Parenting advice from friends and family is hard enough to listen to without adding the Special Needs component into play. Even though these things are said without intent to hurt, it still does not feel good! I use to bite my tongue so much, I caused cuts in my mouth.
I used to worry only about upsetting those who were asking and not hurting their feelings, then realized, that they were hurting mine.
Now, I speak up. Sometimes with more finesse than others.
Here is a list of some of the ones that stand out the most. I added my thoughts on what they could have said underneath it.
1. ” Have you tried a time out to stop that behavior?”
Is this a behavior that you find happening a lot with him? Is there anything I can do?
2. “Why doesn’t look like he has Autism?”
It must be a struggle sometimes that you can’t always tell that he has Autism”
3. “Isn’t he able to cut his own food?”
Is there anything I can do to help?
4. “Was it from a vaccine?”
I cannot even come up with one for this
5. “Can you take him out in public?”
Are there things you may have to do when planning an outing? Anything I can do to help?
6. “Do your friends ever invite you over without him?”
Would you like to come over with your son for coffee?
7. “They say you never get more than you can handle, so you must be doing ok”
I am sure some days are harder than others, anything I can do?
8. “Will he ever be able to get a job?”
I hope things continue to advance and more opportunities come his way
RECURRING THEME- IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO HELP? Those are the magic words right? I debated going the sarcastic route of replies, that may be down the road!
I have to be honest, writing this ignited some strong feelings. I was very easily brought back to the place and time each each was said. I realized in writing this, that I have come a long way, I also realized that a few that have chosen to stick by me during this journey, have gained the beauty of knowing me, my son and family. And, you know what else- they are the lucky ones ! I will not tell you this has been easy or that it I believe it will get easier, but I can promise you that when you empower yourself to be in control of who we let into our lives as well as give ourselves the right to answer these questions with our direct honesty, we will be a stronger community of parents. We also will be educating so many around us!
Are there any questions or responses you would like to share that you have encountered? I would love to hear them.