Ten Things Never to Say to a Family with a Child with Autism
How Much Do You Know About Autism?
Your Word Can Help These Children
10 Things to Never Say to a Child and their Parent with Autism
On most occasions I am a pretty reasonable person until someone picks on my son who is both medically fragile and Autistic. It has been worse lately as I have become the Rosa Parcs of Autism and refuse to have my son discriminated against. There are many times my son would gladly prefer metaphorically to sit at the back of the bus just because he is that kind. But I tell him he has the right to be treated kindly and with respect. And where he use to shrink back and not want me to stand up for his rights he now is very accustom to it.
Now days when we are verbally assaulted with bigotry and ignorance, usually by the evangelical Christian, my son just runs for cover and feels very sorry for the stupid person who has made such an ignorant bigoted comment to him which I have overheard. It seems like the evangelicals couldn’t do in the Muslims so now they have an axe to grinned with children with Autism. This is not true for all Christians. I am very close to people who are evangelical Christian who are not ignorant and bigoted about Autism probably because they have children with Autism in their family.
It is the use of religion to offend a disabled child and his Mother which is so upsetting. The worst part is I have taught my son to love everyone. People ask him if he wants to be Barack Obama and he smiles. He loves Barack. I keep reminding my son he is a Republican but he doesn’t care. I also remind him of the lack of policy for children with Autism by Barack and that Barack may not love him. My son believes in Barack Obama.
So I thought I would write this article about what not to say no matter how much you feel like it based on our experiences dealing with the bigoted ignorant public. I actually met an Aussie who was a Buddhist. He is wonderful to my son. His mind was blown away by the insults we have to endure each and everyday.
10 Things Never to Say to a Family with a Child With Autism
Number 10. I know what you are going through I have an autistic neighbor.
Wrong!!! If you know one autistic child that is it you know one child with Autism. No two children with Autism are a like
Number 9. He is retarded.
Wrong again!! Children with Autism have socialization and communication impairments and there is no normative IQ test for children with Autism. So until the Autism is resolved cognitive functioning can’t be determined. The word retarded is also exceptionally politically incorrect.
Number 8. You should stick him in an institution. You are a horrible parent for not institutionalizing him.
Wrong!!! The government is moving away from institutionalization as they will not pay for it. . That is a highly personal decision which a parent has to arrive at when they come to the conclusion they can no longer care for their child. This is a process and no one should judge another parent.
Number 7. It is your Karma/ It is Gift From God.
Wrong!!! There is a biochemical cause that has not been yet. It has absolutely nothing to do with Karma but in all probability genetics and harmful toxins in the environment.
Number 6. What is wrong with him?
Wrong thing to say again!! Although children with Autism have limited socialization and expressive communication the majority of them understand everything you are saying. If this flies out of your mouth the question you should be asking yourself is what is wrong with you?
Number 5 . My kids will catch what your son has.
Wrong thing to say!! And I am quick witted so it is so hard for me not to answer. “No, your children just need a new parent.”. Autism isn’t contagious. What is going on with the government dealing with Autism reminds me so much of how the government responded to the AIDS crisis in the 1980(s). They are ignoring it. They are not even providing public awareness so there is some compassion. It is a shame.
Number 4 . Autism only happens to single Moms.
Wrong!! The majority of marriages split up because of the stress and lack of social supports. I think the divorce rate is somewhere around 85% for parents of children with Autism. The Mom’s were not single to begin with but ended up that way because of a lack of social support. Father’s in general usually leave the child with the Mother as she has been the primary care giver for the child’s life. This is not a hard fast rule because for Mom I meet, I meet a single Dad in the exact same situation. Raising a child with a disability is incredibly hard work. Perhaps if the public could show some compassion it would be helpful. I would also like to add there are many adoptive parents with children with Autism as well as foster parents.
Number 3. You caused your child to have Autism.
Wrong!! This one makes me want to kill. No one can induce autism even in a lad in rats. The average ordinary person would not have the capabilities of causing Autism. I always want to say to this, “I can deal with Autism but it is the public’s ignorance that is killing me.”. I am also a scientist and a researcher. The majority of people I know who have children with Autism have at least a Master’s degree. Most of us didn’t even have coffee or caffeine during our pregnancy because we realize that caffeine crosses the placenta. This is the second most ignorant thing I have ever heard in my life.
