Telling Your Child About Their Autism

What It Is To Be MeThere is a decision many parents tend to struggle with after learning their child is autistic – -which is, when and how do I tell my child they’re autistic? Writer Brenda Rothman touched on this very topic (here via Huff Post). She talks about the various “tactics” that people have recommended (ie…think it’s time to have “The Talk”). After thinking it through, she came to realize it wasn’t about sitting down and having this serious, big talk with her son about his autism – which could make it a negative thing, like something was wrong. Instead, she felt it could be done in trickles, which was more of a natural sharing of information – almost the opposite of “The Big Talk” tactic – making it no big deal. I like this way of thinking – because autism is part of who your child is, it should be a natural sharing of information, with an emphasis on what makes them special.

There are some books out there that are designed for autistic children to help them understand what their autism means, which can also be a good tool in talking with your child. A few include:

What It Is To Be Me!

Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes

Asperger’s: What Does It Mean to Me?

But there are many different thoughts and ideas on this one, so we’d like to hear from you (as I’m sure other parents seeking this kind of information do too). How have you told (or how are you planning to tell) your child about their autism?

First to share her insights is our own Jen Westphal, who said:

A few of the most important aspects of The Son-Rise Program is the three E’s – eye contact, energy and enthusiasm – and their teachings of acceptance.  Once we realized what a gift Kyle’s autism was (because we did NOT believe this before Son-Rise), we enthusiastically set out to help Kyle appreciate that his autism was an important part of him!  Some days were better than others, for sure, but today, at 20 years of age, Kyle understands himself sometimes better than most “typical” people I know!  Kyle’s courage to jump over one hurdle after another, fall down 7 times, get up 8, and embrace his autism makes him a hero in the eyes of so many who know him.

Lynsey, Community Manager