Many families wonder when and how to approach sharing with their child that they have an autism diagnosis. There are no clear rules on how or when this talk should occur, but there are a few things you should consider:
-Autism is a lifelong condition and may unfortunately impact how others react towards your child. Generally, a person with a diagnosis of autism is already aware of their differences.
-A diagnosis is simply a description of features that are currently present – it may feel more real when a diagnosis is provided, but the symptoms did not appear simply because the “magic words” were spoken.
-A diagnosis can provide you with the language and a framework to consider using to meet any additional areas of need that are present. For example, your child can learn to advocate their needs to their teacher – “I have autism, I feel overwhelmed when there is a lot of noise in the classroom.”
-I, as well as many self-advocates that I have communicated with, have expressed that learning of our autism diagnosis was a relief – it provided us with a clear way of communicating to others what our differences are, which supported us with then advocating for any supports that we may need.
-I am of the opinion that my autism is nothing to be ashamed of. Learning about my autism provided me with insight into who I am so I could best utilize my strengths.