(Poll) As an Autism parent, do you get frustrated with unsolicited advice?

I wanted to address something that can be really frustrating for me and that’s unsolicited advice. I also know it’s fairly common for Autism families to get unsolicited advice, usually from well meaning people, but not always.

I totally understand that I put myself out there by writing about my family. I get that opens me up to comments from people who read. I accept that because I’ve been doing this for well over a decade now and I’ve been around the block a few times.

Please answer the below poll if it applies to you

Here’s the thing. Parents like myself, tend to get unsolicited advice from people about our lives, our kids, our finances, and the decisions we need to make. We are frequently told we’re doing something wrong by people who haven’t a clue what we’re doing or why we’re doing it. I get it all the time here, sometimes at the grocery store, from well meaning friends or family, and even complete stranger while we’re in a restaurant.



If you were to poll Autism parents (and I am above) and ask if they like getting the unsolicited advice, my experience tells me that they would overwhelmingly say no.

You have to understand that I get this everywhere I go and have for years. Most of the time I just smile and say thank you because it’s simply not worth it. Sometimes the unsolicited advice can end up being positive but it’s all in the approach.

I write this blog is a very specific way and I do that on purpose. What some take as me being negative or depressing, is more often than not, me sharing things in a way that resonates with other families in similar circumstances.



When it comes to my kids, I’m an expert. Most parents are experts in their own kids. Better than anyone else, I know what works and what doesn’t.

Very rarely are things solved with a simple solution. If it would have worked, it would have likely already been done.

Many of the problems faced by Autism and Special Needs parents are very complex. From the outside it may seem like an easy fix but it usually isn’t. There are so many things to take into consideration that most people wouldn’t even think of.

Is there room for improvement in my life? Of course there is. I think that applies to most people.

I’ve spent the last 15 or so years in an endless game of parenting trial and error. The list of things that will work with my kids is infinitely shorter than the list of things that do. There are even sublists as well.

There’s an offshoot of the things that work list that contains things that work but create more problems than they solve. There’s another offshoot of things that worked once but never again. Those are things that anyone else wouldn’t take into account because they lack the first hand experience of living my life, raising my kids, as well as dealing with the consequences of making the wrong decision.

So many people want to help and I get that. One of the things I’ve tried to explain is that helping only helps if it’s something the other person needs. I’ve written many times about ways you can help an Autism family. The goal was to help those who want to help an Autism family in their life, to do so in a way that actually makes a difference. Even those are guidelines because every Autism family is different.

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Even well intentioned help can be misguided and that can end up making things worse for the family in question. That actually happen quite a bit.

I don’t write this blog because I’m looking for help or advice. It may appear as though I’m asking a question but I’m trying to carefully word things in a way that will benefit the most people.

When I talk about financial issues or frustrations, I’m not looking for budget help or criticism. I’m writing about what’s happening in the moment and how it makes me feel. The point is, others will read it and realize they aren’t the only ones struggling in that area or being faced with the same types of decisions. That simple recognition can provide someone with a profound sense of comfort.

I’m never going to be able to educate the world in a way that makes a meaningful difference. My goal is to provide insight for people who aren’t dealing with the same issues. Unless I specifically ask for advice, I’m not looking for it. I simply hope that the insight a reader has gained can somehow be applied to someone in their life.

One of the biggest compliments I can receive is oftentimes from Grandparents. They tell me all the time that until they read my blog or watched my YouTube channel, they didn’t understand what their son or daughters family was dealing with or going through. They didn’t understand how Autism could impact the lives of their loved ones or how completely exhausting a meltdown can be.

I often hear that they had thought their son or daughter was overreacting or being dramatic about what they’re struggling with. Reading my struggles, helped them gain perspective and it changed the way they approached Autism in their lives, improving the relationship with their son or daughter in the process.

I couldn’t ask for better validation for how and why I do things the way I do.

Am I always right? Hell no… Do I have a great deal of real life experience and know better what’s best for my kids than most people stumbling across this blog? Hell yes.

Do I make mistakes? Absolutely. Do I need or want those mistakes point out to me by those that read this Blog? Nope, not usually. Myself, along with most other Autism parents are hard enough in themselves. They don’t need any help in that area.

The whole point is that I get enough unsolicited advice. Most Autism parents get their fill of unsolicited advice. While I appreciate that most are well intentioned, it’s almost never as simple as it appears.

One the things I tell people is that you can’t always apply a simple solution to a complex problem. It just doesn’t work that way, at least most of the time. If the solution was a simple, obvious one, we wouldn’t be dealing with the problem because it would have already been solved.

Please understand that sometimes the absolute best thing someone can do, is simply listen and let the person know that you don’t get it, because you aren’t living it but that you’re thinking about them. Rather than offer advice, ask what you can do to help. That’s very likely to come across better and be received in a positive way.

Just something to think about.

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Rebecca Magliozzi
Guest

One thing at a time.. likely you could focus on the other things first and put off the neuropsych testing for a little while.. Its alot of information at once, but you are in expert hands with this doctor and he is getting to the bottom of it. You will find answers for Gavin. Just be patient.

Rebecca Magliozzi
Guest

One thing at a time.. likely you could focus on the other things first and put off the neuropsych testing for a little while.. Its alot of information at once, but you are in expert hands with this doctor and he is getting to the bottom of it. You will find answers for Gavin. Just be patient.

Rebecca Magliozzi
Guest

One thing at a time.. likely you could focus on the other things first and put off the neuropsych testing for a little while.. Its alot of information at once, but you are in expert hands with this doctor and he is getting to the bottom of it. You will find answers for Gavin. Just be patient.

