Being a parent is often a tough job, and being a parent of a child with autism comes with even greater challenges. There are the typical childhood tantrums, but there are also autistic meltdowns. There may be extra communication difficulties, learning struggles, behavioral issues, or other problems that are exacerbated by the autistic characteristics of the child.
Although autism can be a great gift in some respects, parents of children with autism may need (and deserve) a little extra help now and then. But for many people, it can be hard to figure out how to help. So we’ve compiled a list of practical things others can be doing to help an autism parent cope with the specialized difficulties their son or daughter brings to their life.
Whether you’re a friend or a relative, a teacher or a neighbor, these tips will help you give some assistance to a parent in need.
6. Learn about autism.
One of the most important ways you can help an autism family is just by understanding more about autism. Every child is different, but the more you understand about the disorder, the more you’ll be capable of understanding what type of support might be the most helpful to the parent. And the more you know about the individual child, the more you’ll be able to help the parent advocate for him or her.
5. Invite the parents to events.
Don’t stop inviting the parents to do things with you, whether it’s a school or community function, lunch at a restaurant, a night out, or whatever else. Although it may be difficult for an autism family to participate in certain functions or find a babysitter who can handle their child’s needs, parents of children with autism still need social outlets, both for their entire families and for themselves. Keep reminding the parent that his or her company is valued.
Click “next” for more tips!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?