Have You Ever Received Unwanted Advice About Autism?
We all have been there, when well-meaning people give sh*tty advice. This advice comes from our parents, our spouses, our siblings, our friends, our colleagues, our child's educator, our fellow community members, and even strangers. So often advice is unwelcome. More than unwelcome .........
If you were a better mother...
he wouldn't be like that.
Aren't we all a little autistic?
I mean, I have anxiety too.
It's ok, I'll pray for you...
maybe one day he'll be normal.
What are they trying to say?
How to you respond?
How can use the opportunity to #shiftthenarrative
THE "YOU SHOULD READ/WATCH/KNOW ABOUT THIS..." TYPE OF ADVICE
THE "IF YOU WOULD JUST...BE A BETTER MOTHER" TYPE OF ADVICE
THE "PLAYING "DOCTOR" TYPE OF ADVICE
THE "DON'T YOU THINK..." ADVICE OF THE MINIMALLY INFORMED
THE “APOLOGIZE AND PRAY” RESPONSE TO AUTISM
THE "JUDGY LOOK IS ENOUGH" TYPE OF ADVICE
THE "DON'T WORRY, HE'LL...GROW OUT OF IT" TYPE OF ADVICE
THE "WELL, YOU DON'T LOOK AUTISTIC.." CELEBRATORY HIGH FIVE
Remember the rage that coursed through your body the first time that someone didn’t see your child as a human being?
Can you feel the sting of humiliation when the judg-ey eyes of a stranger gave you uninformed advice on how to parent? How about the visceral, full body reaction when your heart, your autistic child, first experienced the pain of an unfair worldview?
It felt like an actual knife went into your stomach when you were told about your child being held down in a restraint. Bile set at the back of your throat when this atrocity was deemed ‘for your child’s own good'.
Utter disappointment when your child was excluded from the experiences of childhood; whether they be birthday invites or an assigned study partner. Jadedness grew inside you in a way that you never expected to be a regular part of parenting. You had come to expect that teachers, therapists, and even family members wouldn’t “get it” or worse yet, even try to get it.
The cuss words formed in your mouth when you heard that your child wasn’t believed to be autistic or couldn’t possibly achieve much of anything based on his neurology. Arms crossed and lips tight when others offer their apologies when autism comes into the conversation. Your eyes brimmed with tears when your child sat alone, misunderstood, not knowing her worth. You want her to know herself.
All the while, your child is still your child; the truest form of your love. Simply put, a person that has given you your finest title; parent. You would take all his hurts in the world and make them your own. Your sweet child, she has changed you in ways that you don’t even try to explain. But still the world hurts him and so you hurt. Every single one of these horrible experiences you’ve been through are created by a society that has made decisions to marginalize, to discriminate against vulnerable people, to perceive differences as 'less than'.
We must be better than this.
We must create a world where autistic people are heard & understood. We must be part of growing love & creating change in the global view of autism. We will find it within us to continue to try to create a world where autistic people are afforded love, respect, dignity and equality.
This is Love & Autism.
With Love & Gratitude,
Founder of Love & Autism