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10 Tidbits of Autism Parenting Advice from Adults on the Spectrum

No matter what kind of parent you are and no matter who your child is, there is one thing we can all agree on: parenting is not an easy task in general. It can also be tricky when you have a different neurotype than your child—i.e. you are neurotypical and they have autism—because your individual brains work differently. Luckily, that’s where adults with autism can step in and give parents a hand to help them better understand their child and the way their mind works. After all, they are the ones with the firsthand experience of autism.

Because we believe the input from adults with autism is incredibly valuable to neurotypical parents of kids with autism, we scoured Reddit in search of adults who could provide some advice. Here are some of the things they had to say.

Mother and son talk and argue sit at table.

10. “Putting off getting your child evaluated will not change whether or not they’re autistic.”

“It will only delay their ability to get services.” —cakeisatruth

9. “Be honest.”

“This is the difference between them seeing you as a monster who devises arbitrary tortures for them for no reason, and a loving parent who wants what’s best for them. Be honest in your words and actions….If you want them to quit the games and start the homework, don’t just slap a time limit on and punish if they exceed it. Tell them what they need to accomplish and why they need to accomplish it, and why you think quitting the game in 30 minutes is the best way to get stuff done. Don’t give negative reinforcement without explaining honestly what’s going on. Avoid positive reinforcement that isn’t natural. e.g. extra TV time because they did their homework = arbitrary. Celebrating because they got a good grade = natural.” —StarsOfVarda

8. “Being autistic isn’t the most important thing to know about me.”

“Since I’ve been diagnosed both my parents are broadcasting to everyone ‘Windiigo is autistic! This explains everything blablabla.’

“I’ve asked them to tone it down because being autistic isn’t the most important thing to know about me.” —Windiigo

Laughing girl with a butterfly on his nose.

7. “Always try and understand.”

“We might have trouble understanding everyone else around us, but the last thing we want to hear is that we don’t make sense and that we’re weird/wrong, etc.” —JTGrasby

6. “Be patient.”

“I don’t know about the kids who aren’t very verbal at all but even with high functioning kids with good verbal skills, those skills can disappear if they get upset. It then becomes about asking questions the right way to get responses, if you emotionally charge the situation further by getting upset yourself, you’re going to make it worse. You have to be patient and ask a lot [of] little questions so you can paint the picture for yourself because they aren’t always able to do it for you.” —EM42

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A. Stout received a Bachelor of Arts in Writing through Grand Valley State University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2015. In addition to being a passionate autism advocate, she is a member of various fandoms, a study abroad alumna, and an animal lover. She dreams of publishing novels and traveling all over the world someday.