Autism: What “Autism Moms” Really Want
I can relate to what it feels like to be a leper, even though my skin is not really falling off. I mean that I can understand what it feels like to be shunned and excluded from society. My son has Autism, not leprosy. But, for those of us moms raising a child with Autism, it’s hard enough to watch your child get ignored by others, but when it extends to the rest of the family, it can be downright depressing.
I certainly get enough pity from other moms, but that’s not what we “Autism moms” really want. We want understanding and we want friendships with other moms that aren’t based on someone feeling bad for us. However, when your only child is not “normal,” it’s tough to know what to talk about with the moms of normal children. I can’t share in the same successes that the other moms have with their children because I measure my son’s success with a totally different standard. The “Autism moms” get this different standard of measurement and they understand the feeling of being on the outside, so we do tend to gravitate towards one another.
What "Autism Moms" Really Want
A mom with a child who has Autism needs support in so many ways.
1. Teach Your Kids to Be Accepting
We need the “regular parents” to work harder at teaching their children to be more accepting of differences in others. It’s so frustrating to be the only parent in the room that hears the hurtful comments said to my son and be the only one willing to intervene.
2. Give Us a Break ... Literally
We need a break from our kids! I know many “Autism moms” that are so willing to help out other parents by watching their children, yet when it’s our turn to have our child babysat, suddenly everyone is too busy to help. We know it’s not easy to care for our kids, but we’d sure love an hour or two of another parent’s babysitting services so we can go to the grocery store or lay down for a nap. I have trouble finding anyone to even watch my son while he’s asleep at night!
3. Be Understanding
We need to have some understanding that when our child is screaming in the middle of Target and we are trying hard to calm them down, that I am not a bad parent! I am overwhelmed, exhausted, and need some understanding from you as a fellow parent.
In closing, the next time you see “one of those kids” at the store, at school, or playing with your children, please consider embracing us as a fellow mom and encourage your child to be welcoming as well. We’re hurting, as a whole family, and we need some understanding and patience instead of being pushed aside or ignored.
How do you teach your children to be accepting of differences and be inclusive of others?
Rachel Kokosenski is the mom of a boy with Autism. She is an avid promoter of the Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet for children on the Autism Spectrum. She enjoys creating new GFCF recipes and blogs about them and Rachel is also a regular contributor to Stockpiling Moms. In order to help families succeed in following a GFCF Diet, Rachel has begun a new venture with GFCF Diet Plan. Rachel lives in Southern California with her husband, son, and dog.