Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Dayton, Oh WPAFB
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I explain to my son about other kids' special needs if they're noticeable enough to him to mention them to me. And I say things like "his brain doesn't work like yours" or "her legs don't work right" just like I say about his own brother "his brain doesn't work right, which is why he can't speak; his ears don't work right which is why we have to use sign" etc. My 5 year old certainly could infer from that "his brain is wrong", I mean, he's FIVE! Now I would never condone him teasing someone about that, when I explain it to him, I make sure to convey that his friend can't help that his brain works differently, and we should help him, not tease him. So if you're going to speak with the mother, that's the approach I'd take. I wouldn't get upset about the other mom telling her son your son's diagnosis (what are the other parents supposed to say? If their kids notice your son is different, they should acknowledge it with an age-appropriate explanation) but I would let her know that her son is teasing.
When you do tell your son about his diagnosis, you can teach him to correct other people's terminology if they try to tease him. In this case, if someone tells him something is "wrong" with his brain, he can be taught to say "my brain is different, but it isn't wrong, I can still do things like walk and talk and do my math homework just like you!" if you think he's able to do something like that. I heard my 5 year old speak up in defense of my 3 year old on a playground once, another kid made a comment about my 3 year old being a "baby" because he couldn't talk well, and my 5 year old said "He's not a baby, he's 3, he just can't talk because his brain doesn't work right. But he can sign, want to learn some sign?"
And I definitely wouldn't hold back telling your son just because other parents haven't told their kids. If your son asks if anyone else also has Aspergers, you can say "I don't know for sure, usually medical stuff is kind of personal. Have you noticed anyone else like you?" and then you guys can talk about how lots of people have little "quirks" even if they don't have a diagnosis (this will help to show him that he's not that "weird" after all) for example, maybe a kid in his class doesn't like to jump rope because of the sound of it scraping the ground, or maybe another kid really likes to play with his glue because he likes the sensory input, or maybe another kid has a lot of trouble not talking out of turn, or maybe another kid is really shy, etc etc. So he can learn to relate to traits that other people have, rather than their diagnosis (or lack of one). My son has lots of Deaf friends, some of them are deaf because of a chromosome issue (like him), some are deaf because of a birth defect, some are deaf because of illness/injury...but it doesn't matter why they're deaf, only that he associates with them ebcause of it. Does that make sense??
Good luck! This is so hard as they get older!!!
Mommy to BigBoy Ian (3-17-05) ; LittleBoy Connor (3-3-07) (DiGeorge/VCFS):; BabyBoy Gavin (10-3-09) x3 AngelBaby (1-7-06)