Number 2 . Your child is choosing not to speak. He is what is known as a selective mute.
Wrong again!! Selective mutes have language and the choose not to speak. Since my son’s Autism was infantile he never fully developed language. Besides wouldn’t someone have to get him to answer, “I am choosing to be a selective mute.”. People are so insensitive in this country.
Number 1 . God has Damned Him and When he can Beg Jesus for Forgiveness he will be healed.
So Wrong!! First this is a completely ignorant and inappropriate thing to say on so many levels it is unbelievable. Honestly I wished I had a baseball bat because I would have beaten these people to death for saying this in the middle of Starbucks. My son was fine about it. He knows who he is and most of all he knows his Mom will go to war for him. When this was said he got in the car and locked himself in and just sat and rocked waiting for me to get them. Sadly, I am not a violent person. I don’t own a baseball bat. So I just took down the tag of the car and report those people as religious fanatics to the cops. What was amazing is that the guy sitting next to me through this entire thing had a child with special needs. He was so glad I spoke up. A lot of parents endure this hardship silently. Not me. And besides if Jesus could do anything he would have healed the bigoted hearts of evangelicals who say such horrible things.
What It Is Like From a Person With Autism
What We Do Know
I have a great deal of expertise in this field as I am a researcher in it. We have not been able to track down the cause of autism. There are many theories but nothing has been proven as of yet. In dealing with people who are functioning adults who have autism they like to think of it as a gift and they often show delusion thinking in idealizing their autism. One person even told me people with Autism were from another planet. As a scientist, researcher and parent of a child with autism, I had to explain that my child was born here on Earth and from my womb. It is not a gist from anyone. Although there is a clarity of thought which Autistic people seem to have. And while they believe genes play a factor in Autism it is not proven either. Most parents I meet with children with Autism are exceptionally educated and very bright. Most are white although there are some children who are African American and clearly autistic. While it is not contagious it is growing exponentially.
Autism is classified as a communication disorder not a mental health issue. As a matter of fact a lot of children diagnosed with ADHD who do not respond to medication are often discovered to have Autism. ADHD and Autism are very similar diseases and are often mistaken for each other.
And children with Autism can be taught. They respond very well to behavioral therapies perhaps because operant conditioning is not contingent up language. Behavior analysts can always find away around language to teach. Hollywood has not done any favors to the community of Autism and TempleGrandin is not their shaman. It is wonderful what TempleGrandin has done with her life but she is not the be all end all for Autism. First she represents a very small population of people with Autism and not everyone. I specialize in working with non-verbal or limited verbal children. TempleGrandin clearly does not fit into this category. Autism is too big a problem for one person or any one group of people to deal with individually.
But it has to start with public education. The parents of these children have a hard enough life without deal with the ignorance of the general public. And public awareness begins with the government stepping in and educating the public. I cancelled my cable after Claire Danes starred in that movie about TempleGrandin. We haven’t had TV since. I felt it was counter productive for my son to see negative stereo types of people with Autism and while we were doing research for interventions for none verbal children with Autism.
But it begins with public education. Families of children with Autism are just like any family. They are struggling to get by and loving each other each and everyday. A child with autism is a child first and should be respected and treated with humanity as all children should be. This is simply accomplished by assuming the child understands what you are saying and minding your words. Most Autistic children if you are open will eventually socialize with you. I have often wondered if the stigmatization has caused them to be socially impaired. Everyone could cure this issue by being humane and opening their hearts to an autistic person.
The treatment that I have I will work on to bring to market at no or low cost but the other things like society being educated and open to children with autism so they are more social has to begin with you.
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I have some really awesome moments of humanity which people have shown both me and my son. I plan on writing about those in one of my up and coming hubs. Kindness that is shown to my son as well as understanding. There are just some really incredible people around us as well. These were only 10 things not to say. We have been showered with generosity and understanding lately by wonderful people from all around the world.
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