Okay, so I promised you all last week that I would discuss a very particular question that I’m sure many of you have had at some point or another. This post just so happens to introduce a new recurring segment on the blog that I like to call:
Ask an Aspie
This is a segment where I take questions I frequently hear about and answer them in my own inimitable fashion.
So, you just found out that your child has an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Let’s just bypass the confusion and fuss behind getting that diagnosis in the first place. We can talk about Diagnosis Puzzle later.
But let’s say you actually went through all that and already have the diagnosis. Now what? When do you tell your child? Should you even tell your child? Will he understand what it means? Who ate the last piece of that cake I was saving in the fridge since yesterday?
Well… First off, I’m sorry about the cake. I was really hungry and too lazy to make something more nutritious last night.
But more seriously, the best time to tell your child is NOW. You cannot hide this from your child forever. He or she will inevitably find out one way or another. Even if you feel your child is not mature enough or mentally ready to handle it, the truth is your child will at least know what he or she is dealing with and will grow to accept it over time. It is always better to have everybody on the same page. That way, you can work on what the next steps are together. Your child will know he or she is not alone, and likewise, you will not be alone. I can’t begin to remember how long it was before I was present at my own IEP meetings in school. I actually wish I was there from the start. (Then again, I was 3 or 4 when I got my first diagnosis. So maybe I would have been a little young to understand what was going on.)
The sooner your child knows, the sooner your child understands. The sooner your child understands, the sooner everybody gets on the same page. The sooner everybody gets on the same page, the sooner progress can be made. Because when it comes to ASD, you want to start as early as possible. I was lucky enough that my mother noticed my abnormal behaviors when I was 2. Since then, I’ve made considerable progress on my social skills.
Now, you may want to know the best way to do this. That’s the easy part of this whole situation (perhaps the only easy part). Just hold a family meeting and discuss it. Answer any questions your child(ren) may have to the best of your honest knowledge. But what if you have more than one child, but only one is diagnosed? Just as simple. I would recommend talking to everyone in the household all at once. The sibling(s) will no doubt have questions, too. After all, this affects the entire family. Honesty is always the best policy. Especially when it comes to ASD. You want to be CLEAR, STRAIGHTFORWARD, and OPEN-MINDED about this. I was very depressed when I first learned what Asperger’s was. Over time, I grew to accept that this would always be a driving force in my life, so I decided to put it to work for me. I decided to USE IT TO MY ADVANTAGE.
But I never would have gotten this far if nobody had ever told me what it was I was dealing with.
If anybody else has a question they would like answered in Ask an Aspie, please email me at aspieepilogue(at)me(dot)com or tweet me at @aspieepilogue. I’m also always on the hunt for your Puzzle Pride Awards. You can email me or tweet me those as well! Don’t forget about the Facebook page, either! I am always interested in what my readers have to say. Until next week, Puzzle Pieces…