Bringing a child to autism-related meetings
I am a committee member for the Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks. For many walks, I have been the chairperson in charge of the 300 or so volunteers for this very large yearly event.
The LA Walk happens each year typically in April. The committee begins meeting around December. We meet once a month until April, where we meet twice.
At first, this volunteer position was something I did by myself. My husband wasn’t involved and he would taken care of our child when I was at the meetings.
Then, I began to take my child with me to the meetings. I would bring things for him to do while I was busy in the meeting.
Is it okay to bring a child to autism-related meetings?
I have never shied away from autism-related discussions, even around my son.
For that reason, I didn’t think twice about having him at an autism walk discussion.
He wasn’t involved in the meetings. He would do his own thing at these meetings; draw, listen to his DVD’s (with headphones on), or walk around to regulate himself. These meetings had a roomful of people who understood my son, so I never had to explain his behaviors.
He got to be well-known at my walk meetings.
Do I care about what he hears at these meetings?
I don’t think he hears anything bad at these meetings. And, what he hears doesn’t seem to bother him.
He honestly doesn’t directly discuss it often, but he knows he has autism. He hasn’t told us that he’s uncomfortable at the meetings. But, he does know he’s there–and I’m there–because of autism, which means because of him.
Is having him around the conversation the “right” way for him to find out that he has autism?
I have no idea really.
Since my son takes his time to do most things, maybe it’s my own way of easing him into it.
I talk to him a lot.
I keep the lines of communication open. And, even though he sometimes appears as if he’s not listening, he often is.
Finally, I think my child trusts me and daddy. He often questions us to help him understand things. I call him, “the question man.”
He tries hard to understand his world. Involving him, even at an autism-related meeting, seems natural to me. It’s a safe place. So, why not?