Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex disorder that affects the way someone communicates and interacts with the world around them. As a parent of a child with autism, one of the most important tasks you’ll face is talking to your child about his or her diagnosis as well as discussing it with other family members, like siblings.
Rising Above ABA offers family resources for autism that can help you navigate these conversations. Call 888.572.7473 today or reach out online to learn more about our services.
Talking to Children with ASD About Autism
The approach you take when talking to children with ASD about autism will depend on their age and cognitive level. If they’re very young, it’s best to keep it simple. Explain that some people have brains that work differently than others and that this means they sometimes have trouble understanding things or interacting with other people. Be sure to emphasize that this doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with them—it just means their brain works differently than the majority of other people’s brains.
For older children or those who are more cognitively able, you can go into more detail about what autism means for them specifically. You may want to explain specific behaviors related to autism, such as difficulty understanding social cues or having a hard time expressing emotions verbally. Make sure your child knows that there are ways they can get help managing these challenges, such as through therapy at Rising Above ABA or any other resources available in your community.
Talking to Siblings of Children with ASD About Autism
When talking to siblings of children with ASD about autism, it’s important to focus on making them feel included and appreciated in their sibling relationship while also highlighting all the positive aspects of having an autistic sibling. Talk positively and openly about all the wonderful qualities your child has—their intelligence, creativity, sense of humor—and how much joy they bring into your family’s life every day. Explain how certain behaviors may be difficult for other people but remind them that no matter what challenges come up, you will always love and support both of your children unconditionally.
Tips for Talking About Autism
When discussing autism with any member of your family—including yourself—here are some tips for successful communication:
- Be gentle and understanding – Remember that everyone processes information differently, so try not to be too pushy or demanding in the conversation
- Use language appropriate for each person – Adapting how you communicate based on age is key; use simpler language when talking with younger kids and provide more detailed explanations when communicating with adults
- Take breaks if needed – It’s okay if someone needs a break from a conversation or becomes overwhelmed during it; let everyone take their time digesting new information
- Be honest – Being honest is essential when communicating any kind of difficult information; if something is unclear or confusing, explain it in layman’s terms until everyone understands
- Be patient – Patience is vital when discussing anything related to autism; take time to answer questions thoroughly and make sure everyone involved feels heard before continuing
- Ask questions – Asking questions helps ensure everyone fully understands what was said, so don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions if needed
- Avoid judgmental language – Keep conversations free from any type of judgmental language; instead, focus on empathy and compassion
If conversations become too overwhelming, consider reaching out for professional support from Rising Above ABA, where our team will guide you through difficult conversations in an effective way.
Contact Rising Above ABA for Treatment and Support
Talking openly about autism can be difficult, but it’s an important step towards creating empathy among family members and helping everyone better understand what life looks like for a person living with ASD—including themselves. Use the tips outlined above and the many resources available at Rising Above ABA so that you can navigate these conversations confidently, knowing you have access to supporters who understand where you’re coming from. Reach out to our team at 888.572.7473 or connect with us online today to learn more.