Please treat autistic children with respect

A mother of twin daughters who are deaf and have autism spectrum disorder offers insight based on her own 20 years of experience.

April was Autism Awareness Month and having lived and worked for over 20 years in this field I wanted to pass on some pointers for people who have no experience or education when they come in contact with these special individuals.

Autism is out there and parents of autistic children are doing the best they can just as parents try to do whether dealing with exceptional challenges or not.

As parents we not only face the ongoing challenges of raising these special children but also in educating the public and often the school system so that our children will be treated with respect.

In counseling and advocating for families dealing with autism, I have found one of the most common struggles is the ignorance of others who think they could or would do better or that parents of children with autism must be “doing something wrong” because their kids are different.

For a parent dealing with a child with autism spectrum disorder the ignorance of these behaviours from people in the community only serve to make them more humiliated, exhausted and stressed as they try to deal with a difficult situation while an uninformed person in their community passes judgment on them in the form of “advice”.

If you see a child having a meltdown in a public place, remind yourself that you likely don’t have all the facts and unless you have specific training and first-hand experience with autistic children, you should keep your comments to yourself. You are only making it worse for the parent and the child and you are the only one who comes off looking foolish in the process.

Shannon Kelly-Keough,

Rock Creek

Editor’s note: Shannon Kelly-Keough is the mother of twin daughters who are deaf and have autism spectrum disorder. She has more than 20 years experience in dealing with autism, including many published works, and has advocated for multiple families to help them educate their communities.


Just Posted

Fruitvale man identified in fatal zipline accident in Thailand

Spencer Donaldson, 25, was from Fruitvale, B.C., the city’s mayor has confirmed

Fruitvale man, 25, dies after falling from zipline in Thailand, reports say

Bangkok Post says man fell from Flight of the Gibbon zipline in Chiang Mai

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

Most Read