10 things not to ask an autism parent...

9 November 2016

Dear friend,

This morning I crossed the road too quickly (narrowly missing a cyclist and a van) just to avoid talking to a parent from school. She rubs me up the wrong way. Every time I walk away from a conversation with her I feel worse. She is nice, she is pleasant. She just always asks the wrong things! Instead of avoiding this woman I should simply tell her:

1) Please don't ask me every time I see you how my son is doing at school.
Especially when you obviously know/think you know. Part way through our conversation you will throw in an anecdote from your son which is usually about one of the big lad's bad days. I get feedback from school thank you!

2) Don't ask for details of the support/therapy that my son is receiving.
I don't ask for details about your child's education, or their problems.
Is (child) struggling with maths? I hear you have a tutor.

3) Don't tell me how lucky I am that my son is clever enough.
Autistic does not mean retarded.

4) Don't tell me that my son is lucky that the school/class/teachers etc accept him.
I thank my lucky stars that we have found a good school and that he is in a relatively small group of nice kids. But they are also bloody lucky to have a funny, warm, caring child like my big lad.
Acceptance is a big word. How many of those kids invite him to play or to their party?

5) Don't ask if my son will go to the next group.
The answer is yes because the school and us, recognise the importance that he stays with his peers. Do you? Refer also to point 3. (In Holland children who are struggling academically will repeat a year.)

6) Don't ask if my son will stay at this school.
I don't know what the future will bring. But with the right support, the right teachers, we hope he will continue at this school! Is this code for he should be in a special school? (See point 3.)
This question highlights that my son is different it excludes us.

7) Don't ask if autism runs in the family.
Perhaps, but we are not sure what causes autism.
You are basically asking me if it is my fault that my son has autism.
Does insensitivity run in your family?

8) Don't ask me if I know your second cousins best friends kid who has autism.

9) Don't ask if I have tried...
Autism is not an illness. It is a developmental disorder. There is no cure.

10) Don't ask if he will grow out of it!
No. Autism is for life.

Don't ask a special needs parent a question that you wouldn't ask a neurotypical child's parent.

Please treat my son and I the same as everyone else. I know it can be difficult but if in doubt just smile and say


This is a revised post. 

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