Feeling Alone As An Additional Needs Parent.

I sat alone in a side room in the children’s hospital waiting on my son returning from his 16th general anaesthetic. In the silence of the room watching out the window to the busy street beneath I wondered if anyone knew I even existed. Did anyone care? 

The loneliness was overwhelming. 

I stood at the school gate quietly, all the other parents keeping their distance. Party invites being distributed, lots of chatter and excitement, but I wasn’t being included. I’m the parent of ‘that’ child. The one who is different, the one who plays alone and struggles to communicate. The child who doesn’t get the games others are playing and won’t join in with everyone else. 

The loneliness is emotional.

Back home everything is in full swing, as one child comes home screaming, throwing and destroying. Things get smashed, children screaming, dinner gets forgotten and burnt yet again. I feel helpless as I wasn’t with him all day so I couldn’t prevent any of it. I sent him and now he hates me. Behind closed doors no-one sees the pain from the weight of the heavy burden. 

The loneliness is exhausting. 

The fighting for services. To get someone, anyone, to listen. Find my child the help he needs. Or to push our way up never-ending waiting lists. The struggle to find hope, to support my child in any way possible. The constant phone calls, appointments, all the talking. Repeating the same thing to so many people just trying to get someone to help. 

The loneliness is overwhelming. 

But it can be broken. The loneliness can ease. While no-one was physically in that hospital room with me or standing beside me in the school playground. Or helping me holding my child with me as he struggled after holding it together all day at school or attending the meetings and appointments that fill my every week. They were with me in other ways. They understood. 

I used to feel lonely because I thought I was the only one going through this journey. Yet just along the road, in the next town, in the nearest city, out in the country and in the same school there were other parents whose child is different too. Other parents who know what it’s like to have a child who explodes after school. Or who doesn’t get that party invite and who are also fighting to get services and professional support. I didn’t know they existed because I let loneliness consume me. 

You are not alone.

Yes, it is lonely raising a child with additional needs and some struggles may be unique to my family But, that doesn’t mean others can’t understand and support. It’s about finding your posse, your gang, your support network who can walk beside you and cheer you on, whether that be in person or online. It’s about Googling support groups in your area, searching for social media groups relating to your child’s condition, or even just groups for carers. They are everywhere and when you find one where you feel at home it will be life changing. 

I can’t promise that you won’t feel lonely at times, but what I can promise is that others will be there and understand. A message, a text, or even just a funny meme sent in love might be all it takes to remind you that as hard as this is you really aren’t alone. 

When you feel lonely as an additional needs parent always remember that others do understand. We care and we are cheering you on right beside you. 

3 Tips for Transitioning Back to School in January

Any break in routine can really affect some children and even more so those with additional support needs. Transitioning back to school after a holiday can be an especially tricky time especially with dark mornings, bad weather and all the excitement that has come with Christmas and New Year. It takes time to get back into the swing of it so be patient with yourself and your child and hopefully a few of these tips might help as we all adjust back to uniforms, packed lunches, early starts, school transport and packing bags! 

Tip 1: Visual routine

You might not have forgotten what time you need to get up, when you need to get dressed or when the taxi is coming but for many children who live in the here and now those things belong ‘last year’ and they need a visual reminder of what is expected and when. Having this in a prominent place days before the first day back and talking about it often can help their minds shift from a holiday zone back to a school zone. For some children this may need to be very simple, even a first/then board but this can slowly progress to a simple sequence. If you don’t have access to images on a computer a simple drawing on a whiteboard or blackboard helps too. It’s about knowing what needs to be done and when and doing things in order. 

Tip 2: Start the bedtime routine days earlier 

I always felt I was doing the right thing by doing the school night routine the night before my children returned so that they knew what was happening. While there was logic in this it also left my children physically and mentally tired for days and they returned from school the first few days back so tired we struggled to get through dinner! I have now found that returning to ‘school night’ bedtime routines days before school actually returns works much better for us all. It creates that body rhythm that is necessary for back to school and resets their body clocks which seems to be that bit harder during dark mornings and winter weather. 

Tip 3: Find the positives! 

