Would I share my child’s worst day?

This is an edited version of a post originally published on Respectfully Connected

Parents of Autistic children are often told that in order to access support services, you need to base your story on your child’s worst day. I have heard this many times. I have often had applications for services and support declined because I didn’t tell them about my son’s worst days.

It really is a bit of a conundrum for me. On one hand, if I tell them about his worst days, we will both have access to additional support and services. On the other hand, I don’t want my son’s worst days to define him.

We all have bad days. I’m sure everyone has bad days. Everyone has had at least one day that they would call their “worst day.” Would you like your worst day to define you? I wouldn’t.

So, I am very careful about the way in which I explain my son’s needs. Being able to access support should not depend on his worst days. It should be based on what he actually needs to thrive, and be happy and successful.

This means that sometimes we don’t receive support. Then again, maybe we don’t need the type of support that is only offered when his worst days are exposed. I don’t want support that only focuses on his “deficits” (scare quotes intentional there). I want the type of support that focuses on his needs, and helps him thrive and be happy.

My son is Autistic. He has different needs to many children. He needs love, support and acceptance for the amazing person he already is – just as all children do. While telling people about his worst days may provide him with extra support, it won’t get him the love and acceptance he deserves. Without love and acceptance, all the support in the world wouldn’t be enough.

I won’t share my child’s worst days with anyone. Those are his and his alone, and he deserves his right to privacy and dignity.