Three Ways to Support Parents of Children on the Autism Spectrum
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is not something that parents dream of when they start a family. The diagnosis is a lifelong commitment that can strain relationships and finances.
So what can we do to help?
#1 Learn about autism
Autism covers a broad spectrum. What this means is that individuals with autism have varying degrees of ability. Some individuals on the spectrum have good expressive language skills and ability and others may be non-verbal. To be supportive to parents, show a genuine interest and ask them how autism affects their child. Learn about autism and be informed.
#2 Don’t Judge
The world to a child on the autism spectrum can be overwhelming. This is sometimes exhibited through behaviour. Rather than assume that a child is misbehaving, recognize that the environment or experience is overwhelming for them and they are having a difficult time. Meltdowns and aggressive behaviour can leave parents feeling helpless. Be supportive and offer a safe, non-judgemental space where they can talk, breath or just be. Most parents of children on the autism spectrum want and need support. Being a person who supports by listening and being there for them when they need to vent is a way to demonstrate understanding.
#3 Be inclusive
Many individuals with autism struggle socially and are sometimes not invited to play dates and birthday parties. This can be heartbreaking for parents to watch. If you notice this is happening arrange a playdate. Not only will you make a difference in the life of a child and their family but also your own life.