Getting anyone motivated to get out of bed on a cold wet morning is hard so is it any wonder your special needs child would rather stay home? For many children finding positives at school can be tricky but maybe there’s someone on the bus they like to see, or a teacher who they love, or just something on the lunch menu they can look forward to? For my son school dinners were, and still are, one of his greatest school motivators but for my daughter, it is always getting to have a small toy in her coat pocket to show a friend at break time. Finding and dwelling on the positives and motivators for any child really help make the transition back to school routines much easier and pleasing all around. 

The first few weeks can be rocky, emotional and exhausting but remember it does get easier. The mornings will get lighter, the weather will improve and mid-term break will be here before you even realise it. 

When People Don’t Believe You as a Special Needs Parent

It’s easy for people to say ‘Mum (or Dad) know best’ but sadly in reality when it comes to parenting a child or children with extra needs the sad fact is that parental opinion is far too often ignored, belittled and even worse made out to be lies! 

When my twins were born my daughter struggled to feed. I was told it was the way I was holding her, my milk wasn’t enough, I wasn’t winding her enough, I wasn’t getting her to latch properly and so on. Despite the fact her twin brother was feeding great and gaining weight it was somehow all my fault. It turned out my daughter had horrendous colic which required medication to help but that was my first experience as a parent to a struggling child of feeling I wasn’t believed. 

Not being believed left me feeling like I was a failure and that the issue was all my fault, which wasn’t the case at all. 

Months later I happened to mention to a health visitor that I had some concerns about my son. He wasn’t giving any eye contact, he wasn’t reaching out for toys like his sister and he wasn’t babbling or attempting to make any sounds. Initially, I was made out to be paranoid and told to stop comparing my twins and that ‘boys are always a bit behind so don’t worry.’ 13 years later and my son has since been diagnosed with three separate eye conditions, he’s still non-verbal and he has global developmental delay and learning disabilities. 

Not being believed meant vital referrals were not made until later and support was then delayed. 

At 3 my son was diagnosed autistic and by 4 he was in full-time special needs school. His diary would consistently say he had a ‘good day’ and feedback was positive yet at home, he had horrendous meltdowns, was difficult to manage and sleep was erratic. I would often mention this to school wondering if there was perhaps anything distressing him or any changes he was perhaps struggling with. Rather than the support I was met with a wall of ‘it’s not what we see’ or the classic, ‘it must be home that’s the issue.’ I was made to feel like I was exaggerating, lying or simply unable to handle my own child. 

Not being believed affected my mental health making me feel worthless and doubting my own abilities as a parent. 

Unlike her non-verbal twin, my daughter had clear speech and a large vocabulary. She would sing, question, describe and share so much at home yet I soon found out from nursery and school that while she was there she was withdrawn, anxious, and silent. Before she started school she was diagnosed with selective mutism which I soon discovered was very misunderstood. As a result of being unable to read to her teacher, my daughter would be given the same reading book at home for weeks even though she fluently read it easily at home. I would gently mention this to school but I was initially seen as being pushy, demanding and seen as someone who thought themselves above the teacher. 

Not being believed resulted in my child being held back academically and not meeting her true potential. 

Like many parents, I am not always comfortable speaking up. I avoid confrontation and have huge respect for teachers, doctors, therapists and paediatricians. I don’t like being a ‘problem’ or questioning too much, but when it comes to my children I do feel I know them more than anyone. When I do find the courage to ask for help or speak up about something it’s because I feel this is necessary and not because I just want to get attention or be difficult or whatever else. 

I know there will always be a small minority of parents who are over-anxious or exaggerate something for attention or have issues of their own but by far the majority of parents and carers are asking for support and mentioning issues because they know their child needs help and they are trying to support them better. 

What we need is people to genuinely listen to us, believe us, and support us without judgement or condemnation. Believing and working with us empowers us to be the best parents we can be, helps the child reach their potential and ensures services are in place as quickly as possible to pick up and rectify issues as they arise. 

It’s easy to say ‘parents know best’ but sadly too many special needs parents like me have long felt ignored, unheard and made out to even be liars because no one believed us when we mentioned issues. Imagine how life-changing it would be if only every special needs parent was heard and believed.

Living with a Violent Autistic Child

I’m just loading the washing machine and putting in the detergent when the phone rings. I already know before I answer who it will be and I dread the call that’s becoming all too familiar lately. 

My child has had another outburst at school.  As we talk through, once again, potential triggers, behaviour expectations and policies and how we progress from yet another incident I sit down and wipe a silent tear from my cheek. This isn’t an isolated incident either at school or at home. 

