What's It Like to Have a Child With Autism?

March 26, 2015
A smiling man talking to a student in his office.

"I sit quietly while you cry because your friends say you can’t play with them any more because you tried to change the rules once too often, even though it was only so you could cope."

Jill Finch wants to help her daughter. At seven years old, she's bright, funny, and loving. She also has severe sensory processing difficulties that make normal days exhausting and frantic days feel desperately out of control.

At seven, she can recede to a place where a hug can't help—but understanding can.

Finch wants to help her daughter, but she also wants to help autism awareness as a whole. So she's detailed her experiences in single, stunning sentences, hoping to promote learning, understanding, and empathy in these very personal moments.

Here are a few selections:

"I stand quietly at the supermarket checkout while everyone stares at you barking like a dog and blowing raspberries on my arms to cope with the buzzing lights."

"I sit quietly when my family tell me that you will grow out of it, you just need more routine and earlier bed times."

"I lay quietly beside you when you tell me that you are the wrong sort of special and the wrong sort of different and you want to die."

Find the rest in Finch's "I stand quietly."

How do you help your child cope? How do you cope, yourself?

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