Top 5 What Not to Says Regarding Special Needs
The "R" word.
Don't say it. You may not find it offensive personally, and you may never think of a special needs person as being "The R word" but other people do. You will upset people. You will hurt their feelings, and worse, you will hurt their children's feelings. Because while you may not think of "the R word" in terms of handicapable children, I assure you that other people do, and a child with a disability has probably heard the word before, in all its ugly and hurtful intentions. Just... don't.
"Just spank them" or "That kid needs a good throttle" or "Maybe it you tore up his behind he'd behave better."
Spanking doesn't cure autism. It doesn't help a struggling child communicate or make sense of their surroundings. It doesn't help them feel comfortable and safe. It doesn't work.
"What's wrong with them?" or "what's wrong with you?" or "are you/is he retarded?"
Whoever thinks this is a good idea to say to anyone, ever is a complete moron. It's rude, thoughtless, and tactless, and that's barely scratching the surface. I wish I didn't have to add this to the list, because it really seems like common sense, but apparently it's not, and that gives me little hope for the human race.
"One day they'll never STOP talking, and you'll wish for these days back."
Um, no? The parent in question may, at some point in the future, wish their child would go find something else to do, or maybe wouldn't repeat themselves so much or something, but they will most likely NEVER wish for the days when their child couldn't communicate effectively. It's not some period of blessed silence where mom can read and think and watch shows in peace without a chattering toddler beside them. Far from it.
"My husband/brother/uncle/cousin thrice removed didn't *insert missing milestone here* until he was *insert slightly older than normal age here* and he's fine."
I suppose that maybe this is helpful for some parents, but for me.. knowing that your random relative didn't talk until he was 3 or 4 really doesn't help me cope with my child's difficulties. In fact, it kind of detracts from my struggles AND his/hers, because it translates roughly into "you're making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be. Chill out." That's borderline offensive, and overly not helpful. I understand you're trying to be reassuring, but it's really better to just... not be.