by Cas Faulds
Advice that is often given to parents of Autistic children is that you have to base your story on your child’s worst day in order to receive support services. I know this to be true from my experience: I have often had applications for services and support declined because I didn’t tell them about my son’s worst days.
It really is a bit of a conundrum for me. On one hand, if I tell them about his worst days, we will both have access to additional support and services. On the other hand, I don’t want my son to be defined by his worst days.
We all have bad days. I’m sure every person on the planet has had at least one day that they would call their “worst day.” Would you like to be defined by your worst day? I wouldn’t.
So, I am very careful about the way in which I explain my son’s needs. His needs should not be based on his worst days. His needs should be based on what is actually needed in order for him to thrive, be happy and successful.
This means that sometimes we do miss out on receiving support but then maybe we don’t want or need the type of support that is only offered when his worst days are exposed. We don’t want support that is only focused on his “deficits” (scare quotes intentional there). We want the type of support that is focused on his needs, and the type of support that is there to help him thrive and be happy.
My son is Autistic, and he has different needs to many children, but like most children he needs to be loved, supported, and accepted for the amazing person he already is. While telling people about his worst days may provide him with extra support, it won’t get him the love and acceptance he deserves. Without love and acceptance, all the support in the world wouldn’t be enough.
I won’t share my child’s worst days with anyone. Those are his and his alone, and he deserves his rights to privacy and dignity.