Autism Support: How to Be Supportive When Your Friend’s Child Is Autistic by Erin Musto
I have a friend named Faith. She has taught me many lessons, made me laugh and, at one time, her future made me scared. I look back now and don’t understand the fear – instead I just love who she is becoming.
Faith has autism. I remember the day I heard that Faith, of the twin set of Faith and Sydney, had autism spectrum disorder (ASD). It would be a long time from that day that I would understand what it meant. In retrospect, I think it is important to share the parts I wish I had done better. I wish I were a better friend to Faith’s mama, Kathi. Today seems like as good a day as any to point out all I wish I had done better, so that you can do it better when your friend needs you:
- When your friend’s child is diagnosed with autism, do not say, “Don’t worry, she isn’t that different than the other kiddos. She will catch up.” Just hug her and reassure her that you are there for the long run.
- Look into what autism is, and know what the struggle could be for her.
- Hug her again and remind her you will still be right there.
- Learn how to accommodate and care for her child so you can help build them and gift your friend a necessary break.
- Hug her again. By now you know deep pressure helps relieve the sensory, crazy world that she lives in.
- Learn to laugh at the funny stuff.
- Learn to love the time you spend microwaving 13 frozen chicken nuggets and reminding that amazing and unique child to “not be too bold.”
- Listen to her as she tells you stories and love every single drawing of adorable anime animals that were painstakingly drawn, cut and gifted to you.
Autism at first is scary, but just like so many other parts of life it can build the best people and families. What if we could remind our friend, our Kathi, that it is less of a disorder and more of a gift?
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