Team GR: Many people want to help families affected by autism in any way they can, but don’t always know how. We asked some of our favorite mommy warriors for some do’s and don’ts!
1. Say the child “has autism.”
When referring to a child with an autism diagnosis, say “they have autism,” not “they are autistic.” Those affected are so much #MoreThanAutism. Kids have many beautiful qualities and autism is only ONE of them. Yes, it’s a big one, but it’s not everything.
2. Offer help.
Let the family know they can call on you in a time of need and remind them constantly! Say things like “we can do this, we are here for you, we can help.” WE is such a magical word with anyone going through a trial. When someone says “we,” it truly makes a family feel like the burden isn’t all on their shoulders. Let them know they’re not alone.
3. Ask about their child’s diet.
Most kids on the spectrum stick to a specific diet whether it be Keto, GFCF or something else. These children may have allergies or sensitivities to certain foods that other children can easily consume. It’s okay to offer them food, just ask their parents what their diet is first.
4. Continue to invite them to events and family gatherings.
Keep inviting them to all of the things you would normally do together. Don’t assume that going to the event will be too hard for them or their child may have a meltdown. Joining you might be difficult, but let them be the ones to decide.
5. Ask before you visit.
Try to not drop by unannounced. Unless you know they are okay with it, you don’t know what kind of battle zone they may be dealing with. Shoot them a quick message and see if it’s okay.
6. Be persistent.
Don’t be offended if their child doesn’t interact with you. Kids with autism may take a little longer to adjust to new people. Ask the parents or their child what they love doing and find a way to communicate with them. Keep trying and be persistent and they’ll warm up to you!
7. Be positive.
Focusing on the positives instead of the negatives is always important. Try to not be judgmental if they’re doing something different than what your family does. Each family is different and they’re working to find what works best for them.
8. Celebrate with them.
Families are working hard advocating and finding the best options for their kids and would love to talk about it, so ask them! Recognize them and celebrate their small, but HUGE accomplishments. Be part of their journey. You are part of their village, and they need you!