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Listening to Actual Autistic Voices Rather Than Just Other Parents

Updated: Jan 8

Guest piece written by Jessie Lipscomb: autism momma, illustrator, and blogger

(known as @momma_lips on Instagram)

Ironic to read the above statement via a parenting blog, but it’s the truth. As a parent of an Autistic child, I am constantly learning new ways to work with my child and meet him where he is. In this last year, I think I’ve grown the most in the area of trying to do better for him overall; specifically keeping the ever-growing vision of him as a future adult at the forefront. I started having more conversations with Autistic adults - hearing their experiences directly from them. By following different ND accounts on social media such as Autism, Epilepsy, Tourette’s, ADHD, etc. I was able to really open up to the community no matter the age range or diverse subset. No two people are the same, but getting a glimpse into their everyday lives gives a much needed perspective.

Specifically for Autism, I found the most benefit in seeing Autistic adults live their lives on their own. They didn’t have to live extraordinary lives (subjectively speaking, as ‘extraordinary’ is defined personally). However, independence is indeed extraordinary in our world as many parents fear that their child will be dependent on them for their entire life...and for some that may prove true. But to rule out the alternative (independent living for the Autistic child turned adult) isn’t fair. This also isn’t an example of weird inspiration or head in the cloud thinking ahead. I see it as a fair acknowledgment of the other side of the coin. Living in fear doesn’t really move people forward, but opening up one’s senses to an alternative outcome that happens to be successful for others can provide a realistic sense of comfort paired with awe-inspiring end results. 

Hearing the experiences of Autistic adult’s past structured therapies and/or (casual) therapeutic interactions is also extremely beneficial. While we’re all aware that times have changed and some things have been updated, it’s important to know what led some to certain conclusions, feelings, and even affirmations (whether good or bad). We know people don’t out-grow Autism, so I believe learning what has helped people grow and lead successful lives with Autism is such a beautiful thing.

Some Autistic SM accounts that I have personally learned a lot from over the past year are: @fidgets.and.fries , @nigh.functioning.autism , @the.autisticats , @actuallyautistictiktoks , @galaxibrain, @autism_sketches & @neurodivergent_lou. 

As parents, we want to do right by our kid(s). Though parenthood is already a difficult space to navigate, add Autism to the mix and the guidebook is completely thrown out! Feelings of bewilderment, confusion, loss, being out of control, etc. are normal. However, we are not our feelings and we are also not alone. There are plenty of people in the world who can relate - as parents overall, as parents to a specific community of children, and as now the adult community of those Austic children (turned grown).  Speaking with Autistic adults can help us provide better for our kids, as well as attempt to better understand their needs and wants as well. Take the time to have those conversations - I am sure you will learn something cool!

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