Questions for the wise and pretty Autism Bloggers

I have been wrestling lately with the how’s and when’s of discussing Reed’s autism with him. My original intention was to wait until he asked and then sit him down and explain it to him. I assumed at the time that he would eventually recognize his difference and be curious about it (especially since he’s mainstreamed in school with and EA and soundfield). Lately, however, I’m doubting that decision. What if he’s noticed this, but hasn’t brought it up? What does it matter if he understands it at all?

 He’s heard me talk about autism a lot. He even helped me with my Autism Awareness Month scrapbook page (“Reed, do you like the black smudgy things or the white ones better?” “White.”). Yet, he didn’t ask. Does he not get it yet, or does he not care? I’m so confused.

So my questions are these:

  1. Does your child know they have autism?
  2. When did you tell your child they are autistic?
  3. Did they bring it up first, or did you?
  4. If you haven’t talked with your child yet (either because you don’t plan to or because they’re not ready yet), how/when do you plan to do it?

Your insights into these matters are always so helpful to me. You lovely ladies always seem to think these things through better than I do. I guess I’m still a little too new at this.

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4 Comments

  1. Jen said,

    April 17, 2007 at 8:17 am

    Ky is 6 – he knows that he goes to OT, though I’m not sure if he knows WHY he goes and no one else from his class does. He knows he’s sensitive to certain things, like movies, and sounds. At somepoint I expect he’ll put together that he is a little more different from the other kids than just being an individual and I’ll talk to him about it. But I don’t see any reason for him to have that level of detail yet. Kyle is good at asking questions, and I try to read him and give him the level he’s looking for.

    Hmmmm I sound wishy washy – probably not too helpful :o)

  2. April 17, 2007 at 10:17 am

    That’s exactly my point. That was my plan too, but now I’m paranoid that he’s figured it out and it’s going to hurt his self-esteem or something. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one that feels this way about telling him, though.

    You were more helpful than you realize. Just by not telling me “What? Are you crazy?!? That’s not the way to do it!”, you’ve made me feel better. Thanks. =]

  3. Kristin said,

    April 24, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    Gabe’s close to being 4 years old, so I don’t think he knows. He does know when I am talking about him. I started limiting what I say in front of him when I talk to his therapists. Boo, his older sister (5 yrs old) hasn’t suspected anything so far. I thought she would’ve asked by now. We’ve told her that Gabe was born really early (7 weeks) and that it takes him awhile to catch up since he started so little.

    I’m still debating how I am going to approach this topic when Gabe’s time comes. I hope you find a way that you and Reed are comfortable with. If you have any helpful pointers, let me know :o)

    Kristin

  4. Club 166 said,

    May 11, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Just linked over here from MOM-NOS’s blog.

    I’m the dad thru adoption of two kids, Buddy Boy (7) who is autistic, and Sweet Pea (5) NT. Buddy Boy is very verbal, attends a special ed classroom with “push in” with his NT peers to “specials) (music, art, computers, PE).

    Like adoption, we’ve always been very up front about his being autistic, and have integrated his being autistic into normal conversation. Our feeling is, if you don’t do this, then eventually he would feel that being autistic is something bad and dirty, not to be talked about. We don’t think it is, and don’t think he should think it is.

    So my advice would be just to start talking about it in a natural way. If he doesn’t already know he’s autistic (he probably does-nothing much gets past kids) he’ll ask you what you are talking about. Then you could tell him that everybody has things that are different about them, and his being autistic is how he’s different. His brain just works a little differently. And you can mention how many great scientists and inventors are thought to have been autistic.


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