Strategies for parents of children with disabilities

My all-time favourite two answers to the alarmingly regular question about my son's autism - 'Does he have any special talents?' - are: a) <whispering> 'Yes, he sees thick people!' and b) 'Yes, he can fly.' Mumsnetter StarlightMckenzie

"My six-year-old daughter has autism; my four-year-old daughter doesn't. We encourage the younger one to talk about the older one’s condition openly, including voluntarily announcing it to anyone who cares to listen. So if anybody tuts or comments etc, our youngest can tell them what’s going on." A Mumsnetter

"Smile, nod, ignore." BerthaTheBogCleaner

"Educate your child and his siblings about his disability, very loudly. Loud parenting rocks." BerthaTheBogCleaner

"If a member of the public stops and stares when you are struggling, say loudly 'oh thank you SO much for stopping to help. Here, hold the bag/other child/basket/oxygen tank/trolley'." StarlightMckenzie

"My usual technique, if I catch the eye of a gawper, is to do a half-smile, raised-eyebrow sort of 'can I help you?' look, then smother my boy in kisses to show how proud I am of him. Amazing how quickly people look away when caught out." Sickofsocalledexperts

Ways of coping with the general public

  • 'Rudeness - I know it's upsetting, but some people are just rude/ignorant. Don't rise to it, just smile and feel sorry that they will never get to know someone as wonderful as your child!
  • Assumptions - Sometimes people make assumptions based on their lack of knowledge. It doesn't necessarily make them bad people; educate if the person wants to learn, or smile and walk away when they don't.
  • Pick your battles - you will face enough daily fights for your child, so sometimes it's best just to let things go!' Proudmum74

Ways of coping with professionals

  • Become an avid note taker
  • Network across the various health providers and the council
  • Be assertive
  • Project manage 

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August 2013

Last updated: about 1 year ago