The above link has an amazing list of suggestions and ideas to help PARENTS of kids with autism. ( in many cases, parents of any special needs child).
I was asked to share ways that OUR family could use support.
Here is OUR top 10 list:
1) be knowledgable, or maybe simply teachable.
I crave knowledge about what my kids are facing so that I can help them
Be the best they can be!! I also crave knowledge about what my friends with special needs kids face. Different issues different needs.
Ask questions, respectfully. Read and learn. Be up to date.
2) awareness and acceptance are not one in the same.
I can be aware of something but not consider that before speaking!
For example: i can be aware that My son has autism but if I didn’t accept that as I parent … Both of our lives would be sheer torture! Does that mean I allow said child to simply get away with everything?? NO! But it allows me to be understanding of who he is and how he is in any given situation.
We are looking for acceptance, a welcoming heart…. And yes, awareness!
3) don’t judge:
The ” oh everybody’s kids do ……” Or “you just need to discipline that child”.
The list here can go on… Also, those who have graciously accepted the dietary challenges have been a blessing… Finding special treats for Isaac when they bring a treat for the others! That’s awesome!
We need sleep. We are constantly on alert. Several of our kids have sleep issues. One night Isaac could sleep great, yet I could be up with any number of other siblings… And they like to rotate “awakeness”! Grrr!!!
And some days the mental stress is debilitating.
5) help with housework
Yes- i willingly accept the blessing of my 7 children.
Yes- I am teaching them to take responsibility. To do household jobs.
But— many days the ones who are able to help need a break from it all and mom and dad can only do so much!
Someone told me recently: well, you have 16 hours a week with NO kids since they are all in school… I laughed. I said and how many dr appts, counseling appts and all that happen during “my” time?? Someone suggested that I get caught up during those hours on household work, exercise, sleep.. Whatever it is I was asking for help with…
The answer– because, as amazing as I am- I cannot do it all!:)
6) keep in touch
I feel like my world now revolves around workers from Community Mental health! And this isn’t bashing them, but I would love to have actual friends outside of them! I would love a girls night out.. And I would love for us to be able to meet with some other couples and play games and fellowship.
And I would love for Mark to be able to have some close guy friends.
We have facebook which we keep open to us both. And that is about what we have. Will you step outside of your comfort zone to me or my family? What about a family near you? Do you do all you can to “be there” even if you are far away?
7) educate your kids about autism.
Many kids I have encountered know what they do from their parents, teachers and classmates/ friends.
Parents you have a valuable job in teaching your kids that others with special needs deserve to be treated with as much dignity and respect as other kids. It is also helpful to let them know that , in my sons case for example, not all kids intend to harm them, or scare them or be mean. Isaac doesn’t always understand social etiquette!!
8) speak to my child!
If they are there- ask them how they are, or attempt to engage them in conversation! But don’t demand it, or expect a response! Be patient. Nothing warms my heart than when someone stops to say hi to Isaac and be thrilled that he sneaks a quick glance at them or barely waves or even says hi!
One person commented to me they were thrilled to hear Isaac’s happy noises! Because that helped them know he was having a good time and was ok! 🙂 and to encourage positive communication as opposed to demanding it. If you are unsure– ask us:)
Oh my goodness. I cannot even begin to share with you how essential this is and how lacking it is.
We cannot afford a sitter ( more on that in #10) . But there are times we need one and family is busy and we are out of luck.
Our family does not prefer to keep all 7 kids at a time. So we rarely are able to leaving the kids at home and go out. We need to demonstrate to our kids how important our marriage is. And we simply need a break from our awesome kids!
Financial help. Many think ( and have said) you wanted that many kids you deal with it!
Life hasn’t exactly gone as we had planned! But who’s does?!
There are things we need for In home therapy aides, or sensory supports. And we need to make safety upgrades in various areas of out home.
The daily things like socks, shoes, underwear and food really add up in this home….
And electronic devices which offer us a sense of sanity in the midst of chaos.
We need protective cases for ipads and things like that as well.
Many times, Isaac does play games as well as simply watching you tube videos:)
We have a lot of needs . We realize that. How many times could you do a part of something to encourage someone ?? I know since I am limited financially I seek ways to do other tangible things for friends in their times of need.
This is my list… Check out Bec Oakley’s list over at :
Many cross our path and can only help once but desire to help more. This is not to criticize anyone! We know what it is like to have a lot on your plate and need help !! This is in response to those who have asked for this list!