Explaining Autism to an Autistic Child

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Image Source: http://www.runningforautism.com/

The words I’ve hoped to hear for eight long years, “Your child has autism” have finally been said.  All my suspicions confirmed. For many parents, I’m sure they couldn’t fathom wanting to find out their child is autistic.  But for my husband and I, this diagnosis answers many of our questions and directs us where to go next.  James didn’t develop autism yesterday.  We’ve struggled for years with behavioral issues and developmental delays and we finally have an explanation: ADHD-severe and autism.

There is one area that I am grappling with though.  How do explain this to my son? For the last two weeks, I’ve kept this news to myself.  Part of me worries that he will be upset by the information.  I want this to come off as good news; here are all of your answers.  This is why everything is hard.  Here is how it makes you special.  And here is how we are going to help.  But I’m scared that he will see through the positive spin.  He’s already painfully aware that he doesn’t fit in at school.  I’m so scared he will be hurt by the news instead of relieved.

And then comes the complication of explaining the concept of autism to an eight-year-old.  It isn’t concrete, it isn’t something he can hold, it’s subjective and difficult to understand.  God how do I do this? I feel so lost.  But I know he needs to know, and he needs to hear it from me.

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