It’s National Autism Awareness Month it raises awareness for autism and Asperger’s syndrome during the month of April. Have you thought about ways to become more aware and inclusive in your interactions with peers, friends, family, and co-workers? Don’t be that friend, who does not know how to be there for her friend. Many people seem to forget because they are not directly impacted by these topics; they fail just to have a basic understanding and compassion. I have seen other moms just be mean to other moms, and I am unsure if they even know what they are doing or how much they could hurt someone’s feelings. Today I want to remind you of ways to start supporting and helping your MOM friend or even anyone in your community, aka village!
What Can We Say?
Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that raising a child with autism can be challenging, and your friend is doing her best. Often moms go through a ton of mom guilt, and keep all of our feelings inside. Remember to also respect your friend’s boundaries and let them know you’re available to offer help and support when needed.
Here are some things you could say to offer support and encouragement:
- “I can only imagine how tough it must be for you. You’re doing an amazing job.”
- “It’s okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes. You’re not alone, and I’m here to support you.
- “I’m here to listen if you need to talk or vent about anything. Sometimes just talking it out can make a huge difference.”
- “Have you considered connecting with support groups or organizations for parents of children with autism? They can be a great source of support and resources.”
- “Remember to take care of yourself too. It’s important to prioritize self-care and take breaks when you need them.”
- “Your child is lucky to have you as a parent. You love them so much, and that’s the most important thing.”
What can we do?
There are many ways you can support a mom with an autistic child with love and support, build a sisterhood in which they feel safe to share their thoughts and vulnerability.
Here are some things you could do to offer support and encouragement:
- Listen and empathize: Sometimes, all a mom needs is someone to listen to her fears and frustrations without judgment. Offer a listening ear and empathize with her struggles.
- Offer specific help: Instead of just saying, “let me know if you need anything,” offer specific help. For example, “I can take your child to therapy on Thursdays so you can have a break,” or “I can cook a meal for you once a week.”
- Connect her with resources: There are many resources available for families with autistic children, but it can be overwhelming to navigate them all. Help her find resources that meet her specific needs. Local guides such as Broward Mom Collective’s non-profit guide has many organizations listed that help support families through difficult times.
- Create a support group: Start a support group for moms with autistic children in your area. This can be a safe space for moms to connect, share their thoughts and offer each other support. Learn about other experiences from moms in the community, that might have gone through similar experiences.
- Celebrate her child’s successes: Celebrate her child’s achievements, no matter how small. This will show her that you see and appreciate her child for who they are.
Remember, supporting a mom with an autistic child is about being there for her and her child, offering help without judgment, and celebrating their successes.
How will you make an impact in your community this for #worldautismawareness month?