Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Input from a parent on the Autism Spectrum

I'm very grateful to Vicky (outoutout from the Autism Women's Network ) for answering a few questions about being a parent on the Autism spectrum.

1) What is this biggest challenge(s) of being a parent on the Autism spectrum?

For me, the biggest challenge is dealing with my children's need for my attention. Sometimes I just need to take a break from 'everything', all stimulation, and unfortuantely that's not always possible.

2) How do you overcome that challenge(s) ?
By taking frequent, short breaks - usually in the bathroom! I've also involved my children in some of my relaxation/stimming activities, such as listening to music and spinning. They do the same, and we all stim together.

3) What do you wish other people would know about parents on the Autism spectrum?

That we exist. That we are capable of being functional just like everyone else. We may not do things exactly the way the rest of the world does them, but we do them just fine.

4) Is it hard to relate to other parents not on the spectrum?

For me, it is. With parents of children on the autism spectrum, I often find myself sympathising more with the kids than the adults. If I tell the other parents that I'm autistic, too, I'm treated differently, so I feel I've got to hide it. It also doesn't help that many of the other parents are 'yummy mummy' types who like to gossip about men and fashion, two subjects I just cannot feign much interest in.

5) What do you think communities could do to support parents on the Autism spectrum?

Hmmm not really sure, to be honest. Perhaps a bit more understanding is in order. Understanding that we're competent people, too. Reach out to us. Talk to us.