Autism is quite new to me. O is 8 and it’s only in the past 12 months that ” autism” was brought into the equation.
Although having a child with mental health illnesses is not new to me.
Something that really does annoy and frustrate me is the complete lack of understanding that people have.
Both of my boys ( the ones with mental health issues) can be difficult. Their behaviour can be challenging to say the least.
But as a parent you learn to separate what is bad behaviour and what is a result of their condition.
Most people it seems , cannot do this.
My 17 year old has been mostly nocturnal for a good 3 years now. We have tried so hard to get his sleeping patterns on track but it never lasts too long, but you wouldn’t believe the number of times over the years I’ve been told ” oh just tell him to go to bed when he’s supposed to ”
oh , right , so that’s where I’ve been going wrong
The school refusal began at the age of 14 , the most common advice I got was ” why don’t you just MAKE him go ”
” if I was you I’d be dragging him all the way to the school”
really dragging a 14 year old 9 miles on 2 buses ? Why didn’t I think of that
Both of them have had some pretty big tantrums , things have been broken , these are not naughty tantrums , these are meltdowns , but I’ve been told many a time to ” not let them do that ”
” why don’t you tell him that’s not allowed ?”
And the old chestnut ” if that was my kid there’s no way he’d be doing that ”
ah, so you must be an expert in mental health and how to deal with these situations ?
Again with the 8 year old the school refusal was an issue ” he’s 8 , just put his coat on and drag him there ”
” if that was my kid I’d take him to school in his pyjamas ” really , humiliate a child with autism ??
The number of times I’ve been told to ” just not let him wear his hoodie” makes me want to poke people with hot sticks
And the number of times I’ve heard people tell him ” it’s hot , just take it off ”
It goes on and on. People who have no experience or understanding telling you what you should be doing.
All of which is ridiculous and wrong
And then you get the ” oh no that must be sooo terrible , how do you cope ”
” oh how awful , how can they make him better ”
” hopefully he will grow out of it”
” are you telling people … Or is it a secret ? ”
What you never ever hear is … ” I don’t know what I would do if my child was refusing to go to school …. Have you tried …. Have you read …. Would you like me to have a look for information ”
You never hear ” what could I do to help you out ” ( although you will often hear god you look tired )
You never hear ” oh he has autism , I don’t know much about that , what does it mean ”
If you know a mum with an autistic child , or a child with mental health illnesses instead of telling her what she should be doing , or how tired she looks , or telling her things that you think you know ( but don’t know atall ) about autism , why not ask her what it means , where you can find out more
Why not ask if there’s anything she needs help with.
Why not tell her that while it looks like hard work and you’re sure she must be exhausted , well done for getting out of the house today.
We aren’t walking around looking for expert advice from every Tom dick or Harry that we cross paths with , but we all appreciate a little support and understanding sometimes.