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How do you get a parent to stop being ashamed that their child is special needs?

Its been 10 years since our family had a diagnosis of autism for one of our twins. Since that time, the mother of the twin has struggled with guilt because she is ashamed of her childs behavior in public. I never cared because I realize that the people looking at the parents while in public and the meltdowns or tantrums of an autistic child, these people simply do not understand what we are going through. So shame is nothing I suffer with, but I can not speak for everybody in the family.

So my question is this....how do you talk to, get a parent of an autistic child to stop being ashamed of their child when in public? With all that is offered up in the media, online about autism and its effects, you would think people would be more informed, but I guess not. So I am going to the MOM experts. I know at least one of you has some type of suggestion for me.

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officergrandma

Asked by officergrandma at 1:09 PM on Nov. 28, 2010 in Teens (13-17)

Level 2 (4 Credits)
Answers (6)
  • It's hard - my SS is autistic - and I tell you, the media never portrays autism the way it is in reality (at least with my SS.) You can't look at a child with autism and "see" the disability. They always show these genius children who have a hard time communicating. They don't show the tantrums, hitting themselves, throwing themselves on the floor - fine one minute, a mess the next. The media makes it sound like understanding can modify their behavior, I know from experience that this just isn't always the case. Autism is a spectrum, and kids that fall on the far side of that spectrum are never shown.

    The best you can do is support her, when you're out in public show her how to react (by you not being embarrassed). I know from experience it IS embarrassing, and I've left a lot of stores because I couldn't get my SS under control. I'm going to guess that the mother isn't ashamed of her child, she is ashamed of the behavior
    Scuba

    Answer by Scuba at 1:17 PM on Nov. 28, 2010

  • I have twins. Just the overall reaction from other people when I had trouble with them in public was difficult and mine do not have autism. I used to be crushed by comments and looks but I soon learned to look and comment back. Now I hold my head up. People can be so ignorant and cruel...I have only ever had 1 person offer help. I would just be there for the parent. Offer a shoulder whenever the parent needs one. Set the example you would like to see in the parent. Be their strength. Stand up for the family and hold your head up high...I do not care what anyone says but no matter what age your children will always look up to you for answers and follow your example. The seeds you plant today will grow eventually. but ultimately the parent is going to have to make the decision.
    Momforhealth

    Answer by Momforhealth at 1:21 PM on Nov. 28, 2010

  • Does she get counselling? Sometimes you need an objective person to listen as you cry, get angry, learn to cope. maybe "the right" counsellor would help. HUGS to you all!
    kjrn79

    Answer by kjrn79 at 1:21 PM on Nov. 28, 2010

  • theres a movie about autism out and it changed my entire view on autism...i believe its called temple grandin??its an amazing video...have her watch it
    courtney_legg

    Answer by courtney_legg at 2:05 PM on Nov. 28, 2010

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    bratgirln1

    Answer by bratgirln1 at 5:24 PM on Nov. 28, 2010

  • Wow...big question. I have worked with disabled adults for many years. I have met many parents and really I believe I have never met one ashamed of their child. I used to think it was shame, but I have come to realize it was fear, frustration, anger, pain, blame, but never shame. The key to you may be knowledge but for others it is not. It's okay for everyone to deal with austism, retardation, birth defects in the way that works for them. I understand your frustration but maybe step back and live and let live with this situation. Hugs , Michelle
    rosetoes

    Answer by rosetoes at 7:27 PM on Nov. 28, 2010

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