Sharing With Your Child Their Autism Diagnosis

Sharing With Your Child Their Autism Diagnosis

Has your child been diagnosed with autism? Are you wondering when and how to share that diagnosis with your child? In this article, we are going to discuss how to best share this diagnosis with your child. It is very common for parents to not want to share the autism diagnosis with their child. Some parents fear that if they tell their child, it will make their child develop low self-esteem. They fear it will make their child feel as if they are disabled and very different from other children.

In order to be ready to share the diagnosis with your child, it is important to understand that autism is not something to be ashamed of, and it is not a disease. Having autism does not mean there is something wrong with your child; it is a part of who your child is. Saying your child has autism is just another descriptor of who they are, like their eye color and family background. Having autism is just another piece that makes them who they are.

It is best to share the diagnosis as early as possible. The reason is that younger children tend to be more adaptable to new and life-changing information in comparison to older children. They are new to the world and everything in the world is fairly new to them. From a younger child’s point of view, being told they have autism just seems like all the other new information they have been learning. For a teenager, it can be more difficult for them to receive this information as they are going through this awkward period of trying to figure out who they are. Even if your child is already a teenager, it does not mean that you should not share or delay sharing the diagnosis with your child. It just may be a little more difficult for them to accept.

Tips for Getting Ready to Talk with Your Child

  1. Have someone your child trusts tell them about the diagnosis: For example: yourself, a grandparent, or therapist.
  2. Choose the right moment: Pick a time during the day when you and your child are calm and not in a hurry or likely to be interrupted so you are able to give your child your full attention.
  3. Emphasize that autism is not a disease, but a difference: This will help to prevent thoughts that they have a sickness.
  4. Don’t make the conversation too long: Make it a discussion rather than a bombardment of information.
  5. Use resources: Read books or watch a video with autistic children talking about their autism to help facilitate the discussion about the weaknesses and strengths of autism.
  6. Talk with your child’s therapist about creative ways to share the diagnosis with your child: For example, some parents have used art to share the diagnosis and help their child understand who they are.

If you need additional support, you can reach out to a child therapist.