Saturday, June 11, 2016

Encourage Mothers of a Child with Autism


Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don't understand. Robert Brault





At a recent recital, a boy with autism sat in front of us. He would reach back and pat my leg, then the leg of my husband. His mother would ask him to turn around and he would – then it would be too much for him and he’d reach back again. It wasn’t bothering us, but I’m sure his mother was worried it would. I’ve been thinking of it since then and wonder what we are doing to encourage these mothers who never get a moment to relax.

1 in 88 children are born with autism. We often overlook the mothers of children who have autism. Every child diagnosed with autism is affected differently. But their mothers are all the same – working hard to be their advocate and to help their child live the best life they can. Too often our words can make them feel like an unfit mother – as though the diagnosis is somehow caused by inferior mothering. 



Here are some ways you can encourage these mothers:

1. “Love me, love my child” isn’t just a saying.


Loving a child with autism encourages their mother. Most children with autism have something they obsess over. In “The Eagle Tree” by Ned Hayes, March loved trees – most of all, climbing them. A book about trees, leaves, or a tree wall art would make mother and child smile. Take time to interact with the child over his obsession.

2. Celebrate their child


A few weeks ago a sweet girl was celebrating her 18th birthday party. Unable to deal with a traditional party, her mother planned a mail celebration to cater to her love of mail. Her suggestion for gifts was a $5.00 McDonald’s gift card or $5.00 so she could shop at Dollar Tree, where knows exactly what she wants to purchase every time. Michelle (Mom) was overjoyed when 84 cards showed up. She gathered them as they came in and put them all in the mailbox on her birthday. The joy on this sweet girl’s face when she saw that much mail was priceless.

3. See the positives
Love these little ones for who they are, instead of judging them for who they aren’t. Some people see the child’s arm flapping and never stop to understand his action is an expression of his joy. They see the fidgeting and fail to see their beautiful smile. They see the intense obsession, yet don’t stop to listen to the statistics they have committed to memory. Stop seeing the negatives and rejoice in the uniqueness of the child. Verbalize by saying, “He’s so good at…”

4. Educate your children and plan dates

By educating your children about autism, you are giving them the chance to understand, and in understanding, know how to approach with an offer of friendship. When your children understand why a child with autism flaps, fidgets or is obsessed with one subject, they can become inclusive. Invite them over for play dates, have the family over for supper, plan outings with them. A grocery story is a nightmare for children with autism. Ask your friend to leave their child with you while they grocery shop. Divorce rates in families with autism is 80%. Give the parents a date night. Once you and your children understand the variables, offer child care for a few hours or overnight. You may lose one night of sleep, but your friend can sleep through the night.

5. Bring caffeine and chocolate

Some days are harder than others. Their child may be up roaming in the night. Show up at their door with a coffee shop drink. Find out their child’s favorite snack. Don’t forget the siblings. Parents, by necessity, need to give more attention to their child with autism. Make sure you make their siblings feel special, too. 


Does God equip these mothers-of-children-with-autism? Definitely. But, you may be the one He wants to use to encourage them. They need someone who accepts and encourages, someone who shows up at the door with their favorite drink. Someone who is willing to clean the bathroom or sit on the couch and listen. Perhaps they need you to worship with them, read Scripture, and sing songs of praise, just to help them rest in the arms of Jesus a while. They also need someone who will chatter about the important to them, make them laugh, and discuss new fashion trends. Sometimes they just need distracted.

A child with autism is so much more than their diagnosis. They can be silly, curious, caring, focused, intelligent, strong, loving, and, like your child, very different from each other. Get to know them, and you will be sheltering a child. Love them, and you will be sheltering your friend. Try it, and you’ll find out who receives the biggest blessing of all.

Linked to:  
 
Coffee Shop ConversationsFaith 'n Friends

34 comments:

Shoregirl said...

This is a WONDERFUL post, Pam. I love all your ideas for sheltering not just the mom, but the entire family. I've been trying harder to make time for sheltering a young mother of 3 under 3 that's close by. She's expressed how much it means just to have one afternoon of quiet time to do something she enjoys!
Thanks so much for faithfully posting and encouraging us to SHELTER!

Joanne Viola said...

Wonderful post with suggestions that are practical and needed. Glad to have stopped here today! Blessings!

IFEOMA SAMUEL said...

Hi Pam,this is awesome.i am pinning this!
Lovely lovely
Have a great Sunday
God bless

Rachel Mouton said...

What a beautiful post! I am the mother of a daughter with Asperger's syndrome. I work closely with the local autism society. Autism is such a tough thing to deal with for parents <3 Thank you for helping!

Esme Sy said...

Dealing with autism can be really hard. These are great suggestions to help not just the mom and the child, but the whole family.

