overwhelming. I ask for your support in creating sensory-friendly spaces and accommodating my child’s sensory needs when possible.

My child is not being difficult or making it up for attention.

5. Routine and Predictability Matters

For many autistic children, routine and predictability are essential for their comfort and well-being. Sudden changes or unexpected disruptions can be distressing. I want you to know that our family’s life often revolves around a well-established routine, and I appreciate your understanding when we need to stick to it.

Please do not challenge our choices and respect our need for routine and predictability.

6. My Autistic child has joyful Special Interests.

Numerous autistic individuals possess intense, specific interests that they are incredibly passionate about. These special interests can serve as a source of joy and motivation for my child. Moreover, they provide a means for my child to connect with the world and explore their unique talents. I wholeheartedly encourage you to engage with my child’s special interests as it can be a wonderful way to build rapport and contribute to their overall development

Also, please do not withhold my child’s particular interest as a form of punishment. Often it is the only way my child feels safe and connected.

7. Inclusion Matters.

Inclusive environments are crucial for the well-being and growth of autistic children. I hope you understand that my child benefits from being included in activities and social settings, just like any other child. Inclusion not only fosters social skills but also helps break down barriers and reduce stigma surrounding autism.

My child’s unique socialization and interaction style should not be mistaken for a lesser desire for inclusion. Just like neurotypical children, my child values inclusion, but they express it differently.

8. Advocacy is Essential.

As a parent, I am my child’s biggest advocate. I will continuously strive to ensure that my child has access to the resources and support they need. Furthermore, I hope you will join me in championing improved services, heightened awareness, and greater acceptance for autistic individuals. Collaboratively, we can work towards creating a more inclusive world, one that better accommodates my child and others like them.

9. We Need Understanding, Not Pity.

I don’t want pity; I want understanding. My child is not a tragedy, and their life is not defined by their autism. They have dreams, aspirations, and a bright future ahead. What we need is a community that acknowledges and respects our journey, rather than feeling sorry for us.

10. Love and Acceptance Are Universal.

Despite the challenges and differences, it is crucial to understand that, above all, both my child and all autistic children require love and acceptance. I want you to be aware that I love my child unconditionally, and I am grateful for your support and acceptance of them just as they are. Your kindness and your openness to learning about autism play a significant role in fostering a more inclusive and compassionate world.

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