YOU. CANNOT. CATCH. AUTISM. FROM. SOMEONE. THAT. ALREADY. HAS. AUTISM.
While I am thinking of it, you can’t catch ADHD from someone who has ADHD.
It is also impossible to catch spina bifida from someone who has spina bifida.
Hold on a minute Simon, that’s just ridiculous – spina bifida is a disability that you are born with.
That’s quite correct you see, so why the hell are there still people out there who intentionally exclude people with autism from birthday parties and other social events?
I accept that the number of people who believe that you can catch autism is relatively low, or at least I bloody hope so, but then again this is 2020 so who the f**k knows anymore.
However, there are still way too many stories that pop up in the media and on social media about autistic children who get hardly any people turning up at their birthday party, or about parents of autistic children who are heartbroken about the number of events that they get invited to.
You can’t even use the ‘I was worried about how they would cope’ line either – that’s bullshit and I will tell you why.
Every single parent of an autistic child will know exactly what they can and cannot cope with, and they regularly do a bit of homework whenever a party invite comes in describing exactly what format the party will take.
The last thing that a parent of an autistic child will want to do is to put them into a situation where they might not be able to handle their surroundings, potentially causing disruption to the party or event. We don’t deliberately set out to be awkward and cause chaos – we just want the opportunity to make that judgement for ourselves.
In many ways, when a parent of an autistic child sees a party invitation, they are just as excited as the kid who is named on it, and this is because they know that someone out there isn’t just making that judgement for them. Sure, they might decline for one reason or another, but the parent who is already anxious enough about their child’s social life will receive a massive boost from just getting that piece of paper.
The same goes for parents of children with severe food allergies – they will make that judgement. This applies to literally any additional need out there.
We are incredibly lucky with Luke to have a circle of parent friends who are more than understanding and even accommodating whenever a party is organised amongst his peers, but I am aware that this is often the exception and not the norm.
I know that the world of school-based party invitations is a political minefield, and also that any child-based event will usually cost a bomb and that the line has to be drawn somewhere, but at the same time I just want the world to know just how valued a party invitation can be to a parent of a child who isn’t neurotypical.
If you are reading this as someone who constantly shares meme after meme about promoting positive parental mental health, you know the whole ‘my kettle is always plugged in’ phenomenon’ and so on, then please take a moment to make sure that you are not actually contributing negatively at the same time.