Hand in Hand: A Story About Asperger Syndrome...and a Very Significant Friendship

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Close Old Browser Notification. Rather than feeling stigmatized, they may experience a sense of empowerment in having a community of like-minded children they may find at school, camp, or in various social skills groups or other treatment settings. It can offer opportunities for forging connections with others who share similar challenges.

In this regard, it can feel like an albatross. Disclosing the diagnosis can present other issues. Furthermore, there is misunderstanding about the diagnosis at a societal level and all too often it is framed in terms of its deficiencies rather than its differences.

ASPERGERS AND FRIENDSHIP - Autism Making Friends - The Aspie World

This article presents some guidelines to help parents make the best decision for their child. For better or for worse, our society feels differently about psychiatric diagnoses and medical diagnoses.

Many parents feel less conflicted about the prospect of telling their child that they have a pervasive medical condition such as diabetes or asthma then a psychiatric one. So, why the difference? One of the big answers is stigma.


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And even parents of special needs children, while likely more sensitive to the effects of the stigma, are not necessarily immune to them. This makes it harder for parents to gauge the meaning of the diagnosis and cautious about attributing a label that can be lifelong.

When a child is struggling, more often than not, one or both parents identify with what their child is going through because they experienced similar struggles themselves. Therefore, if you are considering having this discussion with your child, we recommend first taking the time into explore your beliefs and biases about the diagnosis.

Even if you hold these views close to your chest, your children may pick up on them. Children can be diagnosed as young as two or three or well into adolescence, so the discussion about when and how to talk to a child about the diagnosis will be impacted by the age of the child and his level of emotional maturity.

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Some children may be able to grasp the nature of the diagnosis at seven and eight, while for other children, it may seem too abstract, even at 16 years old. Whether the decision to share the diagnosis is being prompted by a recent evaluation, or parents have chosen to delay the conversation until the child seems ready, most children know something is different about them.

In general we have found that children construct all sorts of fantasies and ideas about what is wrong with them and having a candid discussion may actually dispel some of their fears. Below are a few suggestions to foster an open discussion with your child. It might be helpful for each of the family members, including parents, to speak about three things they are good at and three things that they struggle with. What can be difficult for the child is the feeling of having such a large split inside of them.

'All my life suddenly made sense': how it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life

It can also be valuable to highlight the feeling of this dramatic chasm between the areas. It might be helpful, again depending on the age and maturity of your child, to use metaphors to talk about some of these symptoms. For example, to explain executive functioning difficulties , you may talk about a huge pile of papers, with no folders to organize them.

For emotional dysregulation , you may talk about a child whose feelings feel way too big for his little body, and for social deficits , you may talk about going to visit a foreign country and feeling like you have a hard time understanding the language or culture. Many role models exist who speak openly and share their challenges.