How is this book different?

There’s so much emphasis on transforming autistic children and not enough focus on how the rest of us interact with autistic individuals. This guide focuses on the changes that we can make as parents, family, friends, and caregivers to best support our autistic loved ones.


  1. Release Your Expectations (READ EXCERPT BELOW)
  2. Presume Competence
  3. Watch and Learn
  4. Respect Their Stims 
  5. Embrace the Unknown 
  6. Make Time for You 
  7. Be Patient, Not Pushy 
  8. Listen to Autistic Voices 


“If this were handed to parents of newly diagnosed or suspected autistics instead of other pamphlets, I could see overall attitudes towards autism being more positive.”

– Elaine, Neurodiverse Mama of Six

“I think that this is EXACTLY what should be recommended to parents of newly diagnosed kids. I especially loved the Embrace the Unknown part and want that printed out and hung up to look at every day.”

– Sybil Brhel, Mom of Two

“I want my parents and mother-in-law and a couple of additional relatives to have this to assist them in understanding my son and helping to cultivate the relationship they have with him.”


 Excerpt from Chapter 1

Release Your Expectations

Your child may be different, but they are not less.

“Different not less” is surely a slogan you’ve seen or heard before. It’s a concise and sometimes cutting reminder that your child may be different from their peers, or from who you expected them to be, but that doesn’t make them any less worthy of love and respect–nor less capable of living a fulfilling life.

We can also twist the mantra a little bit and remind ourselves that even though our realities differ from our expectations (the truth is, few parents plan for an autistic child), we don’t love our kids any less. We can better support our children by reshaping our own expectations using our growing understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and our evolving perception of autism.

If you are a parent, chances are that you had plenty of time before your child was born and in the first couple years of their lives to build elaborate dreams and expectations for them. This is often the first source of a parent’s grief and worry once a child starts showing signs of autism or receives their official diagnosis. That grief typically comes from hardened expectations of what a child will be like, and having to let go of those hopes and dreams will undoubtedly evoke some type of sadness.

Grief, anger, and worry are valid emotions.

You are allowed to feel those feelings.

It’s about how you experience these feelings, and how you work through them, that makes the real difference…

Download your copy now to keep reading!

Get the FREE 20-page guide and learn how to fine tune your own strategies to better support an autistic loved one.

About the Author

Timothy Gonzalez-Smith is a neurodivergent father, husband, author, advocate, and ally dedicated to educating and empowering the next generation of parents of autistic children. He developed and maintains @autismdads, encouraging parents, family and friends to look critically at how they support their autistic loved ones. He lives and loves in Chicago with his wife and two boys.

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