3 Things to Ask an Autism Mom

{and every other special needs mom for that matter}

I’ve read quite a few articles on what NOT to say to a special needs mom, but haven’t seen any articles addressing what you SHOULD say. We get it, things can get awkward, you don’t want to offend us. You might not know what to say. You want to come across as caring or concerned. We appreciate that, we really do. Personally, I am not easily offended and I’m totally aware of my son’s behaviours are not always typical. I could talk about him all day, but I don’t need to. If you find yourself at a play date with a special needs mom here are a few conversation starters. 

Where did you get your shoes? 

  

This may seem counterintuitive, and it is. It may feel like you are inquiring about something unimportant and materialistic, and you would be. You would be asking her a very regular, very typical question that moms find themselves asking each other all the time. As an autism mom I have found that people feel like they have to ask me how William is doing and how therapy is going and how I’m feeling and how we’re holding up. I feel very grateful for this because sometimes, a girls gotta vent. However, it feels refreshing to be seen through an alternative lens. That lens being “just Lauren”. I still get excited like any other mom would be when I buy new shoes, or a cute sweater, or when I wear the gorgeous necklace my hubby got me for my birthday. Tell her you notice, whether it’s a pretty nail polish colour or her cute bracelets, notice, ask and engage her. It will lighten her heart.

Have you read any good books lately?

  

If she says yes, inquire further. Ask her who the author is, has she finished yet? What did she think about it? She will tell you. If she says “no” tell her about a book you’ve been reading, or a new blog you like. If this mom is not much of a book worm this same scenario would work with TV or movies as well. Again this may seem unimportant and superficial but this time you would be wrong. We (special needs mamas) have to think about heavy things ALL THE TIME. By asking questions like this you are cultivating a space that allows us to have a vacation in our mind. Letting my mind drift to the latest plot twist in A Breath of Snow and Ashes helps ease the intensity of the 25 minute melt down my son just had a couple hours before. This is vital for our sanity, it gives our brain a place to go to relax and unwind. Conversations like these stimulate the parts of our brain that we don’t get to use as often as wish, like the ones meant for fun or spacing out or just plain old adult conversation. 

Can I make you some coffee?

{or tea}  

This is my personal favourite. Why? Well because first of all, coffee. Secondly, it gives that special mama a moment to be nurtured, however small the gesture might seem to you, its HUGE to her. Even if you’re at her house {kuerigs are pretty easy to use} just ask her. Whether she says yes or no, is not important, it’s the fact that you considered her. This is true for mom’s in general, our needs come last and you just asked us if we needed something. Day made. 
What I’m getting at is that we are just like any other mom. Our lows may be lower and our highs may not seem as remarkable as the typical mom’s would, but we experience the same array of emotions that any other mom does however amplified or muted they may be. As humans beings many things define our individuality and for today that might just mean that we are super into the new badass pair of boots that we’re wearing. 

Xo

Lauren

3 thoughts on “3 Things to Ask an Autism Mom

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