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When a Mom Told Me She's 'Blessed' Her Son's Autism Isn't Like My Son's

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I’m a proud mom of a loving, happy, fun child who happens to have been diagnosed with nonverbal autism. There are so many parents raising children on the autism spectrum. One would think the parenting community would be one filled with uplifting words, support and understanding. By and large, it is. I’ve met some of the most wonderful parents since my child’s diagnosis. They have become dear friends of mine on this journey. Occasionally though, there is an unexpected encounter with a mom bully. You would think they wouldn’t exist in our parenting community but sadly, they do.

You will know you’ve encountered a mom bully by the way they make you feel. They try to tear you and your child down in a variety of ways. Mentioning their child’s therapies are superior to the ones your child is receiving, that their child’s specialty diet is superior to what you’re feeding your child, how their IEP gets their child more services and supports than yours or how they’re so fortunate that their child is higher functioning than yours. Most recently in the waiting room of my child’s speech therapy office, a mother said she was blessed her son didn’t have autism like my son’s. That’s right, while we were both waiting for our sons to finish the same speech therapy session.

It came as a shock to me initially that there would be parents like this among all the amazing parents there are. I’m one to run from confrontation. To bite my tongue, silently reeling from the hurt feelings, leaving the situation as fast as possible. Since as far back as I can remember, people have told me I need to grow a thicker skin. I try to treat others how I would like to be treated. Simple acts of kindness and compassion go so far in this world.

On that note, I would like to thank these mom bullies. What encountering them has taught me is I didn’t need to grow a thick skin after all. Becoming a mother is all I needed. I love my child with that fierce mama bear love that parents with children on the spectrum deeply understand. Saying you love them with all your heart doesn’t even begin to cover it. So now when I encounter a mom bully saying hurtful comments, I fearlessly speak up for not only my child and my family, but for all the other children and families these bullies hurt. I calmly call out that what they are saying is not appropriate. I give them perspective on how their words can affect others. Long gone is the old me who would run out of a room as fast as she could if things got tense. I hold my head higher and my step is lighter these days. My son cannot verbally advocate for himself — yet. Through him, I have found not only my own voice but my purpose.

Getty image by master1305

Originally published: August 6, 2018
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