Connecting with Other Parents in the Autism World

“Six degrees of separation.” “It’s a small world.” “The autism community pays it forward.”

Here’s the scenario:

Mom of a child with autism throws a party for her son who is turning thirteen.

The son invites a new friend from school to the party.

The friend can’t make it (she’s overwhelmed by the anxiety of the party and other stuff) so her mom comes to the house to give her B-Day wishes and drop off a small gift.

The host mom has only met the friend, not the mom.

Upon meeting the friend’s mom, the host mom and the friend’s mom create an instant connection as well as an instant “shorthand.” The friend’s mom says, “My daughter has autism.” The host mom says, “I had already guessed that.”

The conversation took off from there, an easy, familiar, information conversation.

What does this scenario mean to me?

I hadn’t met this woman. I only knew her daughter, and only a little bit. The daughter was a new friend for my son. They had met in an after school program and recently were eating lunch together.

I had suspected that the daughter was on the autism spectrum. She wouldn’t give my eye contact, she repeated herself, and seemed stilted and stiff.

Her mother confirmed it to me almost right away.

What did that do?

Two things:

It put me at ease. (I responded by telling her that my son is also on the autism spectrum.)

It locked me into a comforting, familiar conversation.

And, I believe it was reciprocal for her as well.

We agreed that our two kids seemed to be a good match as friends. We decided to make plans to get them together out of school.

What did this initial meeting accomplish?

Yet another connection between two parents with a shared interest.

A promise for playdates in a quieter, non-party environment.

And, a name and phone number for a voice teacher for her daughter. That came about because of yet another mom at the party. The host mom make that introduction and the information was forwarded.

Oh, and yet another connection was brokered when a third mom offered the name and phone number a special needs music teacher (a friend of hers).

What did I take away from this?

What I often take away, energy and friendship.

The previous week I attended a brunch with fifteen AutMoms (and one dad), and also walked away with information overload and energy.
It happens to me all the time.

And, it’s special for me. It feels good inside because the autism community is such a strong pay-it-back community.

A party for my autistic son was just one example of why.

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