family, parent, autism

Many times in our lives, we come upon a fork in the road. One choice leads you down a certain path and the other choice leads you down a very different road. Finding out your child has Autism is complex enough, but eventually we all come to a similar fork in the road. Do I choose my child, or do I choose to please the surrounding neurotypicals, those judgmental people around me?

family, parent, autism

It sounds simplistic but we realized almost immediately after the diagnosis that you can be judged, alienated, and sometimes even rejected by your peers and perhaps even family.

It hurts because you know your child cannot help the ‘tantrums’ when the baby in the grocery store won’t stop screaming. Or, that your child’s complete lack of athletic skills will never match the soccer mom’s expectation of a friendly neighborhood soccer game.

So eventually you and your child are excluded.

When these and many other similar situations would continue to arise, I realized my son would always elicit these responses from unforgiving people, because his Autism was not going away. So, we chose our child. As soon as our family as a unit took that path everything became easier!

I no longer worry about other’s lack of knowledge when it comes to sensory issues or brain function. We as a family could have our own fun. Quirky doesn’t bother me anymore, in fact it’s almost cool, and definitely a relief.

Together our family is a strong unit accepting and excelling in our son’s unique interests. Our family weekends are no longer with people that make for awkward or unforgiving situations. But, we welcome anyone who would like to be with us, just as we are! Now, many years later, the same families who alienated us for the differences have surprisingly praised our strong family unit, “hiccups” and all!

by Jennifer Allen

Print Friendly, PDF & Email



    When a parent receives 'news' from a doctor concerning their child is 'not normal', their world caves in.  Unfortunately, many doctors are uneducated in the realm of special needs students.  Their knowledge is vast but in the medical field and not in how special needs students are educated, the resources available, the REAL future that is possible for their child.

    In fact, at that critical moment, when the child is identified as a child with special needs, HIGH EXPECTATIONS has to become the mantra.  Parents need to immediately start to learn the Federal law concerning the educational rights of their child and their rights!  You MUST become fluent in the language of special education which in Texas, is different somewhat than the rest of the 49 states.  You must research and be wiliing to provide documentaton which validates your concerns and your child's abilities/needs.

    Most of all, you must be willing to open your heart and YOUR MIND to change.  Be prepared to change and/or modify your and/or your family's routine to assist your child to prosper.  That does not mean that JUST because he/she is special, he recieves special breaks from rules.  The world will not grant him/her those breaks and neither can you.  But you can teach him/her WHY, how, when, where, and what to do.  Reason, logic, CONSISTENCY must be your rule of thumb for your child to succeed.

    I've worked in special education since 1972, in all areas of special needs with all areas of disabilities.  I have held many different positions; teacher, counselor, diagnostician,and director.  Nothing makes me happier than my current diagnostician position where one of my schools is a high school.  I work with an exceptional team of educators because I get the rare opportunity to REVOCATE a student; take them OUT of special education – ONLY if they have passed ALL their State mandated assessments and have/will have earned all their credits to graduate! 

    Know that as a parent of a special needs student, there is hope, there are people, like Jennifer Allen that put their heart and being into making this a better world for all special needs children!

    1. Author

      Thank you so very much for your comments John! Your experience in special education is vast and your contribution is great. Educators are our life-line to our kids during the challenging school-age years. When you have those that care…it can’t be beat.

  2. Jennifer,

        You're awesome, I appreciate your dedication to your family!


                                        Jodi Routh

    1. Author

      Thank you so much Jodi! What an honor! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *