Lots of people want to be helpful, offering a solution that worked for their cousin’s friend’s neighbor’s kid (or whatever random relation). But to be a true friend, you should not try to “fix” your special needs child. And chances are, we have already heard or read about it and know it is not something that would work for our child. What we need from our friends is acceptance; not solutions.
Instead, say… “How is everyone doing?”
All a special-needs parent really wants you to do is listen and be a friend. Open-ended questions like “How is your son doing these days?” or “How are you doing?” allow the parent to share as much as he or she needs to—both the positive and the negative. Work to understand the child’s diagnosis. Treat the special-needs child like you would any other child. Most of all, listen and be supportive. And remember: Just like all parents, a special-needs parent usually wants to spend some time bragging about her kid, too!
Melissa Morgenlander, PhD, is a mom of twins who blogs about the intersection of autism, media, and technology at TheIQJournals.com.