Having "The Talk"
No, not that talk. This is the "telling your kid that they have autism talk." Kate Rockwood, mother to a child on the spectrum, wrote "How to Tell Kids About Autism" for Parents.com to reflect on her own experience and share what she did for her own daughter. Her daughter was diagnosed with autism when she was two and was nonverbal until she was about four and finally began speaking, and in full sentences. Once her daughter started speaking, she obviously wanted to make some friends. This became a major struggle for her, however, because of her very obvious differences. Her energy was different from the other children and she didn't quite know how to play with them. So, when her daughter was five, she decided it was time to explain her differences to her and teach her how to advocate for herself. You have the choice, as a parent, to choose whether or not to accept that you cannot always be there to protect your child and choose the honest route to make them more aware of the world around them and the reality of what they may face. Whatever you choose to tell your child about their autism is okay as long as it helps them to understand why they are different and clarifies their behaviors and quirks. This author tells her daughter, "No, you're not like everybody else. You are different and that's okay." Teach your child to understand and cope with their differences and encourage them to be open about these things with their peers with the hope that it will at least spark their curiosity. Not only will your child benefit from these open and honest conversations with you, but your parent-child relationship will grow and strengthen as well.