What is the proper way to respond to an autism parent about their special needs kid?

I have seen this issue online a lot with autism parents and experienced it first hand lately.

People are generally uncomfortable about addressing Jonah’s diagnosis and the implications with me or other autism parents out of fear of offending the parent.

What should I call his “condition?”

First of all, I want to say it is completely okay to refer to Jonah as autistic, or has autism, or is on “the spectrum,” or has developmental disabilities, or is developmentally delayed.

YOU WON’T HURT MY FEELINGS.

Honestly, to me it is like trying to figure out the right way to address his hair color…
Is he blonde? brunette? dirty blonde? sandy blonde?

Get it?

It is all true. And whatever your perception of his hair color is, I am more than okay with it, because whatever your conclusion, it doesn’t make Jonah any more or less. It matters that much.

Okay, let’s get past the awkwardness.

I call Jonah “ausome” because that is what he is. But since that isn’t a clinical definition, if you need me to break Jonah’s “ausomeness” down into a definition you understand, you may use whatever term you wish.

Just remember, Jonah is in the same company as

  • Albert Einstein
  • Nicolas Tesla
  • Amadeus Mozart
  • Michaelangelo
  • and possibly Thomas Jefferson

So as long as your definition of “ausome” matches that company, I’m good with it 😉

ALSO THIS.

Do you have a child/children with special needs? I would love to hear about your parenting tips.
Do you have a child/children without special needs? I would love to hear about your parenting tips.

If you are a parent, the fact that your child or children are Neurotypical (without any developmental disabilities) does not take away from your expertise or experience in parenting. I value the input or even the suggestions you may have.

But most of all, I value the time you have taken to reach out to me.

Please, do not be afraid to approach me or Julie when we are with Jonah and do not feel awkward asking about his autism.

I invite the questions. I invite the curiosity into a world with children who have special needs. Feel free to ask how we are doing, or what the process of evaluation is, or if he is talking yet, or how many words is he up to.

Because, from my perspective, it’s all bragging. And parents love to brag about their kids 😉

What do parents of special needs kids need most? They need the “village.” They need their community. They need individuals like you and me to reach out to them and ask questions, be involved and to pitch in.

Learn. Grow. Climb.

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Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (8) and Jonah (3) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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