Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ways to Help a Family Dealing with Autism

Jessica over at Four Plus an Angel, posted this yesterday, and I thought I would share.

Thank you Jessica!


Ways to Help a Family Dealing with Autism

by Jessica on August 29, 2011 

Lately it seems that I have been surrounded by people whose children are newly diagnosed with autism. Talking them through the days ahead brings back memories of what it was like for us.
Autism is an all-consuming disorder and when your children are young and you are dredging your way through those early years, wondering what the future is going to be like, there isn’t a lot of time to come up for air.

Here are a few things you can do to support someone who has a child on the autism spectrum:

1. Ask what they need. Running errands with a child with autism is very difficult. They are often overwhelmed in public places. I left many a full grocery cart in the store when my daughter was growing up because she just could not make it through the rest of the trip. If you are running anywhere, the dry cleaners, the grocery store, the pharmacy, call and see if they need anything. Ask often. It may take them a while to get comfortable with your offer before they give in and let you do it.

2. Invite them to your house, on a play date, anywhere. Having a child with autism is very isolating. He or she is usually not the playmate other children their age choose. They get overlooked and, in turn, their moms do too. Do you know who the best teacher is for a child with autism? A child without. Even if they come over and the child with autism is only interested in your heater vents and your kitchen sink, invite them again. If a play date doesn’t seem like it would work for whatever reason, ask the mom out for coffee or a glass (or bottle) of wine. She needs your company and a night out, more than she even knows.

3. Include them. Does your husband coach soccer? Are you a Girl Scout leader? Sunday school teacher? Friends with your daughter’s dance instructor? Invite them to join. Do whatever you can ahead of time to prepare others to be open and accepting to their child. Being out and about in the community is very difficult for families of children with autism. Many don’t get involved in activities for years because they are worried about how their child with handle the situation and how others will treat them. The best thing you can do is make sure they feel welcome and pave the way for them to join, making sure they feel supported and not judged.

Remembering August 29th, 2010

Ohhh Maxer...

Remembering August 30th, 2010

Ellie LOVED watermelon. This is another favorite (I know- they are all FAVORITES!) of Ellie. Her shiny eyes and beautiful smile. After she'd suck all the juice out of the watermelon, she'd bang that nasty, gross, sticky net on her tray and fake cry for more.
A rare sight- Max actually CHOOSING to sit and play near Ellie.
Kinda checking each other out... SO CUTE!!
Ellie loved her brother SO much! Look at her looking at him.

 Ellie SWINGING in her jumper... It was about this point where we had to take the jumper away!

Spaghetti Boy!


Angie said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing Jessica's post. I will share it with my facebook friends because I think this simple list is so important. xo

Kelly said...

OMG, love Ellie's arm rolls in those pictures. :)

Our Journey said...

Love this post. When I was a classroom teacher I worked with Autistic children and find what you wrote in this post to be so true. Include them! It's all about education and inclusion.
Love the pics!!!

Jessica said...

Thanks so much for sharing Tiffany, truly appreciate it.

Jessica said...

I have to comment again because I am reading through your story and my heart just breaks for you. I will remember Elle's story and hope to be one more person to help you keep her memory alive. Sending a million hugs, from one grieving mom to another.

Rissa said...

You don't know who I am, but I have been following your blog for quite some time now. Thank you so much for reposting this list because it rings so true with me and my family right now. I have a 4-yr-old boy who is in the middle of all of the testing and assessments for autism. He has already been diagnosed with an onslaught of different diagnoses, and has multiple therapy appointments each and every week. This list is exactly how I feel and what I go through on a daily basis. I don't take him anywhere because I know that he can't handle it, and the looks that people throw our way are just awful. It is scary, lonely, and isolating - this post could not be more accurate. Thank you again. I think about you, your family, and your sweet Ellie often.

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