Raising a violent volatile autistic child is taboo. You feel shame and embarrassment and guilt and all too often parents like myself are left alone to deal with it. It’s isolating, exhausting and emotionally stressful.

We all know it’s not the child to blame but that doesn’t make it any easier. That doesn’t pay for damaged items, heal the scarring or ease the fear. That doesn’t calm your child, keep others safe or tidy up after another meltdown. 

So what does help if like me you are living with a child whose high needs and difficulties mean that they can become physical and violent at home, school or in public? 

Firstly, don’t struggle alone. 

You might feel alone but you most definitely aren’t. Often in the frantic scramble to get support and help for your child, you forget about seeking support yourself. Raising a child who has emotional or physical outbursts is extremely stressful and impacts greatly on your physical and mental health. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to reach out for help and support. Having a non-judgemental listening ear to confide in, a friend who understands, a support network who are there for you as a parent, can make the difference between you coping and falling apart. 

Secondly, accept that you might need to do things differently. Fighting with your child all the time doesn’t help anyone. Does it really matter where your child eats? Or what do they wear? Giving some control over your child isn’t admitting defeat or ‘giving in’, it’s about understanding their needs and accommodating those needs just as you would with any other disability. Stepping back and being able to admit that some things you do as a parent need to be reassessed is humbling and hard but children are not a one size fits all and all challenging behaviour is a form of communication that things aren’t working and changes need to be made. Being brave enough to see and accept that can bring peace and forgiveness where there wasn’t any before. 

Thirdly, treat the root cause of anxiety. All too often we get caught up in the trap of ‘behaviour happens, the child is punished, the child gets angrier, more behaviour happens’ and the circle continues on. In the heat of the moment when things are being smashed, people are being physically hurt and words are being shouted in anger stepping back, staying calm and seeing anxiety can feel impossible. Yet the reality is that your child is scared, confused, misunderstood and anxious and these emotions have become too much to deal with. Often an autistic child lacks the communication skills to talk through and share what is affecting them and triggers can happen quickly and easily. 

Stop and think:

What leads up to this incident?

What words were said?

Was there a routine change they didn’t expect?

Have there been too many demands placed on them?

Was the environment overwhelming?

Something as simple as the phone ringing unexpectedly, a teacher is off sick, not understanding a request, clothes that fit and we’re comfortable before now being too small, food tasting or looking different to how they expected, or sudden loud noise can all cause such extreme anxiety and lead to incidents quickly. It’s about understanding, being willing to help and putting things in place to reassure and comfort. 

There’s no magic wand. I can’t promise the calls from school will stop or the staring and judgement will disappear but remember to look after yourself, don’t be afraid to parent how your child needs, even if this goes against the norm, and work with your child to ease anxiety as much as possible. 

It’s hard but it will get better. 

The Complications of More than One Autistic Child

When my son was just three years old he was formally diagnosed with autism. 16 months later his sister was formally diagnosed too. While both of them had the exact same diagnosis on paper their needs were totally different. 

One thrived on lining up, ordering, was verbal, had no learning disability, had a very limited diet but had very good fine motor skills and was starting to hold a pencil and form letters and number shapes. The other loved mess, disorder, had no speech, was extremely delayed in all areas of his development, ate everything (including non-edible items), still couldn’t hold a pencil or cutlery and gave no eye contact. 

Despite having the same diagnosis their needs were as far apart as possible. 

My children are now teenagers but over the last 9 years since they were both diagnosed having more than one autistic child has created a number of challenges that I often see in other families of autistic children too. 

The first is this: It can be hard for people to see the needs in both children. 

My son’s needs are incredibly obvious. He flaps and makes noises, he doesn’t speak at 13 and he isn’t yet ready for toilet training. He’s boisterous, has very little social awareness, needs 24-hour care and doesn’t cope with even the simplest of routine changes. Whenever I tell people he’s autistic they often nod or smile as he’s the epitome of what many see as high needs or severely autistic. In contrast, because his sister is verbal with no learning disability getting others to see and understand her needs has been an ongoing fight. There’s an assumption that one child is ‘more autistic’ when in fact that isn’t true at all. 

