I was reading a blog from Autism Daddy, who is one of my all time favorite bloggers (aside from my wife Aspiewriter of course). On his page he had a link to this post on Autism Parents & the Guilt Factor, which I thought was simply amazing. It was written by Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts.  It is an excellent article that I think all parents and family members of people on the spectrum should read.

Autism Daddy made the point that this writers blog doesn’t seem to be widely circulated, and after reading this article I just thought I’d help in spreading the word around. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and hope you do too.

This paragraph especially got to me:

4. Acceptance
On asking adults with autism “What’s the single piece of advice you would give to parents of autism spectrum kids?” the answer is almost always a unanimous “Unconditional love and acceptance.” For just a moment, view your child’s perspective. Almost every action gets corrected. Almost every behavior is modified. Method of play is considered inappropriate. Self stimulatory behavior is often halted. Your child is constantly being told to think, talk and act in a way that is foreign to his inner nature. It can’t be easy to keep one’s self esteem intact. I certainly advocate teaching as many skills as possible to help your child function in life. However, it’s essential your child knows you believe he is perfect just the way he is. It’s simply unfortunate that others might have difficulty understanding him. Your child should intrinsically know the reason he’s learning new skills and altering his behavior is not because you want to change him, but because it will help others relate to him, grant him acceptance and allow him to lead a more productive life. The next time you feel guilty about not correcting your child’s behavior or mannerisms, remember that delighting in your child’s unique qualities is just as important as teaching appropriate actions.

I tend to yell at my oldest a lot. He automatically reaches the end of my patience from the word go. It’s not because I’m frustrated with him…it’s because I’m so frustrated with me…because I can’t teach him things that will help him NOT be teased, or NOT be ridiculed.

As a child I was never the one who fit in. I was the poor kid in second-hand clothing who had no idea what was going on in the world. Most of the time I didn’t have a TV, I wasn’t allowed to go to movies, trick or treat, go to parties (not that I was ever invited), participate in school activities or after school activities etc. etc. I hungered for acceptance, did things that I thought would get me that acceptance only to find out I was being used later on. I was the one everyone teased and who never fit in.

I never wanted my kids to have to go through that, and it was my job to teach them things to make sure that never happened. My kids however, are harder to teach. Every time I see my oldest, and try to teach him something, he doesn’t get it. Or can’t stop concentrating on the things he’s pondering to receive it. Our communication is blocked, not by language or understanding but by blocks I can’t understand or circumvent. My frustrations aren’t with him…it’s with my own failure. Luckily my kids still seem to love me. Sometimes those little acts of love they show me comfort and teach me much more than I think I’ve ever imparted to them.

This is why when I read this post I had to share it. If even one other person besides me gets something from it, it was worth it.

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