I want to share why we have decided not to bring our three kids with Autism, to my great aunts calling hours, and/or funeral. In some ways, this decision was difficult, but in many others, it was easy.
When it comes to saying goodbye to a loved one who’s passed, it’s easy to assume that everyone needs closure or the opportunity to say goodbye. In most cases, I would agree, but there are some cases in which I strongly disagree.
When it comes to kids with Autism, every parent has to do what they believe to be best for their child. These decisions might not be popular but they are necessary to ensure the child’s best interest.
It’s really important to understand that every child with Autism is different, but there are common threads that many will have in common. When my wife and I decided to not allow our kids to go to the calling hours and funeral this week for my great aunt, there were a few reasons for that. I’m hoping that by sharing our reasons for making this decision, it might help others.
Lizze and I know our kids better than anyone else. We know how they react to stressful or emotionally charged situations.
Not only would our kids struggle with their own emotions, but they would be overwhelmed by everyone else’s as well. Kids on the Spectrum tend to live very symbiotic lives, meaning they often feel and experience what the people around them are feeling and experiencing.
If we allowed them to be present in such an emotionally charged situation, they would end up paying a very high price.
Our kids are so sensitive, they would become quickly overwhelmed, and likely remain that way for days, weeks, or even months afterward.
Elliott still hasn’t gotten over our parent’s dog Rogue, dying a few years ago. There are plenty of times, especially at bedtime, when he still crystal because she’s gone. Emmett’s the say way.
In Gavin’s case, emotionally charged situations will lead to him death decompensating. He’s dealing with Autism and Schizophrenia. Both are significantly impacted by emotionally charged situations.
When my wife and I made the decision to make arrangements for the boys, rather than allow them to attend the calling hours or funeral, it’s because it truly is in their best interests. Not everyone will agree and that’s okay. We don’t parent our kids with the goal of making those around us happy, or more comfortable. We parent our kids in a manner that ensures that their needs come first.
I should also add that my family understands and supports our decision, making it much easier for us. We haven’t experienced any guilt trips or other forms of nonsense either.
Not everyone has understanding people in their lives and having to make difficult decisions like this, can ultimately end up being a source of conflict between family members.
My heart breaks for those facing situations like this. Not only do they have to contend with the loss, but also judgment and ridicule, for simply putting their child first.
Again, every family is different and every child with Autism is as well. You know your child best and must do whatever you feel to be right. It’s not easy having to make decisions that will upset those around you, but if those decisions are best for your child on the Autism Spectrum, more power to you.