Tuesday, April 16, 2019

8 Reasons Why You Should Tell Your Child That They're Autistic

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If you have ever wondered, "Should I tell my kid that they have autism?", then you are in the right place. You'll learn why it's important to tell your child that they have autism and the reasons why you should tell them that they're autistic.

At some point after receiving their child's autism diagnosis, parents often ask:

"Should I tell my kid they have autism?"

To me, the answer is quite simple.

Yes, you absolutely should tell your child that they're autistic.

When and where is up to you, but I am a firm believer that you should tell them as early as you can.

Tell them now, if you haven't already.

It's important for your child to know about their diagnoses (yes, all of them) for a variety of reasons. Here's 8 reasons why you should tell your child that they have autism.

Should I tell my kid they have autism? Yes and here's why you should tell your child that they're autistic

Here's Why You Should Tell Your Child That They Are Autistic

There are plenty of reasons to tell your child that they have autism, including:

1. Your child likely already knows that they are different

Depending on how old your child is, they've likely already noticed that they are different from the other kids around them.

They may have even started to create a negative self-image based on those differences.

Maybe they've even referred to themselves as "stupid" or think that they are a bad kid because of those differences.

Knowing that they are autistic might help explain why they are different without creating that negative self-image.

2. Your child has the right to know that their differences have a name

Obviously, the name of their diagnosis doesn't define who they are, but it gives them information to help them better understand their differences.

By telling your child that they are autistic, you are giving your child a better understanding of how their brain works, why some things are difficult, why they see and interpret things differently, etc.

3. Your child learns that autism isn't something to be ashamed of

When you tell your child that they are autistic, you are teaching them that being different is a good thing and that being autistic is okay.

However, if you chose to hide the autism diagnosis from your child, then you are inadvertently telling them that autism is something to be ashamed of. Something negative.

What message would you prefer to have your child hear?

4. Your child will feel understood and respected

Telling your child about their diagnosis is the respectful thing to do. All people want to feel like they are understood and respected and children have that need as well.

When they know about their diagnosis early on, then they can learn to understand and accept who they are from a much younger age.

5. Your child will feel empowered

I've already kind of touched on this point by now, but telling your child about their autism diagnosis will help them feel more confident and become empowered. Knowing about their diagnosis can remove negative self-talk and help them better understand themselves, both of which will boost self-esteem and confidence.

6. Your child will learn to self-advocate for their needs

Learning to self-advocate is an important skill to teach your child, but if they don't know about their diagnosis, how can they adequately advocate for their needs? How can they ensure that the proper accommodations and supports are in place if they aren't even aware of their own diagnosis?

Remember, that telling your child about their diagnosis will empower them. It will help them better understand themselves.

So if you want a child that can self-advocate for themselves in the future, then tell them now that they are autistic.

7. Your child can avoid years of confusion

When your child doesn't know that they are autistic, they might feel lost or confused about why they are so different from their peers, why they don't fit in, and why they find certain things challenging. They might end up labeled as "stupid" or "bad" by themselves or others, which can lead to other issues down the road like depression, for instance.

Telling your child that they're autistic can help them better understand themselves instead of leaving them confused, angry, and/or depressed.

8. Your child might resent you for withholding the diagnosis

You might think you are protecting your child in some way when you withhold the diagnosis, but your child might end up resenting you in the future for not disclosing it sooner, especially if they grow up confused by their differences.

Think of it like keeping a secret or maintaining a lie for a long time...The longer you keep it, the bigger deal it becomes.

Besides, remember that your child has the right to know that their differences have a name.

So...Now What? When & How to Tell Your Child That They're Autistic

There's no right time or way to tell your child that they're autistic, but I do encourage you to tell your child as soon as possible.

Explain it to them in a way that is appropriate for their age (no need to dive in with a complicated and detailed speech about the brain if they are just a small child). And answer any questions that they may have.

Be specific, positive, and pragmatic. Speak about autism matter-of-factly.

I will be writing a separate post soon on how to tell your child that they're autistic, but in the meantime, I encourage you to check out the following resources:


Other Resources You'll Love




Should I tell my kid they have autism? Yes and here's why you should tell your child that they're autistic

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