The Process Of Telling Your Child About A Special Needs Diagnosis
When your child receives an Autism Spectrum, ADD, ADHD or related diagnosis, it can be a very challenging and daunting time for parents.
Regardless of whether you anticipated the diagnosis or it comes as a total shock, there is still a process involved in managing your emotions, thoughts and feelings. It can be a