Autism is much more widespread in the world than many people realize. The news that a child in your family is autistic is most often met with a diverse number of reactions. Many people do not understand that autism can come in many different forms.
While most, if not all, family members would be very supportive they may not really understand what this debilitating disease is and may secretly be disgusted or even disappointed. Have you seen other families with autistic children and they scold them often? Would family members or others look at your child unfairly? Do other family members and friends insist on treating your child just like any other child even though the treatment may be very inappropriate? If so, these are very good signs that this family member or friend is not receptive to the autistic child or your family situation. Unfortunately this is often the case when friends or other family members discover you have an autistic child. So, as a parent be aware and prepared for this to happen.
As stated before, relatives and friends simply do not understand what autism is or what it really means for your child and your family. Many see autism as a mental retardation. The truth is is that autistic children and adults are quite intelligent. The most identifiable problem is that they are unable to communicate their situations in the same manner that others without autism would. You could try to explain what autism is to the friend or other family member and have them spend some time with you and your child to effect a better understanding. Allow them to see the effects of autism and the methods you use to cope and how your child copes.
If your family member or friend continue to be nonsupporting or simply refuses to believe your explanation you may have to ask this person why they are not receptive to the situation. Find out if they are afraid of hurting the child or you? Are they worried about the additional responsibility of spending time with your child? They may actually be guilty of their feelings or just embarrassed. If you can find out what the reasons are for the family member or friend being so unreceptive to your autistic child you can actually help them understand by addressing the issue in a different way.
You may find that no amount of talk or spending time with you and your child of autism will help this family member or friend understand. They may not be able to overcome their prejudice. If they are so disinclined to understand, they will never fully appreciate the beauty of your autistic child or your family.
If this continues to happen, you may just have to eliminate this person from coming around because of the negative energy and personality that will affect your child. It will certainly affect you and your family. You will have other family members and friends that will be supportive. Understanding autism can become a strength for you and anyone who is around and caring. You can continue to strengthen your support network by attending support groups for parents with autistic children. Remember, you have the choice to have your autistic child and/or family surrounded by those who do accept and love you, your family, and your child who has autism.