Second is this: Juggling the needs of more than one is tricky

I grew up with siblings and my own parents did a great job of trying to keep things as fair as possible for us all. But none of us had any particular high needs so meal times were all the same meal and expectations were similar for us all. That’s not what life is like now as a parent as I juggle the needs of two complex autistic young people to maintain a peaceful settled home. At one end I have a child who is only content if technology is on the highest volume possible, who has to always be moving and who loves nothing more than the same ten seconds of something on YouTube on repeat all day. Whilst in the same house my other child thrives on silence, people sitting calmly, and who is triggered greatly by hearing something nonstop on repeat! Every day is a balancing act and there are days I fail and someone is left upset. Cut yourself some slack as a parent if you have more than one autistic child because meeting everyone’s needs, including your own, is a holy grail that can often change at a moments notice! 

Thirdly: The paperwork is crazy!

From two lots of schools reports to disability benefits to reports from professionals, school meetings, phone calls, educational plans, targets, and assessments you’ll need a whole system to keep things organised and filed! Finding the time and energy to get everything filled in, send away or completed is exhausting and draining. Add in different schools, different professionals working with them and even different paediatricians and it’s enough to need your own PA some days! 

Fourthly: Don’t blame yourself 

For my family autism is most likely genetic as my husband is formally diagnosed too. Whilst this can bring answers it can also, for many, bring blame. Judgement from friends and the public can cause you to think it’s your parenting skills or something you did to cause it but this isn’t helpful to anyone. There is no blame and carrying guilt as a parent only makes things even harder. Leave others to think whatever they want and use your energy instead to be the best parent you can be. 

Every day I look at my children and hope I am doing the best for them that I can. I endeavour to see them both as the wonderful, unique, quirky individuals they are and give them the love and attention they both need in whatever way they need. It’s tricky and tiring but having more than one autistic child has taught me his vast spectrum is, how difficult we all are and how together we can learn respect patience and understanding that not only helps us at home but in the wider world too.

3 Ways to Use Pop It Sensory Toys to Help an Autistic Child

My autistic twins love fidget toys: you know those spinners, stress balls, fidget cubes and little marble mesh things that give your hands something to do while you watch something or read or just need some time out. My daughter’s favourite has to be the pop it ones that you see everywhere in all different sizes and colours where you press the holes in like bubble wrap then turn it over to do the same again. The repetitive motion, the soothing soft sound and the satisfaction of doing a full line or the full toy really help her relax and unwind after a long day at school. 

But other than just sitting popping them on her own is there anything else you can use them for to help an autistic child? Here are a few ideas I do with my daughter that have really helped her.

Turn-taking games

There are larger pop it toys specifically designed for such games but if you don’t want the extra expense of buying one you can use any ones you have already and a spare dice. The idea is simple: you each take turns rolling the dice and popping that number of ‘bubbles’ on the toy and the first to get their toy fully popped wins. This game is especially good for helping children learn turn-taking, developing the concept of fairness (if one pop it is smaller then is that really fair?), and learning to accept losing. For younger children, it helps simple counting and addition and for older children, it can help problem-solving and simple fractions (‘wow, you have half of yours popped already. Well done.’)

This use has been especially useful when waiting has been hard as it can finish at any point. One day recently when my daughter’s anxiety was high about waiting for a programme on TV to start we used this pop it game to take the focus off the time and keep her calm.

Seeing positives 

My daughter really struggles with anxiety and misunderstanding social communication. She can have a tendency to dwell on negativity and hyper-focus on things that might go wrong more than anything positive. I often find her alone on her bed sitting with her fingers popping one of her favourite pop it toys repeating something negative over and over. So I sit with her and she’ll tell me about a teacher that upset her that day, a child who looked at her the wrong way, a sum she got wrong in maths and so on. I would get her to pop one bubble for every different scenario of her day until she felt she’d got to bedtime. Then I’d start at the other side of the same pop it, or at the bottom and I’d get her to think of positive things from the same day. Did anyone say good morning to her? Had the teacher said well done that day? Had a child playing with her? One by one we’d press another bubble for each positive until she came to the end of her day again. 

Almost every time when we counted the bad things and the good things she actually found, very visibly, that in fact her day hadn’t been anything like as bad as she had realised. The visual aspect helped her see that while bad things do happen so do good things and now she’ll often say when I pick her up from school that in her head she popped some bad bubbles but that she also remembers popping good ones too. 

