1. When we tell you that our child has autism, don’t say you’re sorry. W e know you mean well, but why should you be sorry? We’re not. Autism parenting can be as tough as hell, but we adore our kids, and like any parent, we do everything we can for them.
2. Autism is a neuro-processing disability. It is not an intellectual disability, although the symptoms may or may not include cognitive impairments. Don’t assume that a child with autism struggles intellectually, but at the same time, don’t assume that everyone with autism is like Rain Man.
3. If my child is in the room, any questions you have about him should be addressed to him, not to me. Don’t ask me how old he is or what grade he is in at school. Ask him. Afford him the same respect you would give to any child. He may not be able to answer all of your questions, but he has to have the opportunity to try. If he needs prompting, I will help him. But always operate under the assumption that he can, not that he can’t.
4. I don’t expect society to bend over backwards for my child. He is a child with
autism living in a neurotypical world, and we are doing our best to give him the skills he will need in order to survive. He is always going to be different, though. He will never fit any mould of what people may think someone “should” be like. What I ask is that you embrace and accept those differences.
5. It is a very sad fact that the autism community is fragmented by different beliefs, and sometimes those fragments attack each other. Moms who choose to vaccinate their kids are accused of being bad parents. People actively campaign against autism organizations that do not promote a certain agenda. Insulting terms like “sheeple” are flung around. All of this really bothers me, because we should have a common goal – that goal being a better life for our kids. That should be what we are aiming for, over and above everything else.