Autism parent bingo can help ease those feelings of discomfort when we interact with parents of autistic children.
A lot of parents of autistic children blog and talk about the hardship of parenting their children. They use words like burden, marriage stress, and talk about wanting a ‘normal’ life. They won’t listen to autistic adults when we say that there is another way. They don’t care that their words hurt us. They don’t care that their words hurt their children. They tell us that we’re not like their children. They tell us that we must walk in their shoes, without ever considering what it might be like to walk in our shoes.
Despite that, we keep trying. We keep trying to let them know that they can do things differently; they can live a fulfilled life that might not be ‘normal’ by societal standards, but will still be wonderful.
At times, when we do that, we’ve lost before we’ve even begun because their minds are already made up. They don’t want to hear about a different way. They don’t want to let go of their burdens that garner pity and sympathy from strangers. They want to still be able to tell everyone how absolutely hard their lives are, and how awful their children are.
When another woe-is-me story was released yesterday, I suggested to my friend that the only way to deal with that podcast would be to play ableist bingo. She said that it might be good to have a bingo card specifically for parents of autistic children. I thought that one must surely exist already, and this one does. It is a good one, but it has some spots that are quite specific to the US, so we collaborated to make a more general one, free of location-specific details.
It’s time to play autism parent bingo
This is the one that we created:
Update 21/12/2018: I lost the graphic for this, but I’m leaving the links below as they’re pretty informative.
But a bingo card probably won’t help you understand why we make fun of parents who say these things, so here is a list of links that correspond to each square on the card:
- functioning labels
- working on eye contact
- burden/hardship/marriage stress
- dream of a ‘normal’ life
- FREE SPACE: walk in my shoes
- toileting/self-care overshare
- “love my child; hate their autism
- do anything to hear ‘I love you’
- not like my child
To parents of autistic children who might be reading this and feeling defensive: Please lean into that uncomfortable feeling. If you think that this bingo card applies to you, you can still change. You can still find the path that leads to acceptance. There is still time.
Thank you to Leia Solo for helping me to create this, by giving me suggestions for the blocks and helping me source quality links.