10 Moms Share What They Want You to Know About Autism

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Raising a child with special needs can be an incredibly challenging, and oftentimes isolating, experience. In a world that often doesn't understand children who communicate differently, parents are constantly called upon to make sure their children's voices are heard. So in honor of Autism Awareness Month, we reached out to moms all over, including those at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders in Woodland Hills, California, to find out what they want people to know about their kids and others like them.

These are messages everyone needs to hear if we, as a society, are ever going to truly understand and help families of kids with autism; indeed, they could be the key to making sure these children grow up to lead happy, productive lives. The bottom line? As different as autistic kids might seem, they're still kids -- and they need our love and support.

More from The Stir: Autism Taught Me to Love My Children for Who They Are -- Not Who They Might Be

Here's what 10 of your fellow moms want you to know about raising an autistic child...

 

Image via iStock.com/STILLFX

  • A Need to Be Heard

    1

    "People with autism want to be appreciated and included, just like everyone else. Children on the spectrum need love and friendship, even if they have trouble with touch, eye contact, or using words to express their wishes for closeness. Young adults with autism yearn for meaningful work, significant relationships, and as much independence as possible. Like all minority groups, individuals with autism want to overcome prejudice against them and show the world what they can do. People on the spectrum may have different wiring and unusual sensitivities, but if you make the effort to get to know them and accommodate their needs, I think you'll see a mix of talent, motivation, and gratitude beyond what you might have expected."

    -- Marguerite Elisofon, author of My Picture Perfect Family: What Happens When One Twin Has Autism

  • No Two the Same

    2

    “Not all children with autism are the same. One child with autism is one child with autism. Each [is] different." -- Anonymous mom

    More from The Stir: 11 Autistic Kids Explain 'What Autism Really Means'

  • The Greatest Joy

    3

    "Having a child with autism has given us our biggest challenges in this life, but also access to the greatest joys we have ever known." -- Lindsey Articolo, mom

  • A Gift to Treasure

    4

    "They are a special gift from God too no matter how little or profound their disability -- they are here in this world for a purpose." -- Anonymous mom

  • Patience Is Key

    5

    "Kids with autism are aware of the looks and comments, although it might take them longer to process it. People should not treat them like they have a contagious disease, but understand that the way they process information is different, and ... be patient."

    -- Carol Cooper, mom and creator of Ready, Set, Go Play Therapy Bears (therapy toys for kids with autism and other issues)

  • More Than a Diagnosis

    6

    "Individuals with autism are more than their diagnosis. They are people trying to make sense of our world and function accordingly. Rather than try to make them fit in our keyhole, we should be willing to modify our way of thinking to focus on their strengths and competencies -- rather than emphasizing their deficits." -- Anonymous mom

    More from The Stir: Autism From A to Z: Everything a Mom Needs to Know

  • Learning Is Power

    7

    "I wish people knew that no matter how severely a child or adult with autism is affected, they are all capable of learning in their own way with the right supports in place." -- Anonymous mom

  • Change Happens

    8

    "Their bodies function as a typical teenager [during puberty]. So meeting their needs can be a more challenging dynamic." -- Anonymous mom

  • All You Need Is Love

    9

    "Initially, you can only see loss and fear: loss of the normal parenting experience everyone else seems to have, fear for your child. But then a slow miracle unfolds and you grow to LOVE being an autism mom. It's wacky and fun and totally left-of-center. It makes neurotypical parenting look excruciatingly dull." -- Anonymous mom

    More from The Stir: 10 Inspiring People With Autism Who've Accomplished Amazing Things 

  • Making Connections

    10

    “I wish people know how hard the children work to learn new skills and make meaningful connections with others; I wish people knew how hard families have to fight to get the help their kids need.” -- Anonymous mom

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