In honor of National Autism Awareness Month, the National Autism Network asked its community of parents, who are more than 10,000 strong, what they most want the public to know about their children. “It was a simple question that generated some very powerful responses,” said Cari DeCandia, co-founder of National Autism Network, the largest online resource for the autism community. “National Awareness Month is great, but we’re trying to go beyond awareness to acceptance. We hope this list will help.”
Here are the Top Ten Things Autism Parents Want You to Know, according to National Autism Network:
1. Our children are so much more than their diagnosis. They are both amazing and talented.
2. Their struggles in day to day life are sometimes great, but it makes the successes they achieve that much sweeter. Every milestone and every step forward is a celebration.
3. We don’t want you to take pity on us. Help if you can, empathize if possible, but always afford us respect and dignity.
4. Parenting is difficult already- having a child with Autism adds to the stress and degree of difficulty. An empathetic smile or a nod during a tantrum in a public place is more helpful than a disapproving frown. We already feel guilt and helplessness in that moment- please don’t add to it with judgment.
5. If you know one autistic child than you know just one autistic child. They all have different needs, abilities, disabilities, and characteristics.
6. Our children love to play just like everyone else, but lack the social skills to approach a group of kids he or she doesn’t know and may seem awkward if they do. They’re not “weird,” and ultimately they just want to be part of the group.
7. That every minute of every day, we are mentally preparing for the next activity and it’s exhausting.
8. While Autism isn’t a terminal diagnosis, the possibility of danger is always there.
9. If you see a child older than two or three screeching versus talking- there is a good chance that child has Autism and is not just “acting out”
10. That we learn to see the world in a unique and beautiful way that those not walking our path may not be able to comprehend.
For more information about National Autism Network, please visit: www.NationalAutismNetwork.com.
National Autism Network is the largest online resource for the autism community. Founded in 2011, its mission is to unite and empower parents, providers, family members and individuals on the autism spectrum by providing a growing community rich in knowledge and expertise with a common goal of working together to make a difference in the lives of those affected by Autism.