‘Why is he being weird?’ ‘He doesn’t play with me.’ ‘Why won’t he talk to me?’: Mom to son with autism pleas ‘teach your children about kids who are different’

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“When should you talk to your kids about autism? If your kid is old enough to notice someone is different, then they’re old enough to learn about autism.

‘Why is he being weird?’
‘Why won’t he talk to me?’
‘He is overreacting.’
‘He doesn’t play with me.’
‘He doesn’t like me.’

These are things that little kids have said about Ford. They’re honest thoughts and questions that aren’t bad— they need an explanation and Ford isn’t able to give one, so I’m asking that you give one for him in advance!

Calling Ford different or special is not going to offend us! We think all kids are different and special. Teach your kids: ‘Just like you are special and have unique preferences, so does Ford – and some of his are very different because he is autistic.’

Maybe ask them if they’ve noticed friends at school or at the park who are different.

It’s popular right now to ‘raise kind humans’ and to be inclusive— but true inclusivity means learning about people who are different from us and letting it change the way we live.

Our kids are watching us – when we roll our eyes at someone who has a different opinion than us, when we make fun of someone who believes something different than us, when we are impatient with someone who takes a little longer.

(Sorry I’m preaching – I’m preaching to myself, too!)

And I want to add: Autism is a spectrum. There are SO MANY traits that autistics have that differ from each other. Notice the differences and ASK. ASK. ASK. Don’t be afraid to ask.”

Little boy with autism smiles for a photo while playing in his backyard with Paw Patrol toys
Courtesy of Jessie Shirley

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessie Shirley of Murfreesboro, TN. You can follow her journey on Instagram. Submit your own story  hereand be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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