How do you decide who to share your child's diagnosis with? Neighbors? Other parents? My son was diagnosed PDD-NOS late this summer and to the untrained eye, he just looks like a smart, quirky, super active kid who just happens to prefer running circles around you to looking you in the eye and MUST know the make, model and color of your car:) I am not embarrassed, and I want people to respect and understand him, but I'm also not totally ready to make him the topic of… read more
My grandson is a high functioning autistic 5 year old, I find his behavior alot more even tempered that those of a "normal" child. Sometimes you cant tell he has autism except when he tries to communicate and gets frustrated and it may roll into an episode where he starts yelling no and will wave you away or he gets bored and starts humming loudly. He usually interacts with people very well and looks you in the eye when you talk to him. If asked after an episode I just say he is autistic and find that I need not explain anything more. Telling professionals and teachers is different. They need to know in order to address your childs' needs. Neighbors who are close to you as friends will understand and be supportive when told. It should never come up as simple discussion. My grandson understands when I am talking about him so I am very careful about what I say in his presence. His explaination is simple, he says he is just a boy.
I would start by asking him what he wants people to know. I didn't do that with my Jacob. I would tell every cachier we saw that he was autistic. In my mind I did not want them to judge him harshley. One day Jacob asked me why I did that. I decided then and there that if he doesn't care then I won't either. (I still worry but I keep it to myself.) Everyone is different there are no pat right answers. :)
You actually have a situation to celebrate. But it comes with a cost. You need to decide how the discussion and revealing of your son's autism will affect him. Since he is high-functioning, he will understand what you are saying and will also be affected by people's reactions to him. If I was in your shoes, I would only reveal in a need-to-know such as professionals, teachers, and close friends. And I would start discussing with him how different is good. My son is severe so I don't need to say anything, everyone can tell. My problem is getting teachers to listen as I describe the unique way that he processes information.
I'm very open about my son's autism, but at the same time I'm not telling every person I see at the grocery store about it. A typical scene is at a park or playground where I can sense other parents notice my child isn't acting like most boys his age. Usually this happens when a child tries to interact with my son and my son runs away screaming. If I happen to chat with that parent, I might mention that my son has autism. This way they understand: 1. Their child did not do anything to upset my child. 2. There is a valid reason for my son's behavior. 3. That parent can become more aware of the challenges autism brings to both the child and family.
As a conscientious parent, I received very good advice on how to explain some of those not-so-ideal behavior issues. If you feel the need, apologize and say something like "My child has autism and this is a behavior we are working to correct."
Most of the time when I mention autism, I hear words of support and understanding. If I ever heard something negative, I'd follow the same advice I give to my son "If you don't like the way someone is playing, go play somewhere else."
My son is 6 with PDDNOS. I am pretty open with friends and acquaintances about this, because if they try to interact with him they may find it impossible to get a response. But more than that, I view it as a way to help society understand and empathize more with ASD. I've found that when I mention it to a mom on the playground, most don't have a great understanding of autism or what the "spectrum" is. It gives me a chance to educate a little bit, and I find that it's very well received. These moms often ask me how it's going later, and make an effort to be patient when interacting with him. I think the more we can do to educate society about autism, the better world we will create for our children to live in.