To the New Special Needs Parent, Sorry About the Internet.

The internet is terrible. There, I said it. I realize no blogger should admit this, but it’s true. I was recently asked by a family member if I could help the mother of a child who is having trouble coming to terms with the strong possibility that her son most likely has autism. I began to think of all of the cool, funny, or helpful sites. I was about to suggest them, then I remembered the dreaded comments section.  That is a rabbit hole that no new autism parent should fall down.

I was recently chatting with a fellow blogger about this topic.  He mentioned how an adorable video of a toddler singing the the Imperial March got a few thumbs down on YouTube. How does that even happen?  Was she singing off key? Did the viewer think that by liking the video he would become a supported of the Empire? I don’t know about that. I do know that, for a group of the population who hates being judged and given unwanted advice, we sure do judge and give unwanted advice.

I recently wrote a story about my son having a rough time at the grocery store. The point of the story was that a lot of people judged my parenting, but one guy helped. In the story, I mention that my son is drinking an ICEE.  I almost didn’t put that part in. Why? Someone was totally going to tell me that I suck for giving my son and ICEE. I wrote it in anyway, and guess what? There were actually more than a few Judgey McShamepants comments. My favorite part is that the comments started out something like, “Yeah, people who don’t understand shouldn’t judge us… but maybe stop giving your child sugar.” I just had to laugh. I have come to a place in my journey where I CAN laugh. That does not happen overnight.

Go back in your mind of the first few months of your child’s diagnosis. If you were anything like me, you were fragile. I read article after article, looking for knowledge.  What I found were different ways in which to blame myself. There were a million things that I did wrong. There were a million causes. There were a million treatments. Early intervention was the key, so I had to get started.  So many choices, what if I chose wrong? The pressure was building, then there was the anger.

It seemed like all of these parents were angry. They were angry at teachers. They were angry at doctors. They were angry at the government. They were angry at parents of neurotypical kids. Behind anger, is always pain. I didn’t want to be that angry. I didn’t want to hurt that much. I walked away from the online community and it has only been recently that I walked back. I came back with positivity after fully accepting autism and embracing our lives together.

For those of us further along in our journey, we have so much to share. We are passionate. Passion does not need to be angry. Passion does not need to mean judgement. Passion can be gentle. Passion can be welcoming.

It is okay to feel all of those things. We all have. However, before I ever click, “publish,” I do my best to consider the mom behind her computer. She is lifting up her glasses and dabbing her eyes. Before causes, before treatments, before frustrations, there is her. She needs to know that she is doing a good job. She needs to know she is powerful. She needs to know that there is an army of parents behind her.  Sure, we might be carrying coffee cups and wearing wrinkled pajamas, but that’s our sexy, sexy uniform. So, to the new moms of spectrum kiddos, pull up a mouse pad. Take what you want and throw the rest away. Everything is not only going to be okay, it will be great.  Oh, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t rock the messy bun. It totally works on you.

  1. Im that mum lifting my glasses and wipeing tears the messy bun too, my son has been diagnosed with autism 4years ago my daughter is now going to be tested she,s 2. I feel new to this again even though ive studdied autism for the last 4 years i feel abit lost as my daughter presents differently to my son, it was really great to read what you wrote and has perked me up abit thank you,x

  2. Wonderfully said, we have a single Dad raising 2 boys. The oldest with Aspergers and he gets beaten up with comments all the time. I am passing this post on to him. Thank you

  3. Autism Mom’s Unite! I love being able to help any child, parent or friend understanding how many resources and support there is available to them! <3

  4. Love this post so much!! I came to the realisation when my son was around 22mths, a couple of mths ago, that he was showing signs of autism and we are in the slow process of gathering info, seeing paediatricians, speech path etc. I am taking it in my stride but one day went to search the internet and quickly switched it off as it scared the hell out of me!! I’m so glad I found your site as it’s exactly what I need. A common sense approach with none of the crap seen elsewhere. A big thankyou from an Australian mum

  5. I was very touched as I am a spec needs bus driver and hear and see lots of negativity from people on a daily basis..So terrible. My G-son is being tested for Special needs soon and this article was such a comfort..Thank u and Stay strong Everyone…We r stronger when we stay united. Thank u for writing this!!!!

  6. A very good read and so true, I know how you feel, we were shocked recently when someone commented that my husband posting videos of our boy was the same as being groomed by a pedophile and was massively abusive. His videos are about his teddy bears, having fun trick or treating, his favourite supper etc. To add insult to injury they had videos of children up on their page. 🙁

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