5 Things You Shouldn’t Say To An Autism Mum

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Being the mum of a child with autism is tough, and it can be made harder by the thoughtless comments and judgments that other people often make.

It may be a case of people just not knowing enough about autism, which is fine but some comments are insensitive and some are just plain rude. Here’s a few that I’ve come across so far…

1. “He looks fine to me”

Firstly, just spending a few minutes with him isn’t going to give you an accurate picture of what he is like all the time and the daily struggles that we face. Secondly, he IS fine. He isn’t ill, there is nothing ‘wrong’ with him. His brain just works in a different way to yours or mine.

2. “Will he grown out of it?”

Erm, no. He was born this way, it’s who he is. Yes of course he can learn ways to cope with it but he isn’t going to simply grown out of it.

3. “He just needs discipline”

He isn’t being naughty, he doesn’t need disciplining. I can understand how it may appear to anyone who doesn’t know him or know much about autism. But believe me, he isn’t behaving the way he does through a lack of discipline.

4. “What makes you think he’s autistic?”

There isn’t really anything wrong with asking this, it’s cool if you’re genuinely interested in autism and want to know more about it. But it’s just one of those questions that I get asked A LOT and I don’t always feel like reeling off a list of all his autistic quirks.

5. “But he makes eye contact”

Yes he does, occasionally,but most of the time he will look to the side of you or off into the distance. He isn’t incapable of making eye contact, it just isn’t comfortable for him. He will sometimes make eye contact with you very very briefly but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t autistic, a lack of eye contact is NOT a requirement for an autism diagnosis.

Thank you for reading.


27 Comments

  1. March 11, 2016 / 11:20 am

    Enjoyed this post. my brother suffers from late global development and autism, and luckily I have never been asked any of these questions. If i did i would just based it on curiosity, as some people really are so unaware. x

    • March 11, 2016 / 1:19 pm

      Yes I think it’s down to a lack of understanding of autism. There really should be more awareness xx

  2. March 11, 2016 / 1:00 pm

    It’s good to speak up about this. I think too many people feel they need to say something to be nice to parents of autistic children but they fail to realize that saying nothing is often better than blurting out whatever comes to mind. It’s hard to believe that so many people still don’t understand autism. I hope awareness continues to grow.

  3. March 11, 2016 / 1:36 pm

    Completely agree with your blog! Some people have terrible word vomit! I think it really is a lack of understanding people need to make themselves more aware! Great blog! ❤️Rhi xx
    smilesweetiehq.wordpress.com

  4. March 11, 2016 / 2:23 pm

    I remember going on evening walks with my mom. Whenever we passed this one house a little girl would run up to the door and scream. After a few weeks of this (we could also hear her scream from out house) my mom said “someone needs to give her a spanking!” I had been working with an autistic child at my job and recognized the signs. “She probably has autism and it’s just what she does.” A few weeks after that my mom was walking alone and saw the older brother of the girl and the girl outside. My mom asked him why she screamed all the time. He told her she was autistic. I definitely feel that people can be rude or intrusive when they don’t understand something. This list is great to start to educating others.

    • March 23, 2016 / 7:42 pm

      Thank you. People definitely need to know more about autism x

  5. March 11, 2016 / 5:31 pm

    All of these sound ridiculous to me. Some people just have no idea about learning difficulties! I used to be a special needs teacher in a secondary SEN school so I know how insensitive and ignorant some people are! P x

    • March 23, 2016 / 7:45 pm

      They are so ridiculous. There seems to be a lot of talk about autism at the moment and lots on TV about it, so maybe things will get better as people learn more. x

  6. March 12, 2016 / 1:32 pm

    A lot of people are naive when it comes to Autism and just don’t understand. Unless they are literally faced with it, they don’t get it. This sadly applies to a lot of Special Needs situations. I know with Ashleigh over the years I learnt things, things she liked, things she didn’t like, for instance she is very comfortable at home and gets very unsettled and stressed if she goes to anyone’s else’s home, so…I stay home with her, family must come to our house …often they don’t get it, but I am over that.

