Raising a child with autism is by no means an easy feat. It’s takes great courage and will power just to get out of bed some days, but we do it. We do it, the same as everyone else, for the love of our children.
From the time she was born, I’ve always taken her every where I go, whether it’s a walk to the shops, a trip to Asda or a social gathering. Often these seemingly little tasks take a lot of time & patience to actually get done.
I want her to experience everything that everybody else does. Autism doesn’t make this easy. The anxiety of not knowing what is next, or the idea of too many people rushing around, the loudness of an event, so many little things that most people don’t need to worry about, we do. I’m always checking where the nearest exit points are at an event so should it get difficult, we can leave quickly without disturbing others, to ensure we don’t want to ruin your evening too.
What I find the most upsetting is when people stop & stare at us! You may be wondering what is happening, its human nature to do so but I’m sure within a few moments you would realise that this young person has some kind of special needs. You may not know she has autism as its not a visible disbility, but as a parent trying to help my child with her distress, stopping & staring only adds to our heartache. Dealing with my child whilst there are so many eyes on us will only push her anxiety levels higher. She may lash out as she won’t understand why you are there. If you ever come across a situation where you see a distressed child, my humble wish is, please don’t stare. That parent is already dealing with a public meltdown of her child. You can stand back or maybe ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Give them space and hopefully the moment will pass for the child. If you have children with you answer their questions as honestly as you can.
Just by trying to understand and learn more about autism and the effects it has, we can change the misconceptions about autism. As parents of an autistic child, we know you can’t change our journey but you can help by understanding our journey. By learning and creating more autism awareness & acceptance, together we can make a difference.