There are often discussions about what NOT to say to parents about their children with autism. I wrote about it myself – how some innocent questions and comments can actually be painful for a mama raising a child with autism. Although well meaning, some comments have the opposite of the intended effect.
But please say something. Saying nothing can almost be worse. Someone recently asked me: what CAN someone say that is considered kind and helpful? That simple question stopped me in my tracks. Just asking it was a huge first step. I had a few simple suggestions that would go a long way with sensitive mamas. I’ve listed them below.
1) Ask the mother if there are any resources or books you can read to learn more about autism. That tells her you are interested in, and care about her child.
2) Ask the mother if a play date would be helpful and that you would be happy to host. Our guys need social interaction and an opportunity to practice their social skills. Sadly, they are often the last ones to get invited on a play date. Offering to host tells a mom that you’re not afraid of her child and that you are open to fostering a friendship between the child with autism and her own child. Feel free to step it up and make sure to invite the child to your kiddo’s birthday party. Those invitations can be rare occurrences as well.
3) Compliment her child. Mamas with kids on spectrum seem to only hear the negative stuff. Many dread what they’re going to read in the school agenda and worry that every time the phone rings it will be the school reporting yet another “incident”. Like every mother, we want to hear that our kids are awesome and it’s nice for someone to notice. It doesn’t have to be anything big. Here’s some examples:
“I noticed your son’s language is really coming along.”
“Your daughter was really kind to my child today.”
“I was volunteering in the class today and noticed your son sat really well in circle!”
These are just a few simple suggestions that will make a tremendous difference in the life of moms of children with autism. Don’t be afraid to talk to us. We’re moms just like you, and like all moms, we love to talk about our kids – even the ones with autism.
About the Author:
Julie Cole is co-founder of Mabel’s Labels Inc., the leading provider of kids’ labels, and a proud mom of six.
Our Fundraising Program has gotten a makeover!
Don’t you love watching make-over episodes on TV? Whether it be for people, houses, landscapes or even pets – the most fun is seeing the big reveal; the after to the shabby before.
Our Fundraising Program was never really all that shabby, but now it’s a knock-out! We have updated it so that organizations can run campaign driven programs (30-60 days long) which will cause urgency to purchase and support the fundraiser. Also, organizations like a school or daycare can sign up and then have one, five, or even 50 parents or employees create campaigns to help support and raise funds! Social sharing has never been easier, and dedicated online support is available to assist you when creating your program.
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For more information about our NEW & improved Fundraising program click here.
“It’s okay, it’s the second one.”
I heard this from my SIL the other day. I have heard it from my parents in relation to me. I have heard it from friends. You ‘care less’ about the second child. Now, I’m not saying that in the literal sense you ‘care less’ – but I think you parents know what I mean when I say second child syndrome. The first child was the learning experience; you learned how to hold them, feed them, and burp them. You mastered the one-handed diaper change. You learned that if they fall, they will get back up. You learned that you don’t need to worry that you might fail at some things – because it’s inevitable that you will. You learned that you could and did adapt to being a new parent. So, once the second one came around, you were a Pro.
My brother’s second child and my newest nephew joined our family just before Christmas last year. For almost 4 years, his brother was the only baby in our family and we didn’t think we could love another more. Then, the second one arrived and I was smitten. There’s just something about him that I have instantly fallen in love with. It’s almost like there’s an unspoken bond between us. I’m the baby of the family; the black sheep – and I think I see that in him. As the youngest, we must stick together.
I was pondering my instant affection for him the other day, and realized that when his older brother was born I had to learn how to be an Aunt. I too had to learn how to hold, feed and burp him. I had to learn how to be a friend and role model to an easily influenced little human. I quickly got comfortable with talking in a kid-friendly voice, helping him put on his shoes and being stern with him when required. Perhaps I do in fact have a special bond with the second one, or perhaps this time around as an Aunt I’m just more comfortable and have become a Pro too.
Did you feel differently towards your second child?
About the Author:
Diane Morris is a PANK; Professional Aunt, No Kids and works for Mabel’s Labels as the Sales Coordinator. She’s an Aunt to two boys, and an “Auntie” to her boyfriend’s niece and nephew. She’s a sucker for romance, country music and peanut butter.