My shock prevents me to answer the remark a complete stranger just said to me. I am waiting to pick up my oldest from kindergarten. At my feet is my three-year-old daughter who is laughing at a kid next to her. On the outside she looks like a regular kid. On the inside she is different, autistic. The stranger had watched her and walked over to me to say. “Everything happens for a reason.” And sauntered off to get her kid.
I know I should have thicker skin when it comes to remarks like that. I know I should let it roll off my back. I know I shall expect it again. It makes my brain go into what people should say. They are:
5 things Not to Say to an Autism Parent
- Everything happens for a reason.
- At least the child is healthy.
- That must be tough.
- Can’t you control your kid? ( or the nasty glances.)
- I don’t know how you do it.
- This kid is born to you because you are strong and can handle it all.
5 things to say to an Autism Parent
- How are you?
- Can I babysit sometime?
- Your kid is wonderful/smart/delightful.
- The world is a better place with your kid in it.
I wish to put this on a laminated card to hand out when people approach me like that lady. The bell rings and I put a smile on my face to greet my kindergartener. As we race to the playground for some fun, I wonder what the fifth thing that should be on that list.
What would you say to a parent with a child on the spectrum that is positive?