Guest List: Things I Have Learned as The Mother of A Child With Autism


Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 9.31.27 AMPenny Wincer is single Mum of two; Arthur and Agnes. Her son Arthur is Autistic, her email to me explaining why she wanted to write a list was so articulate and heartfelt and frankly serves as a  better introduction than anything I could muster…

“I have been thinking about ways in which I could spread a little more  acceptance and understanding and I thought perhaps a list might do the trick!  I find sometimes that people have a very fixed idea in their heads about what autism is and is not.  I thought a list about Arthur, some of which is not what people expect, might help people to see autism a little differently.”

  • Special needs kids need special parents.  Except most of the time you’re just an ordinary one.  You have to learn to be ok with that.

  • Your head knows it’s not your fault he can’t do things others find so easy.  Your heart will sometimes feel otherwise.  

  • You need to learn to be ok with not knowing.  I mean, really not knowing.  Will his speech ever be fluent, will he have enough skills to follow a passion, will he be independent?  Thats a lot of unknowns to be ok with.

  • People mean to be kind, but they do sometimes say stupid things.Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 9.22.50 AM

  • When you spend a lot of time in crisis mode, it effects your long term health.  You must not take this lightly.  You  have more need to be in good health, for longer then anyone else you know.

  • Your “enough” looks different to other parents enough.  Don’t be ashamed if you need more alone time, more exercise, more wine or more coffee then your fellow parents.

  • This is a marathon, not a sprint.  Also the mantra “it’s a phase” does not necessarily apply in this house.

  • When other parents moan about how advanced their child is and that they desperately wish they wouldn’t keep hitting these milestones because it makes them sooooo incredibly sad,  try not to punch them in the face.

  • Try not to punch people whose “child would never behave like that” in the face.

  • Just don’t punch anyone in the face (you’re going to want to)

  • Practising mindfulness is a proven stress buster for us folks (also helps with the point above)

  • Many of your firsts as a parent will actually occur with your second child.  Sometimes that really hurts.  

  • Your typically developing child will seem like utter magic to you.  You will never take even the smallest achievement for granted.

  • You will never be prouder of your typical child when the first thing her teachers tell you is how inclusive she is of the younger and less able kids in her class.  A special needs sibling is  as much a gift as a special needs child is.

  • You need to learn to be ok with not being able to meet both your children’s needs at once. Their differences make that really hard.

  • You learn to accept that you probably will never take that family gap year, round the world trip. Instead you’ll make the most of the adventures you can have.Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 2.26.01 PM

  • Kids who can hardly speak can also have a surprisingly good sense of humour.

  • You may not be able to have conversations about his day, or what he wants for christmas or what he wants to be when he grows up, but you’ll smile every time he says water-lemon instead of watermelon and you’ll know exactly why he’s reciting that particular scene from Peppa Pig

  • He’ll laugh more then any child you ever meet

  • He’ll forget all his other gifts the moment he opens the slinky.  He doesn’t really care for “stuff” and that is a wonderful thing

  • He’s like living with an Opera, all highs and all lows. Rarely anything in the middle. Exhausting, emotionally draining and joy filled.

  • Having a child who belongs to a marginalised minority group is a wake up call for your privileged white ass.  

  • Sometimes it all feels too hard and you’ll be wishing it away but often it feels like a gift.  Not many people get to experience this fast track ticket to self growth.

  • Happiness does not depend on milestones.  Not just late milestones but never arriving ones too.  Who knew!Screen Shot 2017-12-14 at 9.23.43 AM

** For more from Penny check our her beautiful blog **

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  • Reply Ani December 15, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Hugs and kisses from a fellow ASD mum xx

  • Reply Now That’s What I Call A List 2017 – Mother of all Lists December 30, 2017 at 4:30 pm


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