Local support groups are a great way to meet other parents of children with autism. However, meeting a mom in another place besides a support group is somewhat happenstance, but no less informative. Because the spectrum has such a vast diversity, and because so many kids are affected by it, it’s very likely that you will run into another mom with an autistic child and an opportunity to ask her questions.
Most commonly, moms like to compare and contrast the things their kids can and can’t do, as well as their amazing and unique abilities as part of the spectrum. This is even a common practice between moms who have “normal” kids, but it’s more of a reassuring practice with moms and special needs children.
Here is a list of the most common questions asked and why they are asked, or at least why they are sociologically assumed to be acceptable questions to ask.
1. So your child has autism too? When was he/she diagnosed? : A general lead in question begins the conversation, and it’s just a general question. What are the types of autism spectrum disorder(ASD) is considered very rare?
2. He/ she seems to be …. Is he/ she in any educational programs that help? : This question can apply to any positive you see in the other child and follows a comparison of when your own child was diagnosed. In a social setting you can reflect on the other child’s ability to play with others, share toys, etc. They might be enrolled in school and have program activities that help in the most crucial areas that children with autism need help in. “Questions To Ask Schools And Special Need Teacher In Regards To Your Autistic Child”
3. What do you do for behaviors? : Generally, an autistic child will have at least one behavior incident an hour if they are lower functioning, but that’s not a strict rule of thumb by any means. You could ask this question if a behavior occurs right in front of you and you can empathize because your own child has behaviors. Use these behavior management strategies for children with autism.
4. How does he/ she do with self help skills? I still can’t get my child to do yada, yada…: This is another comparison and how do you do such and such question. It’s a good way to continue talking to another mother but only if the conversation allows.
5. Was/ Is he/ she in the birth to three program? A preschool program or early learning program for special needs children? : This question has to be tailored to the area in which you live. Birth To Three is a state-sponsored program that helps kids get extra in home help to catch up to their peers. Some states don’t have this program and instead have an early learning program for toddlers and preschoolers with special needs. Some mothers may know about these programs because their children are in them while other mothers haven’t even heard of them. Exchange of useful information is good. Find out services available for children with autism in your state.
6. What other kinds of therapy does your child receive? : If the conversation progresses and time permits, a lot of moms who make a connection over their kids and with each other will probably get to this question. Again, one mom may find out from another about useful resources that she might not otherwise have known about.
The most important thing to remember when encountering another mom with an autistic child is that they are just as busy and consumed with the special needs of their child as you are. Don’t bombard her with questions or engage her with conversation about her child unless the environment and situation allows. Moms who want to talk will, and those who aren’t interested shouldn’t be considered rude; don’t take their current busy-ness personal.