Comment to a Post Written by a Friend
Sharing my thoughts with a friend and all.
The link below is to a heartfelt and eloquently stated post written my friend Seventhvoice.
Love me or hate me this is my response to a comment that to me tipifys the worst aspect of the autism community
This is how the response started;
“While I acknowledge that many parents have fought the good fight– and continue to do so– on behalf of their autistic children, it is also sadly true that many autistic children suffer a great deal at the hands of their parents. Some of that suffering is due to societal problems, and some of it is due to neurotypical parents misunderstanding or being unaware of their autistic child’s needs.”
Ummmm….. I’m sorry but I simply do not believe that children with Autism are suffering from having “misunderstanding” parents.
I see where you are coming from in most of what you’ve stated in your post, and agree with you in that respect, but I have to agree with the above aspect written by the commenter on your post as well. It is my experience and observation that NT parents can sometimes misunderstand or are unaware of a need the child is trying to communicate. Even if the need is understood, the NT parent may not know how to address it. They can go to other NT parents, friends, family or even professionals in the field, but that does not guarantee they will receive good council. These parents are doing their absolute best and are at times still coming up short. This is a terrible burden to bare. It is not any fault of theirs, but of society for not acknowledging that there are resources readily available if asked. We on the spectrum offer an honest, unprocessed, matter-of-fact point of view, but society deemed us unintelligent and incapable. We were silenced. What would be the point in their listening to us? We are but lab rats to them.
It is our duty to education each other and the world about our autism. We don’t need these third party entities or their science to speak for us…we have our own voice and have the greatest ability to create our own science… Thanks to science for indicating that we exist, but now it’s time we take the reigns. It’s time that WE are heard!
Who’s to help the parent that reluctantly admits that they can’t always understand their child’s cues? There are countless indications across the board that cues are being misinterpreted. Listen to the voices of the your kinsmen who are on the spectrum… You will hear the horror and dismay of what it’s like to be accused of undesirable behavior, being lazy, being irresponsible, lack of interest and so on…
NT parents, in the interest of wanting to better connect to their child are joining autism groups to gain further understanding of their child and how to parent them. They seek support from those who know the pleasures and the challenges of parenting a child on the spectrum. There are also parents thought to be NT who later find they too are on the spectrum. It is important that we band together and continue lifting our voices in groups and as individuals. This world can be a better place for us all.
I speak to you from personal experience.
In my childhood I was completely misunderstood. My behaviors and abilities were undesired by my parents. For being smart and having a love of sharing information I was condemned a trouble maker and a nuisance; for stemming, slow response to questions, lack of eye contact or too much eye contact and a multitude of other behaviors I was yelled at and/or beaten.
It hurts being slapped across the face because I stare blankly when asked a question I am struggling to process… and then… having to process why I was slapped… which leads to more slaps and yelling. I shut down…it is too much. I just stand there and take the abuse.
Perhaps there are parents that can only see themselves in the role of parent…. as if in an altered state, no longer aware of what it is to be a person.
It is as if becoming a parent makes one…godlike.
In a moment of anger, a parent may react harshly if they don’t immediately get the response they require. It is assumed the child is being disobedient. Has this parent forgotten what it is to be a child? Is there any wonder as to why some parents have difficulties relating to their child let alone relating to their child on the spectrum?
Autism is on both sides of my family. But that did not make childhood any easier. I suspect both my parents being somewhere on the spectrum; mom disconnected and childlike and dad a mathematical genius who hated higher education and all forms of authority. They were unfamiliar with the word Autism until my son was diagnosed. By then it was too late for them to understand me or even care to try. The deed was done…I’m invisible. All energy and hope are now placed on my son.
I could go on and on about this subject, but I will end my discussion with this….
I am an autistic parent who is raising as autistic child. I know the struggles and wake up ready for the fight everyday. I know the joys, triumphs and freedoms of being a parent who has an unspoken understanding of her child and I know the beauty of sharing the same corner of the universe with him.
There are some differences in the way NT and Autist parents experience their autistic child(ren). There are some differences in our ability to understand and our approach to dealing with the day-to-day challenges.
And yes, there are children that have been hurt by parents who’ve misunderstood.
If ever there were a call for change in the level of awareness and understanding…it is now. If ever there were a call to revamp the direction chosen in taking the measures to achieve higher levels of awareness and understanding…it is now.
We as a whole we will have to figure out how to bridge the gaps in communication between all groups involved (NT parents/Autistic parents/Autistic Individuals/Autistic children and teens/Siblings, spouses and friends of autistics/Professionals).
All groups need to be acknowledged and heard because all groups have their own perspectives.
- Temple Grandin on The Autistic Brain (wnyc.org)
- The Closing of Autism Awareness Month! This Will Capture Your Heart…Mothers Who Love Beyond Autism (everythinggirlslove.com)
- Autism Friendly Church (communitymissionblog.wordpress.com)
- Autism: of mice, men and my little bro | Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett (guardian.co.uk)
- Broken Promises for Parents of Autistic Children in CA (momsrising.org)
- The 12 Myths Of Autism (beyondautismawareness.wordpress.com)