Autism…. Learning about the ”WE” and not the “I”

When you have a special needs person in your life, it is always a learning experience. As the saying I use goes, ”I found my new normal and it’s a moving target.” Our youngest son is now seventeen and it took me about twelve years to finally start to understand how he thinks. The funny thing is, once I started to get the ‘we not I’ way of thinking, it helped me understand why some of my extended family members act and react the way they do.

Let me explain a little. The bottom line is this, when you say to someone with Autism, ADD, ADHD or something similar that they need to be to bed earlier since they woke up so early that day, usually you get a fit and a large argument. But if you say that we all woke up early and we should all go to bed early, that one individual seems to calm down and agree with you.

In our home we have learned to be creative and use we more than I. Yes, some might say that we are giving in, but we say why have an argument when you can just change the wording and make life a little easier?

Do you struggle with a special needs family member? What have you been able to do with changing one or two words?

Here are some practical tips we use to help the day a little better:

Things to do and say:       

  • Include yourself and talk as if you are a group.
  • Speak clearly and only use the facts.
  • Smile and be kind.
  • Make eye contact and smile.
  • Use kind speech and words.
  • Respect them as you would anyone.
  • Remember God created them unique.

Things not to do or say:

  • Don’t single them out.
  • Don’t use figures of speech
  • Don’t joke: jokes to them are insulting (even the most simplest joke is not the same for them)
  • Don’t expect the same in return when it comes to eye contact. (eye contact for them sometimes can be overstimulating)                                                                                                   
  • Don’t yell or use harsh words (a soft voice goes much further with them)
  • Don’t treat them with disrespect….they are people too.           
  • Don’t treat them like they are weird.

We are all unique in our own way and have been wonderfully made. Your uniqueness might make you just as strange to someone else as they are to you.  Remember to be kind and respectful to each person you encounter. Most of the time we can navigate life much better that way.

Lynn A.C. Wilson – Resume of a Mother

 

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