Common Concerns of Parents of Kids with Autism

Common Concerns of Parents of Kids with Autism

Video Transcript:

COACH: ‘You might not have ever thought about it, but families of children with disabilities like Autism Spectrum Disorder can sometimes be very anxious about attending a community activity like the NAB AFL Auskick. Kids with autism might find it harder understanding instructions, they might stand too close, talk too loudly or say things that don’t seem to fit. They might need to be shown things rather than to be told what to do. Let’s hear from some parents about some of their experiences so that we can help welcome children of all abilities into the footy community.’

PARENT (Jenny): ‘Yeah well because James looks normal and doesn’t have a physical disability when he has a melt down in public, you know like at the park or at the shops, people think it’s our fault as parents and that he’s just a naughty kid Or that we can’t control him. I don’t think they understand he has autism.’

PARENT (Fred): ‘When we take Amy out I feel like I have to explain her behaviours. It makes me uncomfortable and it makes it just feels like I’m coming across as a ‘bad parent’.’

PARENT (Jenny): ‘Yeah well sometimes after people find out about James’ autism they just see me as the mother of James and well and they treat me as if there is something wrong with me but well I’m just a normal person like everyone else.’

PARENT (Fred): ‘Whenever we take Amy out in public there’s a lot of anxiety for us as parents. Other parents umm other kids they just don’t get her behaviours. So often we just don’t go out.’

PARENT (Sarah): ‘Yeah sometimes parents and their kids don’t really know what to say when they see Brad and the way he behaves. They’ll avoid eye contact, or their kid will say something inappropriate, and it’s really embarrassing for everyone. I mean I’ll ask parents how their kids are going but then they won’t ask me how Brad’s going’

PARENT (Jenny): ‘Well one time we had to wait in the queue at the supermarket and James got really upset and started screaming and the shop assistant came up to me and said and rudely said ÔDo you mind taking your son out of the store’ and umm I felt dreadful as a mother because I couldn’t stop James from screaming and so we had to leave the store without any groceries and umm I just cried when I got home.’

PARENT (Sarah): ‘Yeah well we just want Brad to do what all the other kids are doing, like Auskick, but we didn’t think he would be able to because his coordination and that isn’t like the other kids. But he can do it but he can just do it in his own way. Umm and it might not be like the other kids but he’ll get there and he’ll absolutely love it just to be included and um you know if everyone is accepting of this, that he might not do things like the other kids and encouraging like they are with their own children that would be just fantastic. That would be really good.’

PARENT (Jenny): ‘Yeah James really wants to do Auskick. It’s just much harder for him than for other kids. People need to understand that James’ behaviour isn’t because he’s being naughty. It’s because he has autism and if people just knew thatÉ that would make it so much easier for us!’

PARENT (Fred): ‘Look Amy just wants to be friends and do the normal things that other kids do but she just doesn’t know how to. If people just understood thatÉ then we would feel a lot more comfortable going out in public.’

COACH: ‘We have the opportunity to truly make sports like Auskick inclusive for all kids, regardless of their ability. Our reactions can help kids and their families feel like part of the community. Be aware of whether you might be judging other parents and their child without even meaning to with a look or a comment. Show you care by being understanding and accepting. Try to think how it might feel for them. Ask the parent if they’d like your child to say hi, or ask if there is anything you can do to assist. Keep this in mind when you next interact with kids and their families and you can help make NAB AFL Auskick fun so that everyone can play!’