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Five Kind Things You Can Say to a Child with Autism

Updated on August 9, 2014
JT Walters profile image

JT Walters has a Master's of Science in Behavoralism from Florida State University. She is a researcher in many professions in Florida.

Five Kindest Things You Can Say to a Child with Autism

I have written frequently about the day to day hardships parents of children with autism face but I have not shared the greatest moments we have experienced. Those are the moments when we find acceptance and love within our community. I would demand it for my son but that is not how love happens when you have a child with special needs. It seems you have to be verbally assaulted until the people around you form a shield to protect you from harsh opinions of those not enlightened. There have been some beautiful moments which I wish to share with you to try and show how attitudes can change by the simplest kindnesses.

Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wish You Knew

Number 1

1. “Hello”. When people actually greet my son and shake his hand it means so much to me. My sons is autistic and not always open to it but he is learning because people around him have accepted him. Men greet him and with a paternal “Hello” and either shake his hand or pat his back. The women say hello, go to him, and either shake his hand or down right give him a hug. For a child with autism this places a social expectation on him but he is adapting and healing from the love of the people who accept him. This I could not provide my son alone. It took many people of all religious, races and backgrounds who are enlightened to provide my child with this socialization. He also makes me go to this same coffee shop every single day because he now looks forward to meeting new people. He loves the social interaction which is one of the greatest challenges for children with Autism. If everyone could just accept children with autism and embrace them, as my son has been embraced, then I believe the impact of autism, atleast socially, would be significantly decreased. But we have taken a lot to get here. I have been told my son is damned by God and that is why he has Autism as well as I have been told I am a horrible person for not placing my son in an institution.

Autism Awareness Day 2014

Number 2

2. “Your child is very well behaved”. My son is exceptionally well behaved not only for a child with autism but for a child. I believe there is a higher social standard for behavior with children with labels on them. Again this acceptance didn’t come easily. I remember walking through the grocery store and at the check out line I was verbally accosted by store management claiming my child was not behaving. He had M & M’s while neuro-typical children were knocking down displays. I of course stood up for my child and spoke to the regional manager and made certain that never occurred again. But then when people notice how well behaved he is it fills my heart with love and appreciation for those who accept my son.

My Son Who Has Autism


Number 3

3. “Your son knows a lot.”. Since my son went through puberty he has become very protective of babies in the grocery store. This is especially true of newborn babies. There Moms have a tendency to leave the baby in the cart while they look through the produce. My son will insist on standing by these babies. Most of the time new Moms completely freak out and want the child with Autism away from their child as if it is contagious. I usually have to explain to the Mom he is standing guard over the baby for them so they don’t get upset. But one time the Mother recognized us. My son and I had been in the doctor’s office and I was quizzing him on all the bones of his body by the medical name. She came up to me and said, “It is okay. And I am amazed at how much your son knows. I don’t even know the official names of bones.” Again we found love and acceptance. That day whether I realize it or not we are making the argument for love and acceptance each and everyday. Love and acceptance happens through persuasion.

Number 4

4. “See you later.” This is a really simple thing to say and to remember to say. It implies a continuation of the relationship which children with autism need. Children with autism need love and acceptance in society. How hard is it to say “See you later to a child?”.

Number 5

5. “You have grown so much.” This is a generalization but children with autism often experience frustration because they feel unacknowledged for their successes including maturing. But anything you can say kind about a child with autism works here. “You have beautiful eyes.". It just has to be appropriate and kind. My son loves when someone notices something about him as he often feels shut out, ostracized, and not noticed. It is so simple to say something nice to a child especially a child with special needs.

In Conclusion

These are just five simple examples of how you can brighten the day of a child with autism and help them socialize thus limiting the impact of their special needs. If love heals, which I believe it does, then we have the ability to heal each other with love, acceptance, and kindness.

Of course as I am trying to complete this article I am being called a b!tch in the middle of Starbucks by a customer who is telling me awful things about my son and no one in Starbucks is defending my son or me. I try to remember the sweet while I am getting verbally harassed by the bitter. I did call the police and they claimed Starbucks required us to leave or be arrested for trespassing. It is notable I called no one a profanity and only asked the ignorant woman to stay away but both I am my son were threatened with being arrested if we did not leave because he is disabled and that bothers some Starbucks customers. She was asked to leave as well but she was causing the disturbance.. It is both ironic and sad that I try to illustrate how love can help heal children with autism while hatred is spewed at us and we are dealing with discrimination by both the police and the corporation of Starbucks.

But this is what we endure every single day of our lives as we try and be positive and forge forward. And shame on the authorities and Starbucks.

Understanding a Child with Autism

Follow Up Eight Months Later

Not only did we continue to go to Starbucks but we managed through patience and persistence to find acceptance for my son who has both Autism and a rare disorder. To date, my son is a gold card VIP member. We haven't been in Starbucks in the past couple of months because it has been too hot for coffee and we have been really busy with other projects. I am quite proud of my son, a civil rights leader for all children with Autism and other special needs. It was also quite heart warming that the staff accepted Alex despite certain individuals. It helped tremendously that the patrons of. Starbucks also spoke on our behalf. I might mention it didn't hurt my son when he meet Govenor Rick Scott at Starbucks either.

With patience and persistence all things are possible.

Me, Alex & The Governor at Starbucks Almost a Two Years Ago



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    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 13 months ago from Florida

      Welcome Back Jo Miller!! I have missed you. In internet circles those of us work together find success together. I think we all have things to share that can help us understand each other and the world better. I apologize for taking so long to comment back, but I have been working on my second book. A lot of us from hubpages have moved into the publishing world as well. Baby steps but this is a good forum to launch your work.

