If you’ve ever entered into a group for allies of Autistic people and asked, “What do I do instead of this therapy?”, you’ve likely gotten a response such as: “Let them develop naturally” or “Autistic development doesn’t follow the same track as allistic development.” It can be scary to hear those words. Everyone else is telling you that there’s a small window for early intervention. You are probably hearing 100 different things from different people and you only happened upon someone that told you, “Listen to Autistic adults. They are the true experts.”
But what does this suggestion you get from autistic people mean? It sounds very much at first approach like you shouldn’t do anything for your child. That you should resign yourself to knowing that Autistic adults, the experts, must know something you don’t. But there’s a message missing from this conversation.
Every Autistic person I know knows you need to support autistic children. This is an assumption that as a new parent, teacher or provider, you may not hear in the above assertions. Autistic children do develop on a different trajectory, and autistic children should be given the chance to develop naturally. But, it’s important to not forget the supports that go along with that.
Autistic children are bombarded with sensory experiences they must learn to navigate. They are working harder than neurotypical children to move and communicate due to motor planning differences. And as they develop these skills, you can still teach them, but more importantly, you should provide the supports and accommodations they need. This is why we built Foundations for Divergent Minds. As we discussed in the Introductory webinar last night, FDM is more than just the language change and the paradigm shift. We are here to help allistic people (who may not know how to diagnose the environmental, systematic and societal barriers), by providing you materials and supports. You can learn to better support the autistic and neurodivergent children in your life. They need a place to learn at their pace, with their developmental track, unobstructed. Won’t you join us?