Monday, August 10, 2015

You May Be An Autism Parent If...

Tate, aged 13
My son Tate has autism. He is thirteen years old. I will never appreciate the challenges that autism causes my son and our family but I do appreciate the people I have come to love that are part of the autism community. As Tate grows older and I meet more and more people affected by autism I find so much we often have in common. I came up with this list. Not all of it will apply to you but a lot of it might.

You may be an autism parent if…

1. you toss around words like perseverate, echolalia, and reciprocity in casual conversation.

2. you do not even have to stop and decipher acronyms like IEP, IDEA, ESY and BCBA anymore because they are part of your everyday vocabulary.

3. you know what a visual schedule is and have relied on one to help your  child to get through the day.

4. you have alarms on the doors of your home and your heart breaks just a little more every time you read about another child from the autism community who has gone missing.

5. your inbox is flooded with messages anytime there is a trending new “cure” for autism or a new theory about its cause. Relatives, friends, and even acquaintances are willing to help in this way. Got broccoli?

6. you have no need to keep track of a grocery list because your child only eats five things. (Broccoli is not one of them.) 

7. you know the names of almost every character from almost every animated movie ever made and you can quote much of the dialogue.  
8. you have learned the name of every Thomas the tank engine character, read train books until you are hoarse, and put together countless train track pieces with your child.

9. there is someone in your life who could use a breath mint, ought to get a haircut, or needs to lose a few pounds, your kid will break the news to them. No problem. It is just a service he offers. 

10. you hear clich├ęs every day. “Everything happens for a reason” and “God only gives special children to special people” are phrases you have heard from complete strangers.   

11. you have tee shirts and jewelry with puzzle pieces on them and your car sports an autism awareness bumper sticker.

12. you never leave home without a tablet and a charger. And if the battery on your kid’s tablet goes dead you and your kid both may cry.

13. you know where every restroom and every exit is for all the places you frequent with your child.

14. the people at the few restaurants your child will eat at, know you and your child very well. They even know your kid’s order before you give it.

15. you use a transition warning before most changes, large or small.

16. you have ever laid awake at night either wondering how you were going to afford all the things your child needed or worrying about his future.

17. you silently scream inside when your child is taught about something like germs at school knowing it will probably begin another obsession.

18. you have ever had someone ask, “Your child has autism? So, what is his ‘special gift?’”

19. you wish there was some way you could convey your thanks to all your child’s therapists and teachers and paraprofessionals to show them just how much they mean to you. But you know there is no gift big enough and no words strong enough to tell them how thankful you are for all the things they do for your child.

20. you hate it when those in the autism community debate vaccinations, the use of the word “autistic,” or whether or not a “cure” for autism would be a good thing or a bad thing. And you wonder why we cannot all just respect each other’s opinions and get along.


  1. Awesome post! Number 9 and number 15 made me laugh - so so true! I have a bad habit of giving transition warnings to my husband. :)

  2. I love this post. I may not see it from the parental standpoint but change trains to Dinosaurs and that was me to a t (as I've grown older my interests have expanded but I still tend to have Maniac add to the end of each one). I also agree with the vocabulary (although with my family being mostly doctors and writers that could also explain it). Also I agree whole heartedly with you opinion on platitudes. Some days I feel like smacking the next person who tells me that it's part of God's plan or nothing happens without a reason, because :1 if this is God's plan he has a sadistic streak, 2 I'm not a big fan of anyone whose plans involve watching people suffer, and 3 most people who say that only do so because they are uncomfortable and want to extricate themselves quickly without offending... If my existence makes you uncomfortable then go on and leave but don't spout some platitude to make yourself look innocent. (Sorry I know I rant too much).

  3. Bonus points if you are on the spectrum as well lol

  4. there is just too much for me to say, but I am so glad I found you. I still stuggle every day trying to be strong and not let my grandson live in a world where he would rather be naked than wear clothes, he is now 13 and he still has no problem being naked, which I do, and have had to enforce stick rules about coming out in the living room naked. It is so hard because he is only comfortable in his own skin and I can't imagine having to battle that every single second of every single day. Gamma.

  5. Wow lots of the comments rang true to me. My issue is the parents, my Grandson's are 10 and 6 years old. Right now we are most concerned about the 6 yr. old. He has already had class suspension for behavior. Somehow I pray to be able to reach the parents and make them see that the child needs counseling, therapy and or what ever it takes to help him behave & sensory issues. His brother is a pica child. And does not eat a variety of foods at all. We take care of the boys every day after school, sick days & vacation days. Their Mother is self centered. I cannot buy try to help the child cope with what is required of him. We are hoping for school intervention, but this should have been addressed 2 years ago. They both do not like to print & color. Do not ride bikes, etc. They need help. Concerned & worried.