There will come a time when your child who has been diagnosed with autism will come to you and ask you why he is different from the other children. When this happens, you need to be prepared. You need to know what to say and how to react. You do not want your child to feel bad about himself nor would you want your child to feel frustrated and angry.
Some parents try to hide their child’s condition from their child because they do not want their child to feel confused and insecure. However, doing this will only create more problems for the child later on. While he may accept your explanation for now, be aware that as he grows older, he will inevitably notice that he is different and the discrepancy between your explanation and what he observes will definitely cause a lot of confusion and frustration on his part.
In this situation, many physicians and parents of autistic children all agree that telling him the truth about his condition is always the best thing to do. When the time comes for you to tell him about his condition, what you want to do is to reassure your child and to help him feel better about himself.
Always take his age into consideration when you discuss his condition with him. You want to be able to tell him in a manner that he would understand. You want to use words that will allow him to get a picture of what you are saying. And most importantly, you want to give him the appropriate information that is suitable for his age.
The focus of your conversation with your child should not be on how “different” he is from other children but instead on how “special” he is. For example, you can start by telling him that each one of us has special talents and abilities. We all have areas where we are good at and areas where we need to improve. You can then proceed to identify his strengths and weaknesses and then remind him of the things that you are both doing to help him with the areas that he is having difficulty with.
Always keep your discussions on the topic positive and always remember that what your child needs the most is your reassurance and love.