How to explain to child?

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Registered: 03-27-2003
How to explain to child?
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Thu, 03-27-2003 - 7:43am
Hi, my dd is 7 and the school did some testing and is referring us to a developmental ped as they feel that my dd has PDD. Dh and I feel that it is probably true - there have been other labels like ADHD that didn't really fit but this one seems to cover all of dd's problems with language and communication, and things like not making much eye contact and not having had pretend play. Anyway, I wondered what to say to dd? A year ago, she was so oblivious to everything but lately she talks about her feelings and seems to have more anxieties than she used to have. It seems like she's aware that she's missing things that go on around her, but can't crack the code. She's become very worried that other children might make fun of her.
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 11:14am
WE actually told our dd when she was almost 7 because she was asking questions about why other kids could do things she couldn't (mostly motor skills stuff. Very concrete). Now in hindsight I don't think she really understood the conversation. I haven't approached it again. She does think she is different than other kids, but she doesn't have any idea that she has any disabilities. We haven't used the "A" word again. I don't think she is emotionally ready.

We have been really into explaining that everyone is different and differences are ok. We have actually had to do a lot of disability awareness with her about other kids. we are around lots of people with disabilities. Some even with classic autism, she has not made the connection between them and her. She knows that some people can't walk and some can, some can see and some can't. It doesn't make anyone worse, just different. She knows that her brain works different than most kids. Because of it she has some really great gifts, and some things are tougher. We try to emphasize the gifts. With her she is very bright in some areas, a great reader, and has a great memory. She is also very honest and patient. When she gets frustrated with some area, we just try to remind her that because her brain works different, some things are easier, but soem she will really have to work at. There is a great Franklin book that talks about how each person has their own struggles and own things they are good at. "Frankiln rides a bike". This was great for us, becuase she had trouble learning to ride a bike.

I know there is also a workbook "What does it mean to me" which is supposed to help explain it to kids.

HTH

Renee

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Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 4:53pm
A wise Aspie once said "To not talk about autism is to make it something unspeakable." My family and I agree with this. We do not and never have hidden ASD from any of our kids. We discuss the topic together as a family in a casual setting on a regular basis. Dh has a saying that we have a aplied to ASD in our family...."It is not a good thing, it is not a bad thing, it's just an *is* thing....it simply is, that's all."

I think it makes it easier that dh is an Aspie and the kids see him in the same light as God. LOL, so in their minds if Daddy is autistic then it must not be a bad thing at all.

The way we see it there are as many gifts to being on the spectrum as their are disadvantages. When ASDs are little it seems that the disadvantages are almost all we see. But as they get older the benifits start to come out, especially if these benifits are nurtured and cultivated from as early an age as possible and disadvantages are adressed during this same time. In our family autism has become a cultural definition of who we are. For us , even us few NTs in the family, it has become a way of life....not a disablity.

I have 3 children on the spectrum. My middle one, Jade, is the one that was markedly different. After we started investigating autism after she was born and came to the conclusion that one of her older sisters was also ASD we wondered for a brief moment how we were going to tell that older child. When we decided to just tell her and let the cards fall where they may we were surprised that she simply shrugged and said "Yeah, that makes sense." She was relieved to go through the eval and get her PDD dx. She said it told her that she wasn't crazy after all.....just autistic.

Peace,

Candes

Peace,
Candes  
Avatar for candksmom
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 6:36am
Thank you so much for the ideas and reassurance! We're also realizing that there are other family members who have some traits, too.
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 03-30-2003 - 6:37am
Thank you so much for the great ideas!