      Thank you for being sensitive and taking the time to reading this article.

    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 13 months ago from Tennessee

      Hope you and Alex are continuing to do well. I'm trying to get back in to Hubpages and renew some acquaintances here so came this morning to find this article of yours. Thank you for sharing your life experiences with us. It helps us all to understand the difficulties of families with autistic children.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 20 months ago from Florida

      So many typos in my response to you Internetwriter62. Dorothy= calm in the above paragraph as does IR = and.

      Alex can be totally cool and yes, it is his dream to be the ambassador for Landau Kleffner and Mitochondria Cytopathy and meet people from around the world. He wants to study different cultures and marvel at the architecture, the food and the art. Honestly, I think I'd die on a transfer-Atlantic flight with him.

      You see despite having autism and never being told about first class, Alex believes he belongs in first class. Airlines let him board early because of his autism and medical issues so Alex sits in first class and I have to pry him out of the seat. It is ugly getting Alex out of first class because he is certain he is being cheated.

      He is 16 and he is heavy. The stewardess usually give me alcoholic beverage coupons after that but I do not drink.

      When we travel around the world say a prayer it is private jet or first class otherwise, I will never make it. He may have autism but my son is not dumb!

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 20 months ago from Marco Island, Florida

      You are right JT Alex does have a beautiful soul to match his smile... Thank you so much for explaining autism to me, I now have a better understanding.. I hope you both get to travel and see as much of the world as possible and that many people get to meet Alex and know what a wonderful young man he is...

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 20 months ago from Florida

      Hi Internetwriter62!

      Thank you for the kind words about Alex. He has Landau Kleffner Syndrome (LKS) on top of his Mitochondria Cytopathy. LKS children speak as toddlers but when they sleep at night they have seizures. The seizures destroy the speech centers in their brain. At first I thought he went deaf but then the autism followed. A lot of the behaviors are a form of communication or in lieu of communicating. You may seem a child with autism twirling a piece of metal in their hand studying how light refracts around it. This is called self stimulating and it gives a person with autism calmness. It is the same if you see them rock. It is how they Dorothy themselves because they do not have defense mechanisms. So when someone says something can really hurt them.

      To know a child with autism is to know one and only one child with autism. Just like we are all different so are they.

      As part of the definition of autism social interaction difficulties is a characteristic but Alex is quite a flirt but I always warn people to let him come to them. He does too, if he is interested. Cornering a child with autism frightens them, pressures them and ends in a melt down IR a violent outburst. This is very difficult to explain to law enforcement as is that the lights and sirens can cause a person with autism to have a behavioral explosion.

      I would also share that they are perhaps the best psycholinguistic readers of behavior on the planet. So a smile, a wave from across the room or acknowledgement and acceptance makes them more likely to try to be social. Unfortunately, society has the ability to help these children but no one is teaching them how much taking a few minutes of your times to be social can help these children overcome socialization issues.

      Alex has been lucky because he has always been embraced. Alex had his way he would travel the world studying other people's cultures. He loves to fly and travel. Alex loves diversity. He does not have a bigoted bone in his body. He has a really beautiful soul but is often misunderstood.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Internetwriter62 profile image

      Internetwriter62 20 months ago from Marco Island, Florida

      Hi JT, beautiful hub! Yes everyone needs encouragement, especially those who have the challenge of autism.. Alex has a winning smile and I see he is wonderful young man, whom you have done an excellent job of bringing up... I never really understood autism very well.. What I do know is that it affects the person's ability to have relationships.. I do see where encouraging words would mean a lot.. I hope people realize it comes down to the Golden rule with everyone, "Treat others as you would like to be treated"

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Lord,

      It wasn't the Mom they couldn't accept it was the child with Autism which they believe should be kicked like a dog when their customers are having a bad day. They only had a problem with me because I was not okay with it.

      Thanks and you have a wonderful evening.

      Tis the season for the public to abuse children with autism. Nothing has changed or moved forward except the progression of abuse.

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Take care JT, My prayers for a better tomorrow and for your son! This is sickening... enough... a cold world that cannot accept a mom in Starbucks, all because he doesn't fit in..?

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Gypsy Willow,

      Sadly, we were almost arrested attempting just to find some acceptance for my son who has autism because his presence offended someone. It is very simple to love and accept each other and yet it is never available for my son.

      You give me hope that things can change but not everyone is you. People who are so filled with love and compassion are few and far between.

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I know it is hard to read but my hope is that is that public awareness will change attitudes. Then again I almost went to jail yesterday.

      Thank you again.


    • Gypsy Willow profile image

      Gypsy Willow 5 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      I cannot believe the things people say to you about your son. May their god forgive them. Your list is useful and makes us realize how important acceptance and understanding is for autistic children.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 5 years ago from Florida

      Thanks Lord but it is a real issue when Starbucks and the police agree that the presence of a child with Autism disturbing their customers is enough to have us both arrested. I try to love everyone despite their short comings. Why can't the world see our children that way?

      I do blame Obama for his inability to help children with Autism

      No Happy Holidays for us we have to live with hatred each day but thanks for your kindness it is what keeps us going.


    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      JT, I think I just drank on Starbuck Mocha in NYC , and know I won't even try to live up that life. 2.60 for a cup of coffee. Your tips are essential and truly important. I'm glad you pointed out some keywords in here. I just wrote another poem inspired in my son, and probably yours. Hope that child support turns into thousands. Happy holidays dear friend!