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Don’t move the goalpost too far here. While you have receive parenting advice, and whether or not there is validity to the advice, I can see that being frustrating….the earliest post responses were more commentary on you shutting down your life and needing a day to not ‘adult’ despite having numerous commitments scheduled. You don’t need to be well versed in autism to know that how you handle stress and illness isn’t the best.

kimmy+gebhardt
Guest
kimmy+gebhardt

Dutch already touched on what I was going to mention. You have often talked about Dr. Reynolds and let everyone know how great of a doctor he is and how hard it is to find a child psychiatrist, yet you simply called and cancelled an appointment yesterday like it was no big deal. With no regard to Dr. Reynolds or his other patients. Someone else could have used that appointment that you deemed unimportant. Same for the Cleveland Clinic. They had 3 hours set aside for Gavin’s tests and you just cancelled day of. No big deal. Why? Because your… Read more »

Unable+Pown
Guest
Unable+Pown

Pro-tip: Ice cream is great

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Don’t move the goalpost too far here. While you have receive parenting advice, and whether or not there is validity to the advice, I can see that being frustrating….the earliest post responses were more commentary on you shutting down your life and needing a day to not ‘adult’ despite having numerous commitments scheduled. You don’t need to be well versed in autism to know that how you handle stress and illness isn’t the best.

kimmy+gebhardt
Guest
kimmy+gebhardt

Dutch already touched on what I was going to mention. You have often talked about Dr. Reynolds and let everyone know how great of a doctor he is and how hard it is to find a child psychiatrist, yet you simply called and cancelled an appointment yesterday like it was no big deal. With no regard to Dr. Reynolds or his other patients. Someone else could have used that appointment that you deemed unimportant. Same for the Cleveland Clinic. They had 3 hours set aside for Gavin’s tests and you just cancelled day of. No big deal. Why? Because your… Read more »

Unable+Pown
Guest
Unable+Pown

Pro-tip: Ice cream is great

Dutch
Guest
Dutch

Don’t move the goalpost too far here. While you have receive parenting advice, and whether or not there is validity to the advice, I can see that being frustrating….the earliest post responses were more commentary on you shutting down your life and needing a day to not ‘adult’ despite having numerous commitments scheduled. You don’t need to be well versed in autism to know that how you handle stress and illness isn’t the best.

kimmy+gebhardt
Guest
kimmy+gebhardt

Dutch already touched on what I was going to mention. You have often talked about Dr. Reynolds and let everyone know how great of a doctor he is and how hard it is to find a child psychiatrist, yet you simply called and cancelled an appointment yesterday like it was no big deal. With no regard to Dr. Reynolds or his other patients. Someone else could have used that appointment that you deemed unimportant. Same for the Cleveland Clinic. They had 3 hours set aside for Gavin’s tests and you just cancelled day of. No big deal. Why? Because your… Read more »

Unable+Pown
Guest
Unable+Pown

Pro-tip: Ice cream is great

Gabriel Pulido
Guest
Gabriel Pulido

No. Internal ways of solving a problem should never be written down. It defies the point. It’s like encapsulation in programming. A program doesn’t care how the OS handles a request for something. It just cares that it’s handled. This allows for things like cross-platform programs. If teachers teach internal/mental ways of solving a problem, they should always be optional and shouldn’t be written down unless the kids choose to. I tend to use subtract-by-higher-place-value-first, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in the classroom does, much less write it down. You could see people using different strategies as their main… Read more »

Gabriel Pulido
Guest
Gabriel Pulido

No. Internal ways of solving a problem should never be written down. It defies the point. It’s like encapsulation in programming. A program doesn’t care how the OS handles a request for something. It just cares that it’s handled. This allows for things like cross-platform programs. If teachers teach internal/mental ways of solving a problem, they should always be optional and shouldn’t be written down unless the kids choose to. I tend to use subtract-by-higher-place-value-first, but that doesn’t mean everyone else in the classroom does, much less write it down. You could see people using different strategies as their main… Read more »

BeckyW
Member
BeckyW

Not everyone is wired the same. What some of you consider an acceptable amount of stress might be totally different for Rob. I don’t have the same challenges in my life as Rob does, but he is the one who takes care of everyone else in his family. And what he calls stress that you are interpreting as “just some easy to blow off tension” might actually be high blood pressure inducing, unable to see straight stress. People with a high amount of stress may not be able to drive adequately well due to their level of upset. Combine that… Read more »

BeckyW
Member
BeckyW

Not everyone is wired the same. What some of you consider an acceptable amount of stress might be totally different for Rob. I don’t have the same challenges in my life as Rob does, but he is the one who takes care of everyone else in his family. And what he calls stress that you are interpreting as “just some easy to blow off tension” might actually be high blood pressure inducing, unable to see straight stress. People with a high amount of stress may not be able to drive adequately well due to their level of upset. Combine that… Read more »

BeckyW
Member
BeckyW

Not everyone is wired the same. What some of you consider an acceptable amount of stress might be totally different for Rob. I don’t have the same challenges in my life as Rob does, but he is the one who takes care of everyone else in his family. And what he calls stress that you are interpreting as “just some easy to blow off tension” might actually be high blood pressure inducing, unable to see straight stress. People with a high amount of stress may not be able to drive adequately well due to their level of upset. Combine that… Read more »

Barbara
Guest
Barbara

I get real f*king tired of hearing that if I just disciplined my son “a little better”, he would not be melting down in the loud crowd. Someday, I am going to lay down on the floor and melt down right next to him