Working with Autistic Adults as Parents in the School Setting

I feel a long blog brewing …

‘A Guide for Schools on working with Autistic Adults’… diagnosed and those who identify as Autistic …the do’s and dont’s …

Tip One … always remember the Autistic super powers of seeing and making sense of patterns … this also applies to patterns of behaviour … yes (insert shaking knees and face of fear) … we are analyzing you … constantly and building pictures and patterns about your observable behaviour … the patterns … we know when you are ‘managing us’ so best to be honest about your biases and motivations … with yourself and us … because we already know and we may … just may be in fact managing you to get the best outcome for us and our kids.

As Autistics we have an overflowing amount of compassion because we also ‘feel’ everything which is why we shut down … we feel too much. So we will be kind and follow the rules and keep the peace because we see your struggles with communication and we understand that you can’t be expected to know what you don’t know. The ultimate masking … being what we are expected to be.

So the next time you think you are ‘managing’ the Autistic parent … take a BIG bite of that piece of humble pie with a sip of honesty and state your truth. Anything less is condescending and that is what gets in the way of a meaningful working relationship. The message we receive is that you think you know best. You probably do know ‘best’ about many things, about education issues, the reality of the environment our kids are in everyday in your school … but about Autism … no. That didn’t come with your degree and your leadership programs. We are the experts of us and our kids. To receive our respect for your knowledge and skills you must show us the same. Yes … must. Anything less is an ‘inequality of power’

black and white blackboard business chalkboard
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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This post is thanks to a much admired friend and educational leader who got me thinking about this last night during a conversation about building relationships – Principals and Parents. As much as it sounds like a vent and a rant It is a serious point to keep in mind. It is impossible for an NT to fully understand our experience … and every Autistic experience is different! We don’t expect you to become an expert on us … we expect what you expect from us … ‘expected behaviours’ … manners, connection and understanding of our position … just as you expect us to understand yours. It comes back to the ‘R’s’ … I’ll share that one later!

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