    • March 23, 2016 / 7:46 pm

      You have to learn ways to cope don’t you? Sometimes it isn’t worth causing a melt down over x

  7. March 14, 2016 / 8:01 pm

    I echo a lot of the above comments re people just not understanding autism. Great post -albeit frustrating though x

  8. March 16, 2016 / 11:16 am

    It must be so tough to have something that you know and is such a big part of your life questioned so often. People would never question if you said your child suffered from excema or something, even if it wasn’t visible. It’s the same with mental health issues as well, just because something is internal does not make it less of a thing. There really does need to be more awareness. Thanks so much for linking up with us! #bigpinklink

    • March 23, 2016 / 7:49 pm

      Exactly. There’s loads on TV at the moment about autism so hopefully that will help in raising awareness x

  9. March 16, 2016 / 9:20 pm

    Well said. As a mum of a child with ASD I hear these alot. X

  10. April 6, 2016 / 9:25 pm

    According to one Autism specialist that we saw, lack of eye contact is one of the main indicators of Autism, in fact that Dr. refused to diagnose Bex with autism, in the report from this Dr. it was mentioned several times the she had good eye contact. It was totally ignored, that she only began to make eye contact after intense therapy at home and school…She didn’t see that Dr Until she was 10, ( on wait lists for 5 years trying to get a diagnosis) and had been being treated as if she WAS on the spectrum at home and school for over 3 years! I totally agree with your statement, that kids with Autism can make eye contact, they can be taught, I believe they also do some naturally, but I have found that in stressful situations, the eyes slide to the side. Thanks for this list!

    • April 7, 2016 / 5:38 pm

      I think the eye contact things is so silly. They are capable of making eye contact but it might be very uncomfortable for them. Also a lot of people who aren’t autistic find eye contact difficult, I know I do. I do find that max will sometimes appear to be looking at your eyes but there’s a vacant look, as though he’s just looking straight through you x

  11. April 24, 2016 / 10:19 am

    I’m very interested in autism as I’ve kinda thought my daughter has ‘something’ about her but everybody tells me not to be silly! She’s normal. But I just don’t know :/

    • April 24, 2016 / 10:28 am

      That’s what it was like with Max. I knew deep down something wasn’t right but nobody listened to me to start with. How old is your daughter? x

      • April 24, 2016 / 11:13 am

        She’s 6. She has her very own unique ways about her and can play for hours on her own in her own little world. She can play well with other children too though. She only just got dry at night times at 6 years old earlier this year. She never goes to sleep at a good time. She’s awake till late in her room talking to herself, she struggles to get up in the morning and is very reluctant to move and get breakfast and get dressed. She dosnt seem to get ‘time’ in I’m always hurrying her up wich everyone tells me is normal. When you talk to her she’s always got sideways eyes it’s just so hard to explain all her quirks! She’s always ripping little tiny bits of paper and numbering them and hiding them in bags/pots. Any little things she collects and stuffs them where ever she can find hidey holes! If you ask her if she did it she says nothing but sideways looks at you. Everybody (family and friends) tell me she’s normal but I just have this feeling…and it worries me as I don’t want her to struggle as a teenager. I believe she has traits of adhd but ppl always seem to think that means she should be running around wild! She does find it hard to concentrate on a task…unless she’s sat there like I said cutting up little squares of paper and writing on them then stacking them up and wrapping hair bobbles around them and then finding somewhere to hide the package! I don’t know where to ask for advice!

        • April 24, 2016 / 11:29 am

          Some of the things you’ve mentioned do sound very similar to Max, it’s difficult though because all kids have their quirks so it’s hard to say what’s ‘normal’ and what’s not isn’t it. I raised my concerns with preschool and eventually they agreed to get someone in to observe him and he was referred from there. I would imagine it’d be her school you’d need to speak with x

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