Originally Posted by starling&diesel
What I'm wondering is how much do you offer explanations for behaviour attributed to your child's special needs? Do you offer information? Or do you wait for people to politely inquire? And how much do you focus on the challenges? Do you tell your child about their official diagnoses? Do you seek out friendships with other kids with similar challenges? Or do you let your child truck along, until something comes up?
I don't think there is a way for other people to politely inquire.
My DD is on the autism spectrum, and is also gifted. We didn't know until she is 13 that she is also gifted because her autism overshadowed it and she wasn't able to comply with testing. She homeschooled until she was 12, attended a traditional school for 1 year, attended an alternative school for 2 and half years, and then entered college.
I've handled this issue in different ways at different times, and it took me YEARS to become comfortable talking about it. At one time, I felt like you did and tried the same things. Ultimately, I found that being honest with my DD gave her more peace with herself, a way to talk about what was going on and the ways she knew she was different from others. You see, while I could refuse to speak about it, it didn't keep her from being able to tell that she was different, it just kept her from having a way to process those differences or have any peace about them.
I also think talking honestly to your close mommy friends is something that you can choose to do for YOU, so that those people who consider friends can offer a listening ear and support. When we decide something is a secret, we cut ourselves off from others.
Although my DD's social challanges are such that other kids with the same challanges aren't any easier for her to be friends with, I have found that I relate best to other moms whose children have challenges. Sadly, over the years I've met very few moms whose kids are normal or only gifted who "get it." Pretty much all my friends either have a special needs child or have no children. They tend to be the people who accept her at face value for both her strength and weaknesses, are able to celebrate her accomplishments with me, and can be there for me when things are really getting to me. They are the people who can be around her and go out to eat, or have her at their house, or whatever, and its OK.
For me, choosing to be somewhat open was part of being authentic with those I really consider friends. At the same time, I don't scream my DDs diagnosis, or personal information, and I don't think I need to offer it up to those who simple judge.
I'm not sure if this will make sense, but I think that in an odd way, my DD functions to sort out other people. She gets rid of shallow, judgmental people who think that all people are supposed to be pretty much the same, and she allows more evolved humans who accept others and are compassionate to remain. Even though I've lost a lot of people over the years, I can honestly say its left more room for the many amazing people I've met.
I also think that ultimately, you are going to have to talk to her. She isn't going to stay in the 5 year old bubble forever. This really isn't a question of whether or not you will talk to her, but how and when.