Even though it’s the last day for Autism Awareness Month, it doesn’t mean the awareness stops there. So I’ve asked Christy from ChrisyNelson.net to share a few tips on raising an autistic child, as she’s doing it with her own son.
It takes a lot of people to raise a child with autism. I have surrounded myself with a team of professionals and friends that love my son almost as much as I do. If you don’t have a child with autism in your family, chances are you know someone that does. Do you want to help out but don’t know what to do or where to start? Here are a few tips:
1. Learn what you can about autism. You can find a wealth of information out there about autism but be careful not to assume that all kids with autism have all of the same characteristics. They are all very different and the skill sets vary wildly.
2. Ask questions. I love it when people are genuinely concerned for my son and want to learn more about him and what makes him tick. You’ll learn that my son is a talented pianist, must have his seat belt buckled before anyone else in the car, and will eat a whole large pizza if you leave him unattended.
3. Don’t offer up miracle cures. I think I may be treading a fine line of controversy with this one. My son doesn’t need cured. He’s not dying. It is a part of who he is and while we work on getting him the best treatment and therapies we can, I don’t need you to tell me what so and so did to “cure” their child with autism. Chances are we’ve heard it before and it makes me feel like you think my son isn’t great the way he is.
4. Play. My son doesn’t do well with loud noises and crowds. This is sometimes difficult for group birthday parties or other fun outings. Even if you know this is something we might not be able to do, invite us anyway. My son might not play with other children the same way you’re used to. It doesn’t mean he isn’t having a good time and even getting some benefit from being in the company of his peers. Being around other children is one way he learns social cues.
5. Love them. Period.
Thanks, Christy. These are fabulous tips to help our loved ones. I encourage all of you to learn what you can and lend a helping hand.