Trigger Warning: discussion of suicide risk
What is the right attitude as a parent to foster growth but not stress a child? This has been on my mind lately as I study suicide prevention, and the elevated representation of ASD individuals and suicide. (Links at bottom)
I went to a workshop by the Family Acceptance Project, an initiative on reducing mental health risk in families where LGBTQ+ identity may be an issue. It turns out they do work with families to differentiate Acceptance and support (since the word “Acceptance” had made me wary of the FAP previously.)
I have likewise struggled with the idea that Autism awareness is not enough and should be Acceptance. What does Support vs. Accept look like? A short, sweet list relevant to both situations (as I see it)
Hope: believe your child can have a happy life, though it may be different from what you previously envisioned.
Communicate with your child and express affection.
Learn about their minority situation and engage with supports.
Advocate for child in community and foster respect of the child in extended family contexts.
I consider suicide to be a matter of stress exceeding coping. As a parent I want to try and do more for healthy coping than I add to stress. In evaluating whether I do enough for my kids, I come back to the principle of the least restrictive environment in which progress is being made.
Cedar may spin stuff all day, but he creates interesting new ways of doing it. There maybe more than 2 hours of screen time in Hekka’s day, but is she picking up any social awareness or summarization skills? Maybe I am justifying letting them run to seed. Which is where I challenge myself on the healthiness of Acceptance.
ASD in the suicidal population http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0163834312002782
Suicide in the ASD population http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1750946712000931