THINGS PARENTS OF AUTISTIC CHILDREN WISH YOU UNDERSTOOD
- •Just because they are autistic does not mean they are incapable of loveThey're not robots. They feel love and happiness and every other emotion even if the way they express it is different than the norm.
- •"Autist" = a person with autism. It shouldn't be used any other way.I often hear teens calling each other "autists" as a degradation (see also, "retard"). It's grossly wrong.
- •Stimming aka self-stimulationIf you see someone flapping their hands in front of their face DO NOT STOP AND FUCKING STARE. It may seem odd to you, but they are trying to make sense of their surroundings. Autistic children often stim to calm themselves down because they interpret stimuli differently. New and/or different environments can be stressful and you gawking and asking if they are "Ok" isn't helpful. Just move along.
- •More on StimmingDo you click your pen? Tap your foot? Shake your leg? Play with your wedding band? YOU'RE STIMMING. children often have more primitive stims that aren't as "socially acceptable" common stims are sleeve/clothing chewing, spinning, humming, shrieking, grunting, repetitive language, rocking, staring at lights...the list goes on and on.
- •"If you know one child with autism, then you know one child with autism"They are all incredibly different. This doesn't mean you need to treat them differently, but it does mean you should have reasonable expectations. Some kids are hyposensitive - constantly seeking sensory input or hypersensitive and can not stand the feeling of clothing on their skin. Some children are completely non-verbal and others are chatter boxes. It's "spectrum" for a reason.
- •Try to be empathetic.Parenting a child with any disability is hard. A little empathy for a parent rushing through a grocery store with a tantruming child goes a long way.