Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Awesomely Big List of Ways To Help Parents of Autistic Kids

By Bec Oakley of Snagglebox.com

 
Families with autistic kids need help, and a lot of it. But it can be really hard sometimes for other family members and friends to know exactly what kinds of support are needed.

The good news is that there are tons and tons of ways you can help. Yes, tons!

So if you've ever said "I really want to help but I don't know how"... then this is the post for you. Behold, an awesomely big list.

 
1. Talk about it
Autism is a big deal. It takes up most of the thoughts and minutes in the day of parents as they try to learn about and help their kids, especially in the beginning. So don’t ignore the elephant in the room, no matter how uncomfortable or strange it might feel to you. Your friends might not be ready to discuss it, or sick to death of hearing the word, but they’ll let you know and will be grateful that you cared enough to ask.
2. Learn what you can
Although autism is much more widely understood than it used to be, your friends still have to explain it to people all the time. They’re constantly answering questions - What is autism? How do you get it? Is it the same thing as Aspergers? Can it be cured? - and it can get tiring after a while, not to mention boring as hell. Having a support network of people who already know this stuff will ease their load, and it’s a great way to show them that you’re interested and want to help.
3. Allow space for acceptance
Finding out that your child is autistic can be a huge shock. Suddenly everything that your friends knew about parenting has changed - they’re confused about where to go from here, unsure what the future will be like and scrambling to learn a whole new set of instructions that weren’t in the baby manuals. They might be worried, scared or wondering if they can cope. So don’t expect them to be on top of all that right away, give them time to accept this new path that they’re on.
4. Work through your own feelings
How do you feel about the fact that someone you know has autistic kids... are you shocked? Saddened? Worried? Interested? Confused? There’s no right or wrong way to react to this kind of news, but obviously some of these feelings are going to stand in the way of your ability to be supportive. Don’t make it your friends’ responsibility to help you get okay with this, that’s your job - and the sooner you can do that, the more support you can give.
5. Learn the lingo
Autism comes with its own vocabulary, and learning what the words mean will help you take a big step into your friends’ new world. Having people around them who understand (without them having to explain) will make them feel supported too. Don’t be afraid to use the word autism, but be aware that some people have a preference about the words they use to describe themselves or their kids - Aspergers, autistic, child with autism. Ask your friends which words they choose.
 
To finish readin the rest of the list, click here....

Don't forget about our giveaway of a copy of Colring Outside Autism's Lines!  Click here for more information....

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