What people say: “Maybe it’s a misdiagnosis – I’ve heard they are over diagnosing things these days.”
Better to say: “He’s lucky to have an observant parent learning about his needs. Thanks for trusting me enough to share this – I am here for you.”
What people say: “Are you getting enough time for yourself?”
What we wish you’d say – “Can you find time to catch a movie or have dinner out with me next week? If you can’t get out, can I come by?”
What people say: “I got him this gift – I know it’s technically alittle young for him, but I thought that it might be more his level.”
Better: Call ahead and ask what the child would like, or,
when in doubt: gift card.
What people say: “Do you know whose family it came from?”
Better to say: Nothing. This is a deeply personal issue and with some disorders it’s still unclear if they stem from genes, environment, or both. Listen only to what the parent volunteers.
What people say: “Life doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle.”
Better to say: “So, when can I babysit?”
What people say: “This is an opportunity: You just didn’t land where you expected, but landed. You thought you were going one place, but just ended up in another place. Have you seen that wonderful poem, ‘Wel- come to Holland?’ “
Better to say: “I’m here if you want to talk.”
What people say: “Maybe he just needs a little more discipline.”
Better: Recognize that communication – particularly the ability to understand language receptively – can be an issue in some disabilities. This can look very different from the outside; try to resist passing judgment.
What people say: “It’s too bad you didn’t find out sooner. I’ve heard the prognosis isn’t as good if they don’t catch it early.”
Better to say: “Can I help by reading up on the current resources and research? I’d be interested in learning more and I’m happy to help fill out forms/laminate PECS/help with your laundry.”
What people say: “I don’t know how you do it.”
Better to say:” So – when’s our next playdate?”
What people say: “So how is Junior (child with special needs)?” Not asking about your other kids, family, etc.
Better to say: “I love your holiday cards/Facebook posts/email updates. What’s the latest?”
For more advice and info please visit www.autism.com