Many people direct their behavior towards autistic children more out of a lack of awareness. This behavior can sometimes come across as cruel or even hurtful. This lack of awareness essentially translates into behavior that can be termed as defective in context of the needs of autistic children. AS the parents of autistic children realize one needs the wholehearted support of family and friends to tide over the anguish that can sometimes be triggered by having to deal with children with ASD. However, instead of lingering on angry feelings or being angry, it would be more empowering to come up with measures that will ease the stress. Here are 5 things that you must and must not do for lending your support to families who have kids on the spectrum.
Do and Don’t # 1
- Support is critical
It is always advisable to be supportive. Moreover, it does not take much effort to display your support to families who have autistic kids. Showing your support can include simple acts of kindness like making a phone call, taking the time to make a house call, providing a sympathetic ear or just lending your empathy. Besides, it would be great to highlight the little strides of success and focusing on the achievements.
- Criticism is not always constructive
You should suppress the urge to be critical or voice thoughts that may come across as judgmental. If you cannot say something pleasant or positive, it would be a better option to just say nothing at all. Moreover, no one likes a lecture, least of all parents who already have to deal with a sticky situation. Parents of kids with ASD want support, and definitely not lecture.
Do and Don’t # 2
- Be aware
It would be great to gain awareness about the various aspects of ASD. This can be done by reading up on the condition, attending therapy sessions, talking to parents of kids with ASD, and also getting in touch with those in the autism community. The more aware you are the more empathetic you will be.
- Don’t depend too much on research
These days, it’s easy to log on to Google and search for a particular topic and then come off feeling like you are an expert. The best way to gain awareness is to talk to those who are dealing with ASD. Talk to the parents and other community members and this what will give you richer insights into the condition than a google search.
Do and Don’t # 3
- Kindness pays
The power of a kind word or act should never be underestimated. Moreover, it is essential to treat others the way you would want to be treated yourself. This is the standard to be set. Your kind words can in essence indicate your support and love.
- Don’t be offensive
Offensive or discriminatory language is an absolute no no. There are many words that may be construed as offensive and you may not even be aware of it. Therefore, it would be advisable to exercise judiciousness in your choice of language.
Do and Don’t # 4
- Sensitize kids
Children can sometimes be extremely cruel in their innocence. As parents it is your responsibility to sensitize them so they don’t hurt the feelings of autistic kids. This would also translate into adults who are sensitive and kind.
- Don’t let kids be bullies
Bullying can sometimes lead to extremely cruel acts. This is not about not being kids. Teach your kids that it is important to accept those who are seemingly different. How would they like it if someone shoved them around or said cruel words that break their heart? It’s important to make them know the difference.
Do and Don’t # 5
Believe and it shall be fine. It is important to believe and be supportive at all times. Yes there will be hurdles and things may not always seem to be going uphill. But you should believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel .When someone believes in you and has confidence the journey is ever so often a tad bit more bearable.
- Don’t express doubts
Yes, you always have the right to voice your opinions. But when these opinions and judgments hurt someone, it is time to reconsider the way you think. Just as you think that you make the best decisions for your kids, parents of autistic kids also feel the same. It’s easy to pass a judgment when it is not your kid who is on the line. Be kind and empathetic. It goes a long way.