An Autistic Mom’s Message to Parents of Autistic Children

Here are a few things I would like to convey to parents of autistic children, as an autistic person and the mother of an autistic young adult:

1. Autism is a developmental disorder and developmental delays are a part of it so please don’t compare your child’s development to other children’s development. This is not fair to your child whose delayed development is NOT his or her fault. It is not your fault either, so relax.

2. The key to helping your autistic child is NOT to force him or her to do something that he or she is not developmentally ready to do. The key is to support your child’s development through love, acceptance, encouragement and therapies. Your child will learn to do things when he or she is developmentally ready to do them. Forcing your child to do things will NOT work. If you have to force your child to do something that means that your child is NOT developmentally ready to do it. It doesn’t mean that your child is lazy, uninterested, or unwilling to do it.

3. Please understand that autism is a neurological condition. This means that your child’s brain is wired differently from others so your child is always going to be different no matter what you do. If your goal is to try to make your child “normal” you are going to fail because you cannot change your child’s neurology. Only God can do that. However, it is God only who has given your child a different neurology. Respect it and work according to it, not against it. Your role, as a parent, is NOT to change your child, but to help you child grow into the person he or she is meant to be.

4. Please focus on your child’s wellbeing, not your image in society. I see many parents more worried about the latter than the former when it comes to their autistic child. They are more focused on stopping behaviors that they find embarrassing instead of understanding the behaviors and helping their child cope. Parents need to stop asking how they can make their children stop engaging in certain behaviors and start asking why their children engage in these behaviors. Every autistic behavior serves a purpose. Your children are not engaging in a behavior because they are “mad” or “crazy”. They are engaging in a behavior for a reason, be it to express themselves or regulate themselves. Your job is to find out the reason and help them manage it, not take away their only way of managing it without addressing the reason. That is the cruelest thing you can do.

5. Finally, please don’t burden your child with your issues. Your child is not a tool for you to feel happy, proud and successful. It is NOT your child’s job or responsibility to do that, it is your’s. Your child being born to you does not give you ownership over them to do what you please. Your child is his or her own being, entrusted to you by God to take care of and nurture to fulfill their own potential.


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