More

Autism is still misunderstood. 8 parents share what you should know about it.

'When my child flips out, he's not giving me a hard time — he's having a hard time.'

Autism is still misunderstood. 8 parents share what you should know about it.

Although 1 in 68 children in America have been identified with autism spectrum disorder, many people still don't understand it.

Quick, what's the first thing you think of when you hear the word "autism"? It only happens to white families? It's only an issue for boys? Kids with ASD have no emotions?

The misconceptions are everywhere. Even in 2016, some people are like...


GIF from "Modern Family."

It's one thing to read books or studies on ASD to correct those assumptions, but it's another to hear it from the people who raise children with ASD. To that end, we reached out to a few of them.

Eight parents shared the one thing they wish people knew about raising a child with ASD.

1. I don't want my child to be labeled.

It may not seem like a big deal to some people, but Sonya wants to be clear about how her child should be addressed. He's not an autistic child — he's a child with autism or ASD. Making that subtle change makes a big difference.

Photo from Sonya, used with permission.

"We don't say things like, 'This is my asthmatic sister' or 'This is my cancerous uncle,'" Sonya told Upworthy. "Changing the language lessens the stigma and allows others to see they are a person before a diagnosis."

2. My son is highly intelligent.

Natasha wants to quiet the noise she hears about the lack of intelligence of children with ASD.

Photo from Natasha, used with permission.

"Those with ASD, like my son, are highly intelligent but learn differently," Natasha told Upworthy. "They are both mentally and emotionally intelligent, but one may need to look and listen differently to grasp their greatness."

3. My child is happy.

Maya notices how happy her son is, along with other kids with ASD. She just wants people to look past what's on the surface to see it.


Photo from Maya, used with permission.

"It's beautiful to see how rich their world can be even when they seem to stare in an empty space," Maya told Upworthy. "They enjoy such happiness."

4. I want more schools to truly understand what it's like to work with children with ASD.

Being a teacher is a very difficult, and Katherine understands that. She just wishes more schools would be more proactive when working with children with ASD. That includes doing more to fight bullying and understand meltdowns.

Photo from Katherine, used with permission.

"Teachers who feel overwhelmed by students with ASD need to speak out and get the help they need in their classrooms," Katherine told Upworthy. "These children are precious, and I want my grandson and others like him to be happy and understood."

5. I want people to know that being quiet doesn't mean being unaware.

Tamara's son may not be extremely talkative, but that doesn't mean he doesn't know what's going on around him. That's the case with many kids with ASD.

Photo from Tamara, used with permission.

"Nonverbal does not mean that they can't communicate in their own way or that they aren't aware of how you treat them," Tamara told Upworthy.

6. I want people to know that my child is talented.

Jody knows children with ASD can do a lot of amazing things. She wants others to know, too.

Photo from Jody, used with permission.

"Our sweet boy may not be able to speak or dress himself, but he is as gentle and innocent as an angel and can play piano by ear," Jody told Upworthy.

7. I want people to know that safety is a big issue for children with ASD.

Travis, a dad to a son with ASD, believes that keeping him safe is a challenge that many simply don't understand. He recalls times when his son left the house and failed to respond to his own name, and that is beyond scary.


Wandering is a major concern for parents raising kids with ASD. Photo from iStock.

"I wish people would realize that I can't just let him run off and play," Travis told Upworthy. "Some kids with ASD need constant supervision for their own safety as well as the safety of others."

8. I am not sad.

A lot of people want to offer sympathy to Jo Ellen, but she's not interested in it. As a matter of fact, she's quite happy and so is her daughter.

Photo from Jo Ellen, used with permission.

"I want people to ask me about what makes her excited because I would love to tell them about her fascination with elephants instead," Jo Ellen told Upworthy.

April is Autism Awareness Month, so kudos to these parents for doing their part to raise awareness of an often misunderstood condition.

True

Anne Hebert, a marketing writer living in Austin, TX, jokes that her closest friends think that her hobby is "low-key harassment for social good". She authors a website devoted entirely to People Doing Good Things. She's hosted a yearly canned food drive with up to 150 people stopping by to donate, resulting in hundreds of pounds of donations to take to the food bank for the past decade.

"I try to share info in a positive way that gives people hope and makes them aware of solutions or things they can do to try to make the world a little better," she said.

For now, she's encouraging people through a barrage of persistent, informative, and entertaining emails with one goal in mind: getting people to VOTE. The thing about emailing people and talking about politics, according to Hebert, is to catch their attention—which is how lice got involved.

"When my kids were in elementary school, I was class parent for a year, which meant I had to send the emails to the other parents. As I've learned over the years, a good intro will trick your audience into reading the rest of the email. In fact, another parent told me that my emails always stood out, especially the one that started: 'We need volunteers for the Valentine's Party...oh, and LICE.'"

Hebert isn't working with a specific organization. She is simply trying to motivate others to find ways to plug in to help get out the vote.

Photo by Phillip Goldsberry on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less

Lately, Twitter has been a rough place for famous Chrises. First Evans had his day on the trending side bar, and now it's Pratt's turn. With the way things are going, we cringe for what's in store for Hemsworth.

Earlier this week, Warrior Nun writer Amy Berg posted a photo on Twitter of four famous Chrises - Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pine, and Chris Pratt. "One has to go," Berg captioned the photo.

Pratt started trending as he was quickly dubbed the "worst Chris." And things just got worse from there. Until some real-life heroes stepped in and tried to address the situation, defending their co-star and friend.


Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

Keep Reading Show less

A photo of Joe Biden hugging and kissing his only living son, Hunter, is circulating after Newsmax TV host John Cardillo shared it on Twitter with the caption, "Does this look like an appropriate father/son interaction to you?"

The question is clearly meant to be a dig at Biden, whose well-documented life in politics includes many examples of both his deep love for his family and his physical expressions of affection. While his opponents have cherry-picked photos to try to paint him as "creepy," those who know him well—and who are in some of those viral images—defend Biden's expressions of affection as those of a close friend and grandfatherly figure. (And in fact, at least one photo of Biden holding and kissing a child's face was of him and his grandson at his son Beau's funeral, taken as a still shot from this video.)

Everyone has their own level of comfort with physical space and everyone's line of what's appropriate when it comes to physical affection are different, but some accusations of inappropriateness are just...sad. And this photo with this caption is one of those cases.

Keep Reading Show less