What Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum Want You to Know
There are many stereotypes surrounding autism. For some parents, these stereotypes can make it hard to cope with an autism spectrum diagnosis for their child. However, once you get to live and experience what it is like to parent a child who is neurodivergent, you begin to see the beauty in the unique way each child perceives the world.
This is why we wanted to share directly from the parents who have kids on the autism spectrum. They are the ones who truly know what it is like to parent a child with autism. (If you want to know what being on the spectrum is like, you should ask autistic individuals.) They are the ones who get to experience firsthand the parenting challenges but also the beauty and unique perspective their children bring into their lives and the world.
We reached out to the parents in our community and asked them, “What do you appreciate about your child’s neurodiversity, and how they see the world from a different perspective?”
These were their responses:
1. “My 8-year-old has taught me how to see the world in a different light as well — to see things outside of the box. How to take one day at a time — that the small things in life that are going to go on next week don’t matter today. To focus on the here and now.” — Stephanie D.
2. “I love that my son has so much empathy for others. He seems to just block out the bad in someone… And I love that as his communication is flourishing, others are getting to see it now, too.” — Sherry M.
3. “My teenage son is so honest and has so much integrity! He is also intelligent, creative, sweet and hilarious.” — Heather W.
4. “My son always sees the good in people. Even people who are mean to him, he always finds the good.” — Brenda B.
5. “The unique perspective and take on situations which is often not what most of us would take away. Also his ability to keep finding the positive in a situation even when it may seem bleak to some.” — Kellie L.
6. “His deep passion for the things that interest him. The innate ability to focus on one topic for hours simply for the love of learning will never cease to amaze me. If I could only have a fraction of that ability to commit so fully because a single topic brings you joy.” — Tara W.
7. “I love my son’s personality. He is loving, caring, sweet and very funny. I wouldn’t change him for anything.” — Kelly C.
8. “How he cleans up after himself, puts things back where they belong, and turns off lights not being used.” — Jessica D.
9. “I love my son’s joy for life. I love that he sees his autism as a positive trait. That he has learned to be so resilient, and his default emotion is happy… I love that he has taught me more about myself in the 10 years of his life than I learned in the 31 years before he came along.” — Trere B.
10. “She sees joy in the light and shadows invisible to others. Wind blowing and the sound of shuttering leaves makes her laugh. She takes my head between her hands and looks right into my soul. She wears her feelings inside-out, and they are beautiful and pure.” — Kristi M.
11. “My son has such an upbeat and positive attitude about life. Anytime someone is upset he gives them hugs and smiles, and it’s hard not to get happier seeing his face light up. He’s positive about the world. He has so much love in his heart, he has no room for hate or hurting with relationships. He gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. He [is] happy [to be] different. He now throws it out there as a star quality he has: ‘I have autism!’ Loud and proud. It makes him who he is, and I could not be more thankful to have a child like him, autism included. It has made life so much more fulfilling. We have our hard days and meltdowns like any other, but his spirit never fails or falters. It’s unbelievably bright. Always.” — Kristen Z.
12. “My son is 6… and he is friendly and accepting to everyone. No discrimination — everyone is equal. He always tells me he loves me, and if I’m not smiling he’ll see me and say, ‘Mommy happy? Smiley face!’ and will push my cheeks up to my ears and force me to smile. If I am hurt, he believes his kisses work like magic, ‘There. All better, Mom.'” — Rhonda NS.
13. “I appreciate his ideas, his attention to details, his connection with me and Dad and Grandma. He finds joy in small things, and he is beyond clever and interesting to be around! I love how, because of him, we learn new things every day, and I love how our point of view is shifting because we have the privilege to be his parents.” — Katarina M.
14. “He feels things intensely, and despite the stereotypes, he is very empathic. He is also very genuine. He’s not afraid to be his happy, playful self. He is also quick to make his thoughts and opinions known. He has taught us so much through his unique perspectives.” — Ann D.
15. “My daughter’s view of the world… in a time that’s filled with hate, malice and uncertainty, she always sees the good and the innocent.” — Shannonngary B.
16. “My son is 7, and he knows everything about dinosaurs. He’s even taught the tour guides at the local Natural History Museum a thing or two!” — Rachel D.
17. “He sees life without the clutter. His way of thinking is so efficient, without pretense or exaggeration. He doesn’t worry about what others think… he is so determined to do what he wants to and goes for it! And his default mood is always laughter and love. I wish sometimes that I could be more like him because sometimes I let the noise of life get in the way.” — Shanta R.
18. “My daughter is almost always happy! One of my favorite moments is when I’m driving and I look in my rear view mirror and she is just sitting there with a big smile on her face. Whatever she is thinking about in that moment gives her so much joy! My son on the spectrum is the funniest kid I’ve ever met. The way he sees the world and the wittiest responses shows that people with autism do indeed have humor!” — Jennifer B.
19. “My son is 100 percent unapologetically himself. He doesn’t seem to care about what society thinks he should be, and I love that about him.” — Jenny M.
20. “My son sees things I don’t and points them out, I love it.” — Susan G.
21. “[Our son] challenges us to be the best parents we could possibly be every day.” — Carrie L.
22. “I appreciate my son’s endless kindness and courage. At 23 he is battling Hodgkins Lymphoma but worries that I have to take care of him. He loves his friends fiercely. He works as a paraprofessional with kids with autism, and he gives me a hug every day. In my book, he is second to none.” – Jacque R.
23. “My daughter’s ability to forgive and move on and overcome. I love her persistence. Her resilience. Her honesty.” — Carol PS.
24. “My 6-year-old… senses [when] someone doesn’t ‘get’ him. He just goes and plays somewhere else, it doesn’t bother him at all. He is just a happy kid and that’s how I want to see the world.” — Sarah K.
25. “My son is very empathic, expresses concern for anyone in his own way. In real life, books, movies, his expressions are the best. He has a good heart and is very caring.” — Estela I.
26. “I love my son’s innocence and pure honesty. He never judges anyone.” — Michelle H.
27. “I love his ability to feel if people’s intentions are good or bad. If he refuses to talk to someone, that’s usually a good sign of the person’s character.” — Lee F.
28.“My child’s perseverance to keep trying. To see the world from his point of view is a beautiful view.” — Kerry K.
29. “My son thinks outside the box so he comes up with solutions that most people wouldn’t.” — Randy B.
What about you? What do you appreciate about your child’s neurodiversity and how they see the world from a different perspective? Let us know in the comments.
Getty image by monkeybusinessimages