I keep hearing these words from parents about their autistic children, “School was too much for my child.” or “My child couldn’t cope with school so we were forced to home school.”
By saying those words, you are placing the blame and responsibility on your child for being “too much” and reinforcing the belief that they are the ones that needs fixing. You are perpetuating the bullshit that autistic children are a burden to society – when in fact they have a right to be supported and included.
It’s not just how you speak to your child directly, but also how you speak about your child to others – that is what forms their inner dialogue. Make those words count.
If they keep hearing conversations about how *they* couldn’t cope and *they* needed alllll these things, your child begins to see themselves as a problem, profoundly damaging their self-worth and identity.
Think about a child that is physically disabled and requires a wheelchair. You wouldn’t say “Our child couldn’t cope with the stairs, so we had to home school.” You might still have to home school because this need wasn’t supported, but it’s not because of the child – it’s because their rights and needs were ignored and not seen as important and significant enough to make changes. So the truth is: “We chose to home school our child because the school wouldn’t support them.”
Schools *should* be made accessible and children should have the right to have an education in an environment that accommodates their needs, and whether a school can’t support your autistic child – or won’t – is irrelevant. The fact is – they didn’t. And I cannot even begin to express the importance of showing your child that the reason they were not supported in school, is not a reflection of their worth.
Please note: I *know* there are goods schools and wonderful teachers – this is not a discussion about that. This is about your language and how your child hears you speak about them and their disability.
I myself, have home schooled my neurodivergent children for two years and initially, those phrases in the first paragraph, were the ones I uttered, so I know that even the most well-meaning parents, will say these things. But once you know better, you do better. I have realised how disgusting it actually was to say, “They couldn’t cope” and how important it is to show my children with all my words, not just the ones I say directly to them – that it was the system that failed my children, not the other way around. They are perfect the way they are and they deserved better.
❤ The Bullshit Fairy
Image description: A white square with a multicoloured underlined title: “ATT: Parents of autistic children” then in smaller black text, “It’s not just how you speak to your child directly, but also how you speak about your child to others – that is what forms their inner dialogue.” And underneath in black bold letters, “Make those words count.” with The Bullshit Fairy logo and website address www.thebullshitfairy.com.au