Autism: 14 Things Parents of Autistic Children Wish You Knew

Darleen Stry
Darleen Stry

Autism is one of the most prevalent and yet misunderstood phenomena of the 20th and 21st centuries. It’s not easy to be a parent of an autistic child, so here we present our list of 14 things parents of autistic children wish you knew. If you’ve ever wondered what’s going through their heads, we have the answers. Check it out for yourself below!

Number Fourteen: Autism Is a Component of a Child’s Personality, But It’s Not Their Entire Personality

When you hear that a child is autistic, don’t automatically assume that their autism makes up their entire personality. Autistic children are unique – just like every other child.

Number Thirteen: Autistic Children Love Their Parents

They may show it in different ways, but autistic children love their parents just as much as any other child loves his or her parents. There is nothing that can break the love between a child and a parent.

Number Twelve: You Don’t Need to ‘Blame’ Anybody

When you see an autistic child, don’t automatically jump to conclusions about who’s to “blame.” Nobody is to “blame” – a child’s autism is something they live with; it’s not a curse or an accident.

Number Eleven: Mothers of Autistic Children Are Just as Scared as You Are

Mothers of autistic children might come off as brave and stoic, but in reality, they’re as scared as every other new mother out there. Being a parent is a terrifying experience, and this is true for parents of autistic children as well.

Number Ten: You Don’t Need to Feel Awkward

It’s easy to feel awkward around something you don’t completely understand, but you really don’t have to! It’s important to know that you don’t need to feel uncomfortable around autistic children just because you don’t understand how they feel.

Number Nine: Autism Presents in Many Different Ways

One of the worst experiences a parent of an autistic child can have is being told that their son or daughter doesn’t have autism by another parent because their child expresses it differently. Autism presents in numerous different ways and should not be invalidated as a result.

Number Eight: The Spectrum Is Very Broad

As mentioned above, autism presents in many different ways. The spectrum of autism is very broad and is also widely misunderstood – even by doctors. Don’t assume anything about an autistic child just because you know they have autism.

Number Seven: Autistic Children Need Love

They might express their need for love in different ways, but there’s no denying that autistic children need just as much (if not more) love as any other child. It’s OK to express tenderness to an autistic child – they are capable of feeling and understanding.

Number Six: Knowing One Child With Autism Doesn’t Mean You Know Every Child With Autism

You might know someone with an autistic child, but that doesn’t mean you know every autistic child. Don’t use the one child you know to project your ideas onto another autistic child, because you might be completely off-base.

Number Five: Autistic Children Are Talented and Creative

Given the right tools, autistic children can be empowered by creativity and show extraordinary talent. Just like some of the most brilliant minds are also the most misunderstood, autistic children’s creativity is often mistaken for anger or a need to act out. Don’t make this mistake.

Number Four: It’s OK to Look, But Don’t Stare

Parents of autistic children are well aware that their children are different, so they won’t blame you for looking. However, staring can make the children feel uncomfortable, so try to avoid it as much as possible.

Number Three: Parents of Autistic Children Might Not Scold the Same Behaviors You Do

You might scold your children for chewing their shirts in the grocery store, but that doesn’t mean an autistic child will be scolded for that same behavior. Autistic children express their anxiety and other emotions in different ways, and they cope differently as well. It’s important to respect that.

Number Two: Have Some Empathy

Many people see parents of autistic children and assume that they are ignoring their child’s behavior. This isn’t true at all. Parents of autistic children don’t ignore their child’s behavior; they tolerate and cope with it. Have some empathy.

Number One: You Should Accept All Children Equally

Autistic children are not less than; they’re equal to. Parents of “normal” children should treat autistic children as though they were there own. Every child is unique and should be treated with an equal amount of respect. Thanks for reading!