Children on the autism spectrum have every right to know about their diagnosis. As a child, perhaps they might be too young if diagnosed early to understand. That does not mean, however, they shouldn’t be introduced to what’s going on with their life. Your child has to grow up with this diagnose and the earlier you can explain it and help your child understand, the better. There’s been some controversy in the past as to whether or not to tell kids they fall on the spectrum, but kids have the right to know. Some might wonder why they seem a bit different than their peers. They might feel as if they don’t fit in, they might feel scared or lonely, they might feel a number of things that could be easily explained by their diagnosis. As a parent, your job is to make your child as comfortable with him or herself as possible, and that means telling them about their diagnosis. And we have some tips as to how you can do it.
Go with Your Gut
If you’re 5-year-old seems too young and immature and your gut instinct is to wait, then wait. If it seems like your child will understand, tell him or her. Your gut is the best instinct you have, so use it. You’re the parent. Talk to your child’s doctor. He or she might be able to help you make a good decision about timing based on the severity of your child’s autism and his or her age, personality and development.
Make a List
It helps if you can sit your child down with a list of his or her strengths and best characteristics. This helps soften the blow a bit. It’s not easy for kids to hear that they are different when all they want is so badly to fit in with everyone else. If you can show him or her a tangible list of all the things at which he or she excels, it can make the concept a little less daunting by reminding your child he or she is so wonderful and has so much to offer.
Don’t hide things. Don’t let your kids feel that you are not being honest. Answer his or her questions if any are asked, and answer them with honesty. The more upfront and honest you are with your child, the more likely you are to make this a bit easier. Kids need to know they have someone they can count on, and that’s you.
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