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“Kid’s with Autism don’t make friends or have meaningful relationships with family & friends. Trust me!”

Does the title of this blog infuriate you and/or make you upset? I’m going to guess, yes.

Several years ago, when my son Jayden was about 3 years old, a woman approached me while I was working. I was wearing some sort of Autism Awareness t-shirt, as I often do. She very nicely asked me if I knew someone with Autism. I told her that my son had ASD and so did my cousin. We spoke for a few minutes after that.

She mentioned to me that she was a retired Special Education teacher and taught a number of children over the years with ASD, but there were far less diagnosed throughout her years of teaching then there were now. We spoke about school services and a parent/guardian/caregivers role in advocating for children like Jayden. She asked me how old my son was. She told me that I seemed to have a lot of knowledge early in my sons diagnosis regarding services and advocacy. I thanked her.

Here is where the conversation took an unexpected turn..she said this, and I quote, “You’re a young mom. Your road will be long and exhausting. There are places you can put your son and be able to visit with him as often or as little as you’d like. Kids with Autism don’t make friends or have meaningful relationships with family and friends. Trust me! I taught these kids for years. It’ll be much easier for you to live your life at your age. You should really consider it!”

After I processed everything this woman had just said to me, I was FURIOUS! I was hurt! I was upset! How dare this woman, that I don’t even know, say such untrue and hurtful things to me? I said quite a few not so nice things to her in return for her “advice.” The conversation ended immediately following my response.

Do I know what my options are as a parent to a child with a disability? Yes, I am very aware! Everyone’s circumstances are different and unique. Each family has to choose what is right for their child and their family.

To me, she was suggesting that I throw in the towel on my newly diagnosed son and look into residential options for him because it would make things easier. Make things easier for who? I hadn’t even had a chance to live in this new world with my beautiful boy! At some point in time, Jayden will be older, and so will I! I may not be able to provide the level of care he needs anymore and I may have to look for other living arrangements for him. When that time comes, I will cross that bridge and make the best choice for him.

The thing that upset me most, besides her complete ignorance, was that this was a person who once taught children like my son. For her to strongly imply, “Kids with Autism don’t make friends or have meaningful relationships with family and friends. Trust me!”, made me so angry!

Jayden enjoys his time alone, doing his own thing but let’s face it, so do you and I! He may not play with toys the same way his cousins and friends do…he plays with them his way. He may not sit down to play a game without guidance but one thing is for sure, this boy LOVES with his whole heart!

The relationships he has with his family and friends are pure! He loves to be around them! He hugs them, kisses them and plays with them, his way! He has formed and maintained many relationships over the years with the people who put themselves in his life, seamlessly. These relationships are not forced. I can only speak on Jayden’s behalf, but I know this holds true with many of you reading this.

Our journey is far from over. Our road has been long and hard. The best days of my life have been spent with my sweet boy and I would not give up a single day of seeing his beautiful smile.

Jayden is a non-verbal child but the smiles and love in these pictures of him with his family & friends, need no words!

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5 thoughts on ““Kid’s with Autism don’t make friends or have meaningful relationships with family & friends. Trust me!”

  1. Yvonne

    You go girl! That was quite shocking coming from a sped teacher. She probably thought she was comforting you with those words. Sometimes I really wish people would just say nothing at
    all. You are an amazing mom Crystal. You and Jayden are so lucky to have each other!

    Reply
  2. Kristen

    Crystal YOU are an amazing Mom! Your relationship with Jayden is priceless!!! You are a warrior for your son as a mom should be. You are both blessed to have each other in this journey through life!!!! As an educator, I am sickened that you even encountered this poor excuse of a woman. She is in no way a reflection of what a teacher should be. I am heartbroken for the students that experienced her in their lifetime. I am angry that she used her title to give very poor & heartless advice to you as a mom. I thank God that you did not listen to her pathetic advice and that you continue to enjoy each & every day with your beautiful boy!!! No journey is easy. Each has its ups & downs. Know that each & every day you are a true example of what every child with or without an ASD should have in their life. I am humbled by your drive & dedication. You are an incredible Mom!!! Thank you for all that you do for our little ones who need a voice!!! Much love my friend!!!

    Reply
  3. Diane

    Crystal your a AMAZING MOM A HEART OF GOLD.
    I can say that I have never meet Jayden . But What I can say is that when I see Jayden picture his beautiful smile lights up my day,I also read about his days in many post . He is loved by so many people Jayden touches,our hearts more then he knows . Jayden heart is what true love is. He has opened people eyes to what is unconditional love and That Jayden gets from his loving parents..😘 Family and friends is where Jayden wants to be and loves to be. Where he feels loved and he feels safe …. 💞💖💕❤️❤️😘😘
    ( I wish I was with you that day )

    Reply
  4. Erin

    Crystal, your boy is beautiful & happy and it’s obvious he loves you VERY MUCH! Good for you for standing up to that woman.
    It’s discouraging that someone so closed-minded is teaching our special children.
    I have a son with ASD, who is also non-verbal yet VERY affectionate. I also have been working with adults who have developmental disabilities, long before I had my son. I can tell you most of us are open-minded and positive about the futures of the folks we work with.
    Just like any profession, there are people who are passionate about what they do, and there are those who aren’t, unfortunately.
    Thank you, Crystal, for your advocacy!

    Reply
  5. Cathy Correia

    Very well expressed, Crystal! Our son has been a source of joy for us, our extended family & friends. Our “journey”, though very different from those of most people, has enriched our lives in countless ways — can’t imagine life without him!

    Reply

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