We're going to tell my 9 year old son

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-06-2009
We're going to tell my 9 year old son
Thu, 02-11-2010 - 10:21pm

I'm just not sure how yet.

A few months ago he was diagnosed with Aspergers. The computer had it under PDD NOS, since he didn't have *every* symptom, but the doctor said it was more than obvious that he had mild Aspergers.

Anyways, at first my DH said "No he doesn't.", but now he is feeling perfectly fine with the fact that that's what he has. Mild Aspergers.

I think we need to be prepared for the many questions that will follow. We need to say things right the first time, or else that's how he'll take everything. I could explain the list of symptoms, but say that they can be good? But they're not? I don't want him to think he's bad or something is wrong with him, kwim? Especially since he doesn't think there is in the first place.

He is fine with who he is I think. Not sure if he even notices much of a difference. He is homeschooled though, and knows he was very bad at school and is great at home.

He seems ready in the sense that he could understand and not blurt it out to every stranger, or use it as an excuse for things.

How and when did you go about telling your children?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-10-2004
Fri, 02-12-2010 - 10:00am
Sorry I don't have any help for you because I was wondering the same thing. My DS is also 9 and has PDD-NOS. He is in 3rd grade at our public school and has an IEP, gets lots of services. I am not sure if he notices a difference or not. Sometimes I think he does but other times he seems so clueless. I am interested to see what others have to say about this. Thanks for posting one of the many questions on my mind.
iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2003
Fri, 02-12-2010 - 10:30am

I told my son right before his 11th birthday.

I wrote about it on my blog. The first post is linked here, but if you look through July and I think August of '09, there are some follow-up posts too.


Happy to answer any questions here on ivillage.


visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com


visit my blog at www.onesickmother.com
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Fri, 02-12-2010 - 11:51am

I told my son when he got his diagnosis, when he was 8. It took a few years to really make sense to him - we couldn't hide it, as he had been through the testing process, but we also couldn't really help it make sense for him until we had been through a few goes. Books can help - my mind has gone completely blank but we had a good one called 'Being yourself in a world that is different' or something that had some very helpful strategies and *didn't* focus on the individual and how the diagnosis made them 'different'.

Now my son is very pleased with his diagnosis because he finds a useful thing to be able to tell people when he is struggling - for example, if he has to 'go flappy' to decompress or process something, he doesn't want people to think he is being rude or naughty, he wants them to know it is due to a disability. Similarly, he finds that explaining to teachers/aides etc that his problems with organisation and executive functioning are due to a disability helps everyone to try and find solutions that help him (eg homework diaries, visual timetables, signed reminders) rather than telling him off for being lazy or stupid. And if we are going to try new activities (eg climbing) he is keen that I explain to the coaches that he has Asperger's Syndrome, and might need extra support to take part in things, so that the coaches don't think he is being rude or difficult if he gets the wrong end of the stick.

As he has processed the information about the diagnosis (which, as I said, did take a while and was an ongoing process, not just explaining it once) he has become noticeably happier and more relaxed about himself, and more able to cope with things like school and social activities: he no longer feels guilty or that he is being naughty when he genuinely struggles. He now takes pride in identifying fellow Aspies and in extolling the virtues of the syndrome (particularly the high IQ and the 'seeing the world differently' aspect of it.

I think he'd rather not have it - he does see that it gets in the way of what he wants to do sometimes, and he is also aware that it makes life difficult for those around him which worries him sometimes. But understanding that he has it, and what impact it has on him, has been an important part of the way we manage it and the way we are helping towards an (I hope!) independent life as he grows older.

I would see it as an ongoing thing, hopefully a dialogue that grows and changes as he does, rather than a one-off announcement. You probably found out gradually and over a period of time, from when you first noticed 'red flags', to when you started asking questions, to when you started getting testing and diagnoses, and then also how *you* dealt with that information, and how much you learned (and are still learning) along the way. It'll be the same for your DS, and I think you'll have to support him through it.


Kirsty, mum to Euan (11, Aspergers Syndrome) Rohan (7, NT) and Maeve (4, NT)

"My definition of housework is to sweep the room with a glance"

Follow my blog on http://mumsnet.com/blogs/kirsteinr/


iVillage Member
Registered: 02-12-2010
Fri, 02-12-2010 - 11:57am
my son is 8-he is general ed in public school. He has figured out he is different just this year--he says he is ok with it but he is sad because its hard for him to make friends. we have not told him about a dx yet because we'd rather he not tell everyone and have their prejudices arise upon hearing the label. but we may decide to tell him soon, or in any case in the next year. I have heard that a great book to use for this is Can I tell you about Aspergers. Many parents have said this is a great book to use when telling kids. good luck,