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You or your child have received a diagnosis and you’re wondering how to explain the Autism diagnosis to your family, or even if you should! There are definitely pro’s and con’s to both so take some time to think. Who do you want to know? Who needs to know? Then you can move forward and actually tell them and most importantly explain and educate them!
So you’re ready to make the big reveal here are some tips!
Timing is very important. Firstly you want to choose a time where you won’t be interrupted. The last thing you want is to pop round to tell your parents on a Thursday night when Betty comes round to play dominoes! So plan a time that it’s just you and the people you are going to tell. You also need to make sure you have enough time to get through everything you want to tell/teach them. A quick visit at lunchtime might not be enough if they start to ask questions.
The next thing to consider is where to tell them. I would suggest somewhere that is quiet and comfortable. Maybe in their own home so that they feel more at ease. Try to avoid places like cafe’s and restaurants as you will get interrupted and they may be busy. This may mean you get sidetracked and your explanation not going to plan. There is also the possibility that someone may overhear in a public place.
A good idea is to make notes of what you want to say. This way you won’t forget any important information. Try to prepare for any questions you may be asked. A good idea is to think of the questions you were asking yourself and be prepared. Remember they may not know very much about autism and may have some misconceptions. Let them know how autism is for you. What are your biggest challenges and what are your biggest strengths? How can they help you with these?
The way you explain to your family is very important. Talk to them as you would normally and explain at a level they can understand. Keep it simple and keep it open. If you try and be too clinical they may be more worried. If you just tell it like it is they will find it easier to accept. Be sure to tell them is this information is to be kept private or if you are happy that they share it. If you don’t specify they won’t know!
Be sure to leave time for questions. Try and be prepared for what you think they might ask you. Your family may have a lot of questions and some of them may be rude. Remember they are not doing this intentionally they are new to this. If they ask something that is offensive let them know in a kind way and educate them. Teach them to look at autism from a positive perspective and teach them the correct language to use.
You’ve done it! You’ve managed to explain Autism diagnosis to your family! It may take a little while for them to get used. They may take time to understand. Be patient with them. They will have more questions as time goes on. Make sure that you share not only the low points but the really great points about being autistic. Let them celebrate with you and let them help you when you need it. Let them into your world because through your eyes the world is amazing!
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