Parents of autistic children often feel like bad parents. This is because their instincts and what is “normal” often fail to get expected results.
Don’t think of this slideshow as a perfect formula that will always work. Think of it as an opportunity to troubleshoot when your attempts aren’t getting the results you’d like.
Parents, educators, and support workers also feel like who they are gets lost because they are putting in so much effort.
So they try harder. Things get worse. They try harder. Things get even worse.
The good news is the solution is easy. The “trying hard” itself is likely the culprit. Your child may be offended by the effort.
Just start doing what you love in front of your child, being in your joy, and if they want to join, make it possible. And safe.
The home photos in these images are from my (Terra Vance) and my child’s now-mutual passion: Plants
After we cultivated this passion, we began sharing it with my friends on private social media. They joined in! The plants in these images came from various people who have mutual joy.
From the seashells, toys, planters, and the plants themselves, most of these came from community.
The last photograph in this sideshow is a plant from Elizabeth Vosseller from the International Association for Spelling as Communication. My child named this one “Turd” and garnished it with tiny toys called Shopkins, modeled after a potty, toilet paper, hand soap, and a spray bottle full of cleaner. The plant behind it has a vintage elephant, and is named “Donut Joe” after an ancestor who was a professional elephant tamer. The “Donut Joe” title is a mystery.
Through this, I’ve been able to share about other passions— gemstones and crystals, antiques, ancestral traditions passed down from my grandparents, and more. And I learn so much about my child.
It’s grown to now be a mosaic of lots of people’s love and personalities, connecting my child to others who now have folded our traditions into their own.
Coming from poverty, this kind of community culture of giving from what you have— like found objects, plant cuttings, seeds, canned foods, etc. is home to me. It’s a beautiful way to build community, autistically.
You can click here to access image descriptions.
Click here to download the printable PDF of the images in this post, and the individual images can be viewed below.