I run a community on Facebook where autistic adults and parents of autistic children come together.
The focus of the community is on education — that is, autistics are educating parents of autistic children.
But often I see a pattern in posts with questions from parents. They seem to start the same way…
“I’m scared to post, but…”
“Please be gentle…”
“I’m afraid to even ask…”
At first I thought it was just a few parents who were feeling particularly vulnerable, but it happens over and over again with all sorts of questions.
And it boils down to this… Some parents of autistic children are afraid of autistic adults, for a variety of reasons…
Dear Autism Mom That’s Afraid of Autistics, From an Autistic Who Wants to Help
Maybe because they think we’ll be mean to them.
(Our direct and blunt language can sometimes come across as ‘rude’)
Or maybe it’s because they think we’ll call them out.
Or maybe it’s simply that they’re nervous that they’re doing things wrong, and no one likes to hear that they’re wrong.
Whatever the reason, I want to reach out to you, friend, if you’re the parent of an autistic child and you’re nervous to learn from autistics.
First, I get you.
When your child was diagnosed, you likely dove headfirst into getting a google-degree in autism.
You stayed up until three AM reading blog posts, articles, and books. You listened to podcasts. You signed up for freebies.
You decided you were going to be the best autism mom there ever was.
And then you stumbled on some autistic-lead groups or read a blog post from an autistic advocate.
And it felt like everything you were so passionately doing was now wrong.
- You can’t say “child with autism”
- You can’t use functioning labels
- You can’t vent publically about your autistic child
- You can’t call yourself an autism mom
- You can’t use the puzzle piece
It all feels a little overwhelming… Is there anything you’re doing right?
Well friend, yes there is.
You are loving the heck out of your autistic child. You are doing your best. You are committed to being the best parent and advocate you can be.
And I’m going to let you in on a little secret…
Autistics Want the Same Things You Want
Sometimes it feels like it’s autistics against parents, and the two communities are just battling against each other.
But here’s the deal: We want the same things.
Autistics are fighting for:
- All autistics (your child) to be accepted
- All autistics (your child) to be included
- All autistics (your child) to be accommodated
- All autistics (your child) to be listened to
- All autistics (your child) to be safe
- All autistics (your child) to be understood
- All autistics (your child) to be respected
You want all of those things for your autistic child, and we do too.
But here’s something you may not have thought of before…
The way you listen to autistics today is how others will listen to your autistic child in the future.
The way you respect autistics today is how others will respect your autistic child in the future.
The way you think and feel and speak about autistics today is how others will think and feel and speak about your autistic child in the future.
The Good News Is… You Can Work With Autistics
We are here and more than willing to help you.
Parenting isn’t easy… Kids don’t come with instructions.
But we can offer you insight into what your autistic child may be thinking, feeling, or going through because we’ve personally thought it, felt it, and gone through it before.
We can share what we wish our parents had known as we grew up, or how we wish they handled situations.
And we’re more than willing to work through that with you… You don’t have to be afraid.
Because here’s the deal…
Together We Can Change the World
We want the same thing, friend.
We want a world where all autistics (including your child) are understood, accepted, listened to, respected, accommodated for…
Basically we want all autistics to be able to be successful and live their best life.
And I truly believe that starts with parents like you working together with autistics like me.
The autistics can offer guidance, support, knowledge, and walk through your autism journey with you.
And you (and parents like you) can ally with the autistic community to make the world better for all autistics (including your autistic child).
- Learn what autistics are trying to teach.
- Be open to changing the ideas you have about autism.
- Be coachable and discover new ways to parent your autistic child.
And then amplify what you’ve learned to others.
Share the problem with functioning labels with your child’s doctors.
Explain why Autism Speaks is problematic so that an autistic doesn’t have to.
Become the best parent, advocate, and ally that I know you can be.
You don’t have to be afraid, friend, we’re on your team.
And together, we can make a massive difference for all autistics.
And if you read this and thought ‘okay, I’m in. I’m ready to learn from autistic adults… But how the heck do I actually do that?!’ I want to take a moment to tell you about Autism Journey Collective.
Autism Journey Collective is a membership program where parents of autistic children can get the guidance, support, coaching, and training they need to become better parents, advocates, and autism allies.
It’s like having an autistic adult on speed dial to ask about any struggle you face so that you never have to wonder if you’re making the right choice.
The membership includes trainings, guides, a community of parents just like you, access to autistic mentors, and even live coaching.
The doors are closed right now, but they’ll be opening up again very soon.
You’ll want to make sure you’re signed up for the waitlist here to be the very first to know when we open the doors.
And if you loved this post, you might also enjoy…