One autism mom's thoughts after the 2016 presidential election

Kids with Autism & Politics: After the 2016 US Election

This is not a political rant. You can breathe now.

It’s the day after the 2016 US presidential election, and the emotions I’ve seen on social media make me think of a Jackson Pollock painting–many different colors and splattered around, bright and happy, dark and sad, all mixed in. In the middle of all of that, I saw a post that has got my brain percolating and I wanted to share a little autism awareness with you. (The post didn’t mention autism, it just got me thinking…)

Just because a child with autism blatantly blurts out a comment about a political candidate (or anyone for that matter) does not mean he is saying what his parents believe or how his parents would say it. Autism and other special needs are often invisible. Therefore I invite you, and myself, not to assume the worst of parents when a child says someone is a “murderer” or “jerk” or “idiot” or whatever else you may be hearing kids say about people involved in the campaigns.

Whatever my political beliefs, I am trying to teach my children to share their opinions in a kind way and remember that Jesus loves all sinners. That “but for the grace of God, there go I.” My son has pretty strong opinions on his own. He comes to his own black-and-white conclusions. Just this morning I told him there would be a lot of disappointed people and we need to be careful of what we say. Am I trying to change his beliefs? No. Am I trying to help him learn an appropriate way to speak to people? Yes.

So, there’s my two cents. And really, it goes beyond politics. I remember being the one to wonder, “Why can’t that parent control her child?”, long before the days of autism started for me. Before you think a child’s parents promote hating Hillary or trashing Trump, remember…they’re just a child. They are learning how to filter and how to interact. You never know what’s going on behind the scenes and there could very well be a parent coaching for kindness and timeliness but it just hasn’t stuck yet.

The end.

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Jenny Herman

Jenny Herman wants to live in a world where dark chocolate dispensers reside on every corner. As a homeschooling special needs mom, she’s been featured in Autism Parenting Magazine, Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids: Mostly True Stories of Life on the Spectrum, and various blogs. If she survives the onslaught of testosterone in her home, she may take a moment to blog, read a book, try a new recipe, or loom knit a gift. You can find Jenny’s book The Power of One: Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life on Amazon.

4 thoughts on “Kids with Autism & Politics: After the 2016 US Election

  1. My almost seven year old son with ASD went on a rant the other day about how political yard signs ought to be illegal. He’s convinced that most of society will end up in jail due to physical altercations over political disagreements. I appreciate your perspective as a special needs mom, because to an outsider it does kind of seem as though we’ve modeled intense political conflict to him. It actually says more about how he struggles to understand non-physical ways to resolve his problems and disagreements.

  2. Very good post Jenny. Due to your experiences, being with “our boy”, and learning from you; I am not quick to judge an unruly child or “acting different” child (when not obvious).Love that boy!

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