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.
If you’re reading this as a special needs parent, I’ve created a FREE template to reduce holiday overwhelm for your child. You can quickly fill this out and give to friends and family over the holiday season. It’s called “Holiday Fun with My Child” and will tell others about your child’s likes and dislikes so everyone can enjoy holiday activities. There is also a note at the end asking people to respect your child’s “no” when asked to do something.
I’ve made three versions for you, two with picture backgrounds and one plain for those of you who like to save ink. Why not reduce holiday stress and increase holiday fun? Get your freebie by clicking the image below!