Amy Jones said...

This is a touching post. I have a autist cousin and I've seen my aunt struggle and be strong for her child, I help her everytime I can and I love my cousin, these are amazing tips

Mom Knows Best said...

I need to so do this to help a mom. I know a mom who has young kids and could use some help.

Sharon said...

Oh Pamela, what an encouraging post! Autism is a difficult journey. Thank goodness that resources and knowledge are increasingly helping to treat and manage it. But still, the ones in the trenches - the parents - are the ones that need our support. Great, practical advice. And I love your quotes - yes, these children are precious in the sight of our Lord!!

GOD BLESS!

Lisa notes... said...

What beautiful tips, Pamela! They show your heart. I don't have anyone directly in my family with autism so I don't know much about it first hand. But what I do know is how incredibly difficult it is day in and day out in the lives of some of my friends. Your beginning quote is a great starting point for us, to try to be understanding even when we don't understand. "Our most difficult task as a friend is to offer understanding when we don't understand."

Chrishelle Ebner said...

My husband's cousin has autism and it has effected the lives of everyone in the family. As we go are coming close to parenthood, it is something we are worried about an wondering if it could be us, and it is something we are ready to take on, if it is God's plan.

The Shopping Duck said...

What a great post. We all need to be more tolerant and offer to help instead of judge.

Jasmine Eclipse said...

I learned so much about autism while reading this, thank you so much for sharing! My aunt and my boyfriend's mom work with autistic children, so I know a little bit about autism, but not much. I appreciate that you wrote this post!

Jasmine / www.jasminekeclipse.com

Cheap Is The *New* Classy said...

What an inspiring post. I don't personally know anyone with autism or anyone with children that are autistic, but I know that it can be difficult. Thanks for sharing!

Enricoh Alfonzo Naidu said...

awwww that a brilliant post and i love that it raises awareness. I have an author friend whos book is about her autistic child. It's an unbelievable read and I was totally gripped. You and her rock. #MadRespect

ana de jesus said...

I find it wonderful that you are so understanding, that is truly lovely of you. Its true children with autism can find it difficult to understand social rules and we should help rather than discourage them to learn.

Victoria Heckstall said...

Such a great post and I need to help other moms like me. glad you share this

Ms KathyKenny said...

I love that it raises awareness for a lot of people who don't know much about autism. Thanks for making me aware. I would normally be irritated but realizing that the child has autism would make a difference for me.

I can't even begin to imagine how hard it is for that Mom.

Blogger Jedidja said...

I love it. I am mom of two autistic sons. what an encouraging post! Thank you.

Mai C. said...

I appreciate how sensitive and considerate you are with these kids. They are very special and they have a heart bigger than any of us. It's nice to be able to do something for their dedicated parents as well. These are awesome ideas!

Author TP Keane said...

What a wonderful thoughtful post. Loved the bring caffeine part. So true.

chris said...

A wider understanding from society and the love of a family should be all anyone needs. Unfortunately, the understanding society seems to be somewhat lacking on many occasions

Spark of Southern Moms said...

My son is autistic and I had to learn with him. It is different because they think differently. I would not trade my boy in for the world! He made me see things in a different light. Having the stronger family unit to help and make things constant, to me is the key.

Doran HauteBeautyGuide said...

What a wonderful post! My littlest sister is autistic and I know my family would have loved any of your tips.

Life With Kathy said...

I thought this was a wonderful post. I have two nieces that both have autism. It can be really hard to deal with at times too, so props to all the women that are doing such a wonderful job!

Echo A said...

As a mother to a child with autism, I just want to thank you for this post. Acceptance, encouragement and support is all we need!

Lexie Lane said...

It is not easy to take care of someone who has autism. You need a lot of strength and full love for it.

Nicole Herose said...

I had a friend whose child is autistic. I will share this great post of yours to her.

laborders2000 said...

What a lovely post. I am a school teacher and I often have the autistic children in my room. I have such an understanding for them and their parents. Great post!

Nicole Escat said...

Autism is not a joke, it is a serious matter. The most important thing you can give to a person who has autism is genuine love.

Liz Mays said...

This is such a kind idea. I never thought about that before, but doing this is perfect!

mail4rosey said...

Such good ideas. I love that 84 cards showed up!

Ana Fernandez said...

You are giving to those mom a really good support! thnks for this!

CourtneyLynne said...

Omg love this!!!! I'm a mom of a highly functioning autistic child and even though she comes off perfectly fine, she does dorky things like you mentioned with you legs all the time! I always get so nervous. Only if all could be as tolerant as you :)

Anosa Malanga said...

I can not even imagine what it must be like but if I can help a mum out I think I would do it in a heart beat