Why I don’t like “you don’t understand Autism unless you have a child with Autism” posts.


We’ve all seen them. The ever-so popular “you won’t understand….unless you have….” posts. I don’t like them. I would go so far as to say that I hate them, but I vowed to not give that much energy towards persons and things that really don’t need that much of my energy. “Hate” expends too much energy.

But I really, strongly dislike those posts. I couldn’t quite figure out why I didn’t care for them, until now. It’s not so much that I find them somewhat boring and redundant, which they are, it’s that they don’t really offer any solutions. They’re elaborate, wordy rants…and nothing is inherently wrong with that. We all gotta get it out. I guess it’s just that I’m past all that. I’ve entered this phase of this journey where I prioritize solutions over many things.

These posts and memes don’t offer solutions. And I don’t think they do anything to improve relations between those with special needs children and society as a whole. If you’re just venting to vent, then have at it, but the majority of those who post these memes or write these posts do so under the impression that it will somehow make the subject of their ire just “get it.” And it doesn’t. It won’t.

Why would it?

These posts basically say, “you don’t get it because you don’t have a child with autism.” Okaaaaay…. Now what? What do you want them to get? What is it that you want them to understand? That it’s hard? Yes, it’s hard. What do you want someone who doesn’t understand to gain from knowing that it’s hard for you as a parent of a child with Autism? How do you get them to not only understand the difficulty you face but also care that you face them?

I will tell you it ain’t by telling them they don’t understand. It’s like folks tune you out after being told they don’t understand shit. I don’t know if they even mean to or if it’s just some flaw we humans have. We don’t like to be told we are wrong about something. “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE BECAUSE YOU DON’T HAVE A CHILD WITH AUTISM!” And that may very well be true, but you aren’t inspiring change and understanding here, you’re inciting defensiveness.

As a minority member of society, in more ways than one, I know that progress cannot be made without contributions from the majority. They won’t ever acknowledge our plight if we continue to engage in methods that shutdown discourse. I’m not saying some folks don’t need to be hit with a few curse words and a few middle fingers (I’ve matured in many ways, but I’ll cuss you out quick if need be).

I am saying that simply claiming they don’t understand isn’t enough. How do you make them understand the challenges you face as an Autism family? How do you allow them to see the challenges your child with Autism faces? Change the delivery.

I don’t spend my time anymore telling people they don’t get to have opinions or make comments because they do not have a child with Autism. They most certainly are entitled to their own thoughts and opinions, even if I don’t agree with them. I’d rather spend my time showing others how we live as an Autism family. Being vulnerable in our experiences. Inviting them into our world.

“You don’t understand what it’s like to worry constantly about the next meltdown.” No, they don’t. I don’t tell them that. I share with them all the preparation that goes into just one outing with my boys. I show them how late I stay up trying to find that special spoon my kid loves, or how much gas I burned driving all over town for Ore-ida crinkle cut fries. I saturate their lives with ours. I draw out their questions and I invite them to the table.

It’s more work, but it’s necessary work. We need non-special needs individuals as allies and friends. I like to think that it’s not that they don’t want to learn and understand, we often cut them off before understanding can ever take place. It’s difficult for them to place themselves in our shoes if we keep telling them they won’t fit.



28 Replies to “Why I don’t like “you don’t understand Autism unless you have a child with Autism” posts.”

  1. Aw, this was a really nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a top notch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot
    and never seem to get nearly anything done.

  2. I simply could not go away your website prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the standard info an individual supply in your
    guests? Is going to be back incessantly in order to check up on new posts

  3. When I originally left a comment I appear to have clicked the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on whenever
    a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact
    same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able to remove me
    from that service? Thank you!

  4. Hello! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using
    for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress
    because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  5. Very good blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers?

    I’m hoping to start my own website soon but I’m a little lost on everything.

    Would you propose starting with a free platform like
    Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m
    completely confused .. Any suggestions? Appreciate it!

  6. Hi! I understand this is somewhat off-topic but I had to ask.
    Does managing a well-established blog such as yours take a lot of work?
    I am completely new to writing a blog but I do write in my diary daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my
    experience and feelings online. Please let me know
    if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring blog
    owners. Appreciate it!

  7. I’m extremely inspired with your writing skills as well as with the layout for your blog.

    Is that this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself?
    Either way stay up the nice high quality writing,
    it is rare to see a great blog like this one today..

  8. I like the valuable info you provide to your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your weblog and take a look at again here frequently.
    I am fairly sure I will learn plenty of new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the following!

  9. Hola! I’ve been following your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Dallas Texas!
    Just wanted to say keep up the great work!

  10. Can I simply say what a reduction to find somebody who truly knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know tips on how to bring a difficulty to gentle and make it important. Extra people must learn this and perceive this facet of the story. I cant imagine youre not more popular since you undoubtedly have the gift.

  11. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while
    you amend your web site, how can i subscribe for a blog website?
    The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright
    clear concept

  12. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get several emails
    with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?

    Thanks a lot!

  13. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that
    it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    A lot of people will be benefited from your writing.

  14. of course like your website however you need to test
    the spelling on quite a few of your posts.

    Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find
    it very troublesome to inform the truth then again I’ll definitely come again again.

  15. Howdy very nice website!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb ..
    I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also? I’m satisfied to seek out so many useful information here within the publish, we
    want develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing.

    . . . . .

Leave a Reply

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