This may be a shock to some of you, but you can support parents of autistic children and autistic people too.
They’re not mutually exclusive, as some would have you believe.
In my case, it’s frustrating to be accused of ableism simply for sharing words of encouragement with parents of autistic children.
As we know, raising kiddos with autism is often challenging. And it’s okay to say that it’s hard. Being a parent is hard! And special-needs parenting brings its own challenges. Admitting that parenthood can have very difficult moments does not mean we don’t love our kids. It doesn’t mean we hate autistic people. It means, simply, that we sometimes need support, both emotional and practical.
Sometimes, you need to hear that you’re doing a great job at advocating for your child, even if despite your best effort, the results aren’t coming at school.
Sometimes, you need to hear that everything’s gonna be okay, after another night of stopping your kiddo from hitting their head against the wall.
Sometimes, you need to hear that you’re allowed to take a night off, to feel, for a few hours, that you’re more than a caregiver — that you are your own person.
To the ActuallyAutistic community, please understand this:
Parents are not the enemy
I’m truly sorry if your parents were unkind to you, ignorant of what you needed, but the world is wide and long, and others’ mileage varies.
Many parents of autistic children dedicate their lives to caring for their disabled children. A 24/7 lifelong job, without a day off. It’s love, it’s a responsibility, and sometimes it’s hard.
Parents want the best for their children. They want their autistic children to be happy, safe, and independent. There’s room for everyone in the autistic community, for autistic people and the parents raising them. Supporting everyone does not mean you hate the other because, with respect and communication, you’ll see how aligned our goals actually are.