Dear Other Parents, Don’t Be Afraid to Say This to My Kid With Autism

No, it’s not OK.

“He’s fine, Mama. It’s totally OK that he’s ripped up all the bedding off my kid’s bed and buried himself under the covers.” 

No, it’s not. He just made a huge mess in your kid’s room. OK, that room was a bit messy to begin with, but he added to the chaos.

“Don’t worry about that glass he dropped. It’s OK. No big deal.”

Yes, it is. He took something of yours and destroyed it — doesn’t matter if it was high-end crystal or one of Wal-Mart’s finest. It is no longer.

“Oh, don’t worry. Doesn’t matter that he ripped the toy out of my kid’s hands. He can have it. It’s OK. He’s the guest.” 

No! This is not okay. Yes, he has autism, but dammit, he doesn’t get a free pass!

“It’s OK. He doesn’t know any better.” 

Well, how will he ever if we don’t show him that this behavior is not OK? I will always be scanning the scene for potential triggers. I will also be the first one to jump on him when one gets past me before I could intercept.

He may have autism but he’s also a 10-year-old boy, an only child to boot. You think my kiddo doesn’t have the potential to be a bit of a jerk? Oh, let me assure you, he has met that milestone many a time.

I will make him apologize. I will make him clean up his mess. I will make him give back the toy and take turns Do me a favor. Let me. Don’t give him a get-out-of-jail-free card. That’s not really going to teach him a thing.

I know you love him. I’m grateful you do. I owe you big time that you do put up with some of the accommodations he needs.

Please, please do not let this kiddo just get away with something you wouldn’t let any other kid his age get away with.

Now, like any kid who isn’t your kid, by all means, look to me if you need some guidance. I wouldn’t know what to do with your kids either. I do know some basics. You can say “No” to my kid. Yes, he does understand it — along with, “excuse me,” “wait your turn,” and “stop it.” Feel free to say any of these as needed.

You may think we live a very structured and scheduled life but for us it’s OK. We’re not looking for a free ride. To us, that’s not OK.

You know what’s OK?  Fries. Fries are always OK.

This post originally appeared on Autism With a Side of Fries.

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