An autism diagnosis can be a difficult subject for the whole family. When a child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), parents may find it difficult to explain this condition.
Parents may fear the reaction of their child to the diagnosis of “being on the spectrum”. Common fears are that he/she won’t understand, become depressed, or get angry after hearing about ASD.
It is true that some children get upset when they hear this news. However, the diagnosis of autism may even be a relief if delivered in the right way.
Generally, children go through disbelief and shock when informed about this condition. But, experts say parents can help them understand the autism diagnosis and what it means. When this is done correctly, kids find it easy to cope with the situation over time.
It Is Important To Discuss An Autism Diagnosis With Your Child
Discussing ASD with your autistic child is vital to help them realize that every individual is unique. Therefore, every person with an autism diagnosis is also unique and will have a different sets of challenges.
Parents need to help their child understand the condition in a step-by-step process. For this, mental and chronological age needs to be considered. This will ensure your child will be ready to talk about their diagnosis and what it means.
A very young child may not find it easy to make sense of ASD. However, an older child may cope better.
Furthermore, any intellectual disabilities may need a different explanation for why they are not able to cope with specific situations.
For instance, an older child may find it difficult with certain subjects in school. They may begin to wonder why they are not able to understand things the same as others in the class. So, they start seeking answers for their specific behavior. An autism diagnosis can explain this difficulty and put their mind at rest.
That’s why it is crucial to make your child understand the reasons for their capacity or behavior.
How To Talk To Your Child About An Autism Diagnosis
Here are some easy ways to help your child understand his/her autistic symptoms. These can help your child understand their circumstances along with any special needs.
1. Start Early
With younger children, it may take more time. In fact, you need to explain diversity among all people and how everyone is unique in their own way.
If your child is finding it difficult to recognize differences in people, try helping in this way.
Use things of interest to them to show how they can be similar but still different.
For instance, you can help them find the differences in their favorite animals, cartoon characters, vehicles, etc.
While doing this, try to emphasize that we all are different. Point out that these differences are what makes us special.
This will help a child with an autism diagnosis to feel confident about themselves from a young age. Plus, they can accept their differences easier when told about them at an early phase of life.
2. Be Ready To Answer Any Questions
Your child will surely have various questions about their autism diagnosis. It is important to prepare yourself in advance to answer all those questions.
Also, make them aware of the diagnosis and that there are special classes available. This allows them to easily cope with their condition while learning something new every day.
3. Seek Insight From Others About An Autism Diagnosis
While preparing for a one-on-one conversation with your child, you may need some time. Ask for guidance from your friends, family, and relatives on how they interact with your child.
Sometimes, anothers insight is helpful to see your child’s unique behavior from different perspectives. It also gives your child, and you, a sense of what others may be wondering about him/her.
4. Involve Your Child In More Conversation
It is vital to let your child understand that their opinion is important to you. You can do so by making him/her part of your conversations.
Ask for their opinion when buying something for the house or while making some important decision in life. This way, you enable your child to have a proper conversation with you.
This specific approach encourages your child to be closer and more open. Hopefully, they learn to always come to you with any future questions or challenges.
5. Be Specific About Explaining Their Strengths And Challenges
Don’t fall into the trap of explaining an autism diagnosis as a disability! It is important to describe it as a special way in which your child’s brain functions.
The scientific terms may be confusing for these kids so, explain them in simple terms. Cover the facts you know about autism and some challenges that they may face along the way.
Furthermore, point out the various strengths they possess and how this will help them. This will prepare him/her for future challenges in life.
Talking to your child about their autism diagnosis is important. The earlier your child is aware of this condition, the easier it is for them to cope with various life situations.
Therefore, follow our given strategies to help your child understand their unique behavior. Alternatively, consult a child psychologist to better guide your child and yourself to cope with autism positively.
For more tips on autism read our recent article on calming spaces and sensory rooms.