Don’t let autism stop you from being a parent

Autism blogger Lisa Jo Rudy once challenged parents to “quit autism for just one day.”

Your child with autism may always be autistic, but there are places and circumstances in which it either doesn’t matter – or in which your child’s special talents make autism irrelevant. Whether it’s at the beach, in the woods, at a concert, or creating a work of art – just for one day – go somewhere where autism doesn’t matter.

Just for one day, quit being the parent of a child with autism. And become just a plain, ordinary, loving, proud parent.

Everything I’ve learned about parenting an autistic child can be boiled down to an incredibly simply stated idea (provided to me by a fellow autism dad): Parenting is parenting.

My response to Lisa’s challenge reflects this attitude:

Just one day? Every day should be like that. At the very least, every day should start like that. You can’t always control how a day will end up, but only you can control how your day starts.

I am the parent of a trampolinist. I am the parent of a horse-back rider (equestrian?) I am the parent of two pianists. I am the parent of two high school students. I am the parent of two avid gamers. I am the parent of an autistic son and an NT son.

I am, to use your words, “just a plain, ordinary, loving, proud parent.”

Every day.

No doubt parenting an autistic child can be hard. But don’t let that turn you into an “autism case manager”. Don’t let it stop you from being a parent. A plain, ordinary, loving, proud parent.

Every day.


  1. Hey, Brett! Not surprisingly, the response to that post was a lot of angry parents who accused me of not understanding what it means to be the parent of a child with autism (despite the fact that I AM one lol!).




  2. Lisa,

    I remember that discussion all too well. In fact, I think it was some of that negativity that prompted me to write my, what I thought was optimistic but realistic, response.

    Like so much else in this life, parenting is what you make it. If you think your life as a parent sucks, that it is a life of limitations and restrictions, it is quite probably going to suck. Just as bad as you think it will.

    If you see your life as a parent as a life of challenges and opportunities, on the other hand, failures and setbacks are just steps along the path.

    (Can you tell I’m a glass-half-full kinda guy?)


  3. lol! I guess so much of life depends on your mood… which depends, for me at least, on everything from the weather to the amount of money in the bank to the quality of responses I get from clients and readers to the question of what’s for dinner (and whether i have a decent bottle of wine in the house).

    on my good days, it’s all about challenges and opportunities.

    on my bad days, I just feel old and pointless.

    luckily, I’m a good cook, and have a decent wine cellar!


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