Do you know a family member or friend dealing with Autism? Normally when a family finds that their child has autism, they are completely thrown off, having to instantly changed their eating habits, doctors, school, etc. While their lives are seeming to be getting turned upside down, they don’t even realize that their personal relationships are sure to change as well. Families tend to notice quickly, that while they have some Friends & Family being supportive every step of the way, they now have some others that just don’t know how to handle the situation so they just pull away. So this article is for the friends and families, of Families dealing with autism, to give you a few suggestions of things you can do to help. So let’s Begin!
#1. Just Being a Shoulder to Lean on Goes a Long Way!
Yes, this may seem to be common sense, but I stress this point because most families just need someone to talk to about the daily challenges that life throws at them. Even if you don’t know what to say about the matter, just by being by their side could be perceived as louder than anything you could say. Families dealing with Autism generally gets pushed into isolation, due to their new found hectic schedules. So just reassuring them that you are there, helps the family combat this, more than you know.
#2. When is the Right Time to Talk About Autism?
When talking about Autism, it depends on the family. There are some families that don’t want to talk about autism or discuss their child’s diagnosis, and then there are families who just wants to talk more about it to help others understand. So it’s probably best that you let them bring up the subject of autism. In the meantime, asking questions about how the child is doing, is a great way of showing the family that you care. Also encouraging the family that they are in a sacred and loving environment can also help them to feel more comfortable about relying on you to cheer them up or being their shoulder to lean on. Even if they don’t want to talk about it, no need to try to force conversation. Just bring up other things to show them that you aren’t constantly concentrated on their silence, and who knows, maybe eventually they will feel more open to talking about it after while.
#3. What a Child With Autism Looks Like..
There is no specific look to autism. So making the comment “He doesn’t look or seem like he has autism” is not the best phrase to use, when trying to start a conversation. Of course, people are curious about it, but making a comment like that could potentially make the family feel like they are being judged and could make them pull away from you. So even if you feel like it is a positive comment to make because it could give the family hope, definitely try to keep that thought to contained.
#4. There’s No Way to Predict the Child’s Future.
Asking the question “What’s the Prognosis?” or “Will he grow out of Autism?” are unnecessary, and they could be kind of offensive to some people. There is not anyway to know what the future may hold, and for that reason it’s definitely scary for many families. So be aware that this could be a sensitive topic to most people. Especially if the family isn’t open to talking about the child’s condition in the first place, but also even if they are open to talking about the matter, trying to predict the child’s future could still be offensive to all types of families. So this is definitely something to watch out for, especially if you want to be sensitive to that families needs.
#5. Educate Yourself with Current Events
A great way to show you care, would be to educate yourself on the child’s condition and on what’s currently going on in the world of Autism. There is tons of information online about the subject, including websites and blogs and also there are tons of news stories broadcasted daily about what’s currently going on with Autism. So if your friends or family members are open to talking about the matter, sharing articles and recent events could be helpful to the conversation. Also it could make that family or friend feel like they could be more open to you, because you are showing them that you want to do everything you can to fully understand what they and their child are going through.
#6. Schedule Friendly Play Dates
What most children need, suffering from autism, is to be around other typical children. There are tons of parents out here, that doesn’t want their children playing around other children with disabilities, but I am here to tell you there is nothing wrong with that. It could actually be more helpful than harmful for your child because it could be a great lesson to learn about acceptance and how to understand people who are different from them. And for the children suffering from Autism, it could be helpful to learn typical social behaviors from other kids. So in my opinion it would be a win win for both parties involved.
#7. Passing Judgement Helps No One!
Parents and their families dealing with autism are constantly being subjected to judgement from going to the grocery store.. to the playground.. and even going out to eat.. No matter how relevant you feel your constructive criticism is, actually expressing it could damage or completely ruin your relationship with the family, and not to mention it could give the autistic child a complex. Until you walk a mile in that families shoes you will never fully understand the trials and tribulations they have to face on a daily basis. So it’s best to keeps those thoughts contained.
#8. It is Not Your Story to Tell
Yes, families dealing with Autism are going through a lot, everyday, and yes their story could be helpful to other people who haven’t experienced it, or that are in the beginning stages of them finding out their child has Autism. But make sure to keep the families business dealings to yourself. Even if they are open about talking about it or not, and their story could be helpful to millions of people with the same struggles, it is not as effective unless they are willing to tell their own story. So definitely make sure that you are being respective of their decisions to keep to themselves.
Every year, more and more children are being diagnosed with Autism. Studies show that 1 in 68 children born in the U.S. are living with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), which has increased over 30% throughout the last 2 years and back in 2000 it was 1 in 150. Children are still being diagnosed late, even today, with the average age diagnosis being around age 4. So Let’s make a change today and start becoming a part of the solution versus a part of the problem.
Would you say this information is helpful? Yes but more importantly
It is Necessary!
Thanks for reading!
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