Does anyone have some words of wisdom from helping your child and your friends/family understand your child’s spectrum disorder?
My son is 2.5. Last month we received a diagnosis of mild, high-functioning ASD. I haven’t shared this yet with most friends and family, because I want my son to have his own understanding first, and I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. The last thing in the world I want is for him to first become aware of his ASD by hearing someone else talking about it. I really want it to feel as natural to him as always having known that we came together through adoption, but for some reason the pieces aren’t falling into place the same way.
So I thought maybe I could just start mentioning – both to him and to friends/family – things like that sometimes he doesn’t like crowds, or he plays a little differently, or transitions can be challenging – because his brain works a little differently than some people’s. But even this seems kind of a lot to put on him, and at the same time feels like too little to give grownups – won’t they start asking for more detail? For a diagnosis? So maybe I should just mention the diagnosis instead – but people have such preconceived ideas about ASD, many of which don't apply to him, and I want them to keep interacting with him as he is, not with a label. Also, what if the diagnosis changes down the road and then everyone, himself included, already has him in that box?
It isn’t something that comes up very frequently on its own because his ASD is very subtle; no one has ever mentioned a concern to me or even looked at us funny. But it is very much present in our daily life, and I’m feeling the need to do some sharing for my own mental health – for close friends to understand why I am so drained sometimes, or seem overly focused on, or accommodating of, him.
My son is very verbal - I think he will have some real understanding of whatever I tell him.
Many thanks in advance!