(Closed) Friend’s autistic child – what to do?

posted 10 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 17
Member
738 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

As a Mom to a toddler, I know going into a situation like a wedding ceremony can be stressful for my daughter. She isn’t autistic. She’s just..a toddler. And has a short attention span. I think if your friends child started screaming in the ceremony, your friend would likely swiftly take her out of the room.

Post # 18
Member
5983 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1999

@piglet – Thanks!  I have written so many of them and they truly work!  I’ve written them for verbal and non-verbal kiddos for such a variety of things (i.e. shredder noise, passing gass, bathing, going to a new school, etc.).  I would be willing to help, if needed.

Post # 19
Member
22 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2011

All these ideas have been awesome. Social stories are so helpful to prepare kids on the spectrum for new and different environments. And the school could definitely help prepare her for the wedding by talking about it and working with her. And if someone from the school or a behavior therapist could attend that would help Mom feel more comfortable too. It does add one more person the reception cost though! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 20
Member
3048 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

That’s a fair concern to have. I know how you feel. I’m not a big children person… in fact I don’t like them at all. So having a child there that you almost know will interrupt is hard to grasp. And I know you are being sensitive because she is autistic. So don’t feel bad for wanting her not to come. In this situation, if it is really hard for her to leave her girl with a random babysitter, I would work with her to ensure she has someone she can trust.

At first I was thinking… eh it’s just a wedding. Let her come, and just wait for her to stop screaming. OR let her come and tell her mom to walk out the door if it gets too bad. But thinking about that reaction, that’s not fair to you or your fiance. Many people want to have “kid-less” weddings for the same reason. And I think it’s fair for one day in your life (and much money spent) to not have kids there.

Also, it’s ok to have your relative’s kids there. They are family and they have a reason to be there. I wouldn’t feel too bad about this. But like I said, I would try really hard to figure out how she can be taken care of during the wedding.

Post # 21
Member
125 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I agree with many of the people above. There is nothing wrong with keeping your wedding adult-only with the exception of your close family. However I would also say I would make sure to not only exclude your friend’s daughter simply because she is autistic. My cousin is autistic and for my sisters wedding, and we are planning the same for mine, one of his teachers baby sat at his house during the ceremony then he came for part of the reception because there were other kids and it was very casual anyway. He didn’t cause any issues there. In fact, there were 2 different and fairly severely autistic children at my sisters reception and there was no issue, they had toys that were distractions for them and they were perfectly happy. Their parents were used to dealing with them and knew what to do. 

But again, if you don’t want any kids other than family that is fine. But DON’T be the person who doesn’t invite only this child because she is autistic. 

Post # 22
Member
223 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’m sorry… am I the only one that is totally outraged by this post?!?! How selfish of you to consider not inviting them because of a child who has a disability. If I were that friend, and the mother of that child, and caught wind of your thoughts, I would reconsider the friendship. I am SURE the parents would deal appropriately with the situation; they are the parents.

I am appalled. I have never spoke poorly on ANY post on WeddingBee, but this one has me furious and feeling SO sorry for your inconsiderate thoughts on an Autistic child.

How dare you.

Post # 23
Member
206 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
@LoriKay628: I sort of have to agree. Maybe not as vehemently – but I certainly see your point and definitely empathize with the other side of this equation more than the OP.

OP, if you invite other kids and not this one because of her disability it will come across as it is… discriminatory. As someone who has a mother who has worked with autistic children I have to agree with @Cardigan. Autistic children are a lot more high functioning than people give them credit for. Just because she can’t talk doesn’t mean she won’t hear  and understand your wishes if you tell them to her and her mother clearly and respectfully.

The only way to entirely avoid tantrums would be to invite no kids at all. Any child has the potential to have a melt down at a wedding.

Post # 24
Member
67 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

@LoriKay628 – I think you are being extremely harsh.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to write “how dare you” because she is considering not inviting an autistic child to a wedding is going overboard.

By the way, have you ever been around an autistic child?  I have and they can be very disruptive out of the blue.  I think it is practical for one to consider whether or not they’d want that type of possible disruption at their wedding.  In my opinion, the wedding is about the bride and groom and not about catering to possibly disruptive guests.

We are not having children at our wedding because we don’t want disruptions.  Yes, children are adorable but they can also cause problems.  It is our choice who we want to invite.  Anyone who said “how dare you” to me about our guest list choice would be quickly uninvited.