As a calming tool

Emotions can be overwhelming and confusing for many autistic children (and adults) and finding a release from sensory overload is essential. While ear defenders, blackout tents, punch bags and so on have their place sometimes these just can’t be so easily accessed and it’s good to have a portable small item that has the ability to calm and soothe quickly.  When my daughter found the noise in a shop too much one day I got her safely outside and we used her favourite pop it to help her breathe slower and calm down by simply redirecting her stress into something more productive and safe. ‘Let’s sit and count 20 pops shall we?’ Then when she was starting to calm she counted 20 more until her body and mind felt calmer and safer and we were able to try again. 

Pop it toys are cheap, collectable, and colourful and are as individual as every child but to my autistic daughter they are much more than silicon or plastic pads that feel and sound like bubble wrap but a real tool for helping her self calm, interact with others and boost her mental health. They are fast becoming one of her most treasured fidget toys because of their versatility and their addictive soothing properties. 

They may be trending on TikTok, YouTube and in school playgrounds everywhere but for my autistic child, they are not just the latest trend in fidgets but her favourite tool that helps her in a confusing and overwhelming world. 

I wish they’d been around when I was a kid too! 

How attitudes change depending where people meet us

I watched closely as my 12 year old son carefully chose some more peddles from the stony beach, put them in his beloved red bucket, then walked a few steps to the water and dropped them in one by one.

He was always within reach, smiling, laughing and making his usual happy noises. 

After a few minutes I noticed a couple walking towards us as they walked hand in hand along the beach.

As they got closer I noticed they moved off course slightly and I assumed, like so many do frequently, that they were trying to avoid us.

Instead they smiled at both my son and myself and even initiated conversation. 

‘Lovely day for it isn’t it? He sure looks like he’s having fun there!’ 

I replied briefly back as they nodded,smiled and walked on. 

No stares. No questions. No hint that anything was different about my child.

Later the same day I took my son to the park. It was a very different experience there.

While he struggled to navigate and climb equipment for children less than half his age I noticed other parents stare, younger children pull back and conversations get quieter.

My son was out of place, drawing attention and his noises and mannerisms made people very aware he was different.

Similar things happen in shops, in swimming pools, in shopping centres or restaurants. 

People’s attitude to my disabled non verbal son seem to vary greatly depending where they meet him. 

I often wonder if that’s down to how different my son appears to others in certain situations or how relaxed other people are depending on where they are?

Maybe the couple on the beach felt they could distance themselves naturally if they wanted to much easier, and less conspicuously, in the fresh air than they could in say a shop or cafe?

Or maybe my son’s behaviour on the beach mirrors more what other children might do there and therefore his disabilities aren’t as immediately obvious?

Would that same couple have been as friendly and chatty if they were on a bus and saw us as they were at her beach? 

It’s hard to know really. I do often think in places like the park that still so many are influenced by others.

If one family beckons their child to move away from my son often others will copy. If one person in a restaurant stares then others sometimes do the same. 

What happened at the beach that day should be so unremarkable, so everyday, that my mind saw no need to really remember it.

Sadly, for many families like mine everyday friendly encounters like that are still so rare that they are treasured for months and years to come. 

One day I hope that the vast majority of interactions I have with others when I have my son with me are like that moment on the beach.

It shouldn’t matter where you meet my son, or anyone different for that matter, we should always  smile, chat and see them as just as valuable and deserving as everyone else, whether that’s at the beach, at the park, in a shop or anywhere else. 

Special needs families: The same meal every night

I never ever ask my daughter what she wants for dinner.

I haven’t asked her for years now. I don’t make a family meal and expect her to eat it, nor to I even expect her to eat with us as a family. 

All of that causes her too much stress. 

For years I was doing mealtimes all wrong and I didn’t even know it! 

My daughter refused whatever I made, she was losing weight fast, lethargic, pale and very anxious.

Other parents told me ‘She’ll eat when she’s hungry!’.

She never did. Doctors told me ‘She’s just a fussy child. She’ll grow out of it!’ She never did.

Mental health nurses told me ‘You can’t let her control you!’ She still didn’t eat anything.

A dietician prescribed build up shakes. She wouldn’t drink those either. 

Every single mealtime was so stressful we all ended up in tears. 

But all that has changed because now I make the same meal every night and allow her to eat it in front of a screen.

Finally she’s eating, putting on weight, less anxious and thriving in school. 

So few understand extreme food anxiety and refusal.

