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Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's Wrong With That Child?

When you have a child with Autism that is a question you will hear more times then you can count. Every time your child has a meltdown in a store. Each time the begin punching themselves or jabber inconsistently at a family gathering. Yep, family is not immune. Anyone who does not understand Autism and its inner workings is going to think that your child is spoiled, or that you are simply not disciplining them.

“Spoiled Brat.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that from family and perfect strangers. It will wear on not only your nerves but break your heart as well.

How do you stop it?


You could stop everyone that makes a rude comment and explain to them what is going on but that can take up a lot of time and get tedious after a while. There are better ways to let people know that your child is not a spoiled brat without taking up half the day to explain it.

A simple and easy way is to print up business cards with a small amount of information about Autism on them. They explain basic information and can made up quite easily. You can find some that are pre-made and are easy to print out. Since they are small you can carry them in your purse or wallet and pass them out to anyone. Even family. The more people know the more they understand.

Another way is to purchase Autism Awareness T-shirt and merchandise. There are sites that have some great stuff to help promote Autism. Simply do a google search for Autism Merchandise and you will get all the leads you need. Do not be afraid or ashamed to tell the world that your child has Autism. The fact is, silence is your enemy. You must speak out most especially when your child cannot.

Now these methods are great and fine when explaining them to adults, not so much kids. Explaining to other small children or siblings so they understand can be difficult. Being the mother of three girls this is something that hits home.

My oldest and my youngest are not Autistic. Figuring out how to explain to them why their sister was screaming for no reason was not an easy thing to figure out. They didn’t understand words like, Autism, or Mental Disability. I can tell you how I explained it to them.

I started out by telling them that their sister’s brain simply worked differently then theirs did. That she needed more time to understand things.

Children with Autism hear and take in all the information and sounds around them.

My other children didn’t understand that fact. So I had to simplify it. I told them to imagine being in a small room filled with loud music and people screaming. I asked them if they thought they would be able to hear someone whispering from the other side of that room. That, they understood. I told them that this is how their sisters feels all the time and it is why we have to teach her differently.

It really didn’t take that long for them, even at 3 years old to understand what I was telling them and to realize the truth. I know it’s hard to listen to the sneers and ugly comments. I know the frustration you can feel. It’s not easy and you are not alone. The thing to remember is that ignorance is your enemy. Inform. Educate. Explain.