Regarding the original post question:  I’d tell everyone that only the children in the wedding party are invited.  I wouldn’t want to make the parents or the child feel singled out so just make it a rule for everyone.  As I mentioned previously, I’ve been around autistic children (my Mother also teaches them) and unusual situations with a lot of unknown people, new surroundings and different music would not be the best choice for an autistic child.  

Post # 25
Member
4765 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas

View original reply
@melisslp: I love the social story suggestion! They can be so incredibly helpful, and they can make a world of difference in how a kid responds to a situation!

View original reply
@LoriKay628: I’m not sure whether or not you mis-read the OP, but she wasn’t talking about not inviting the whole family because of the child. She is wondering if she should invite the child or just her parents. 

Also, just a small little Public Service Announcement to anyone who doesn’t know, it’s best to refer to a child on the spectrum as a “child with autism” not an “autistic child”. It’s a small differentiation, but it puts the person first and doesn’t use their disability to define who they are. Not something many people would notice, but as someone who works with kids with autism, I always try to pay attention to that – it usually means a lot to people who have a loved one with autism! Just wanted to throw that out there for people who may not know! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 26
Member
3048 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

View original reply
@LoriKay628: I don’t think she excluding only the autistic child. I think she is only including like 4 children from her family. Although it is wrong to be stereotypical and to single out a child with a disability, I don’t think she is doing this. I think that becauseat  the child is autistic people are getting mad. But it’s not because of the autism, it’s because of the outbursts and behavior that this specific child has. Of course other children have outbursts. But she know her family’s kids don’t usually have outbursts. She also knows that this child does (regardless of being autistic or not).

I guess what I’m trying to say is that she is not trying to be discriminative against an autistic child. She probably has worries for any children (besides her family) to have those outbursts. Some people can handle children who do this, and others can’t. I know I’m the type of person that doesn’t like children in general. So I want an all adult wedding (except family–they had to push me into that one, haha). Anyway, I would be worried about any outburst. And if I knew a particular child couldn’t go anywhere in public without throwing a tantrum they would be out of my wedding.

**Note, I am not saying that because this child is autistic that they will have an outburst. I’m taking the information she gave us that said this child in particular does have outbursts.

The whole situation sucks in general. But I think we should give her the benefit of the doubt before we accuse her of being discriminative. I hope this helps and I welcome any thoughts/comments on what I said.

Post # 27
Member
1371 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

View original reply
@LoriKay628: The OP admitted this was a sensitive issue, and never said she was considering not inviting the parents, only that she was considering an adult-only reception as the mother was trying to insist on bringing her child.

Many parents have little control over their children.  We had two children at our wedding that were poorly behaved, and the parents did nothing (as usual).  Some parents do NOT control their children or react properly.  I cannot count the number of times I’ve been at a church service where a parent does not take their screaming child out.  Regardless of disability, this can be an issue.  The OP had to mention the disability to explain her concerns over disruption.

View original reply
@Dollygold: No child with autism is alike.  Levels of functioning are extremely varied.  Although some children with autism are much more high functioning than others would believe, there are others that are extremely low functioning.  My mother also works in special education, and I just finished an extensive course in special ed.  As my special ed prof says, “Once you’ve met one child with autism, you’ve met ONE child with autism.”

Post # 28
Member
223 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2011

I suppose you are right: My post was little harsh. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I was voicing mine. Sorry it was so harsh. I just feel so sorry for the child that is, in a way, being discriminated against. I have, in fact directly worked with Austistic children and understand the disruptions that can happen.

However, to call someone my friend and then to consider not inviting them to my wedding because of a disability their child has … is just not something I would do.

All children can have outburts. If you’re worried about it, then just don’t invite any. Just don’t discriminate.

 

Post # 29
Member
3048 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 1991

View original reply
@cardigan: You’re right! I am a Social Worker and I constantly forget to address people first and not their diagnosis. This is helpful not only with children who have autism but adults who have Schizophrenia or any other diagnosis you can find in the DSM. I apologize for using it the other way. I know better than that! ๐Ÿ™‚

Post # 30
Member
1371 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

View original reply
@LoriKay628: “However, to call someone my friend and then to consider not inviting them to my wedding because of a disability their child has … is just not something I would do.”

She never said this.

Post # 31
Member
4765 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2011 - Vintage Villas

View original reply
@kperry3: No big deal! It’s something that was really drilled into me when I was in college, so I’m really aware of it now! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

The topic ‘Friend’s autistic child – what to do?’ is closed to new replies.

Find Amazing Vendors