Sour Apples on the Family Tree

Sour Apples on the Family Tree 

How did your family react when they learned that your son or daughter was special needs? What were their reactions? While all family members, even extended, would like to be supportive the sad truth is that many may be disgusted or disappointed. Does a family member scold the autistic child often? Does he or she treat your autistic child unfairly? This may be a sign that this relative is not receptive to either your autistic child or the situation or needs to be educated in what autism is. Be prepared and aware that this may happen in your situation.  

Often relatives simply do not understand what autism is or what it means for your child and your immediate family. Though many see autism as an intellectual disability, many autistic children and adults are highly intelligent; they are just unable to communicate this in the same ways that others would. Try explaining what autism means to this family member, and have him or her spend some time with you and your autistic child. Allow them to see the effects of autism and the methods you can use to cope. 

If the family member continues to be confounding or refuses your explanation, ask why this family member is so unresponsive to the situation. Are they scared of hurting the child? Are they worried about the added responsibility when spending time with the child?(If at all) Perhaps they feel guilty or are embarrassed. If you can pinpoint why a family member is uncomfortable, you can better address the issue(s) and help explain their confusion and overcome their original notions.

Perhaps no amount of talking or spending time together will help this family member overcome their prejudice. If this person has stubbornly made up his or her mind, you will never be able to show him or her how beautiful your son or daughter is-autism and all. If this is the case, eliminating this person from your life may be difficult, but it will also rid you and your child of this family member's negative energy and personality. In this situation, you need to surround yourself with positive energy. No toxic friends, family or people allowed. Remember that other family members have been supportive; that your children are adjusting well and are a source of strength for you. Strengthen your support network by participating in parent support groups for autistic children. And remember that you can surround yourself with those who do accept and love your child-family or not.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Mandu Usoro, US Army Veteran, Experienced Homeschooler, Parent Advocate and  is the founder of Homeschool Special Needs Tidbits, a website/weblog about homeschooling, public school education,  special needs children, personal resources, and articles about educating special needs children and the tools needed for success.

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