So many professionals still don’t believe in or understand ARFID (avoidance, restrictive food intake disorder) and many schools don’t accommodate children like my daughter either. 

As a society we are programmed to believe that a healthy diet has to consist of a large variety of different foods, fruits and vegetables are vital, and meals should be eaten as a family without screens.

While that might be the right thing for some it’s not right for my child. 

For my child the same meal every night is what is safe. It’s consistent. It’s predicable and doesn’t cause sensory issues.

It always tastes the same. It looks and smells familiar and there no pressure to be social and eat at the same time. 

By giving her what I know she will eat I am respecting her, understanding her, listening to her and getting her to trust me.

In turn that is what has enabled her, over time, to try new foods and slowly, very slowly, broaden her diet. 

Now at 12 she eats around 10 different foods. A few years ago that was just 4. 

And that progress, however small, is because every single night she has the same meal. 

People can and will judge but they are not living and raising my child.

I need to do what is right for her and you need to do what is right for your child too. 

To all those making the same meal every night for your child: you are doing great!

Don’t allow the judgement of others to get to you.

If your child is eating then you are doing the right thing. Never ever forget that. 

Special needs parenting: 3 reasons I parent differently

I have had over 12 years of professionals involved with my children.

I’ve been criticised from everything from child lead feeding to not enough tummy time, to fighting for special needs schooling to having too many toys in my living room, but the one that consistently crops up time and time again is the way I discipline my son. 

I didn’t set out to be controversial, I rarely raise my voice and there isn’t ever physical punishment.

So what do I do that causes so many professionals (and much of the general public)  to feel I am wrong in how I raise my non speaking autistic son?

Well many would say he controls me, some argue he controls the full household, and it appears to many that he always gets his own way. 

I do parent differently but that’s because I have a different child to everyone else. 

Firstly his behaviour is communication:

When he refuses to go into a certain shop and I acknowledge that by not taking him in I am respecting the fact he is communicating to me that for whatever reason going there is too much for him.

Maybe it’s too bright, or too dark, too loud, too busy, it smells unusual or it’s too cold.

Making him go in might seem on the surface to others I am teaching him obedience and that he can’t always get his own way but actually it’s teaching him that his feelings and communication don’t matter and that consent is meaningless.

As a vulnerable child who will at some point have others look after him without me there I need him to know that if he is uncomfortable and he communicates that someone will listen. That starts with me listening as his mum.

Secondly his need for control is anxiety driven:

When you don’t understand everything that happens around you and to you you can feel disorientated and frustrated.

Feeling out of control breeds anxiety in us all and my child is no different.

Routine is everything to him and allowing him to have a bath when he’s ready (even if that’s 1:30 in the afternoon) or wear what he wants isn’t about having him control me but about lessening his anxiety so that he is calm, settled and happy.

Giving him choices makes him feel respected and included and means he eats better, feels better and in turn the entire family are more at peace.

Thirdly I am meeting his needs not wants:

I don’t have a child who throws a temper in a toy shop because I won’t buy him a certain toy but he will scream if I happen to walk past a shop with a lift and he doesn’t get to see it.

The difference is that lifts are in fact meeting a huge sensory need that has to be fulfilled.

It’s like someone who has to run daily or a dog who requires a daily walk.

No-one would say walking a dog everyday was spoiling it and likewise meeting my son’s sensory needs is not spoiling him but meeting a very high need he has in order to stay healthy and happy.

For me that means allowing him to be noisy (he can’t speak but he can sure make noise!), allowing him to move about lots and letting him line toys on his bed every night.

It means many lifts visits, walking daily and a bath every single night. 

My child doesn’t act like a 12 year old because developmentally he isn’t 12 in any way. I need to parent him according to his needs and understanding and in a way that works for our family. 

It’s easy to be judgemental of other’s parenting. It’s especially easy to see a parent ‘give in’ to a child who is crying or screaming and assume they are a weak parent.

It’s too easy to tut and think, ‘I would never do that!’ 

But every child is different and there is always much more than meets the eye. 

Maybe the child has a hidden disability, maybe they are neurodiverse or developmentally delayed.

Maybe the parent is actually respecting their child’s communication, meeting their sensory need, or trying to calm an anxious child.

Either way parents like me get more than enough judgement and misunderstanding from professionals as it is and we don’t need any more judgement from anyone else.

When you have a child who is different it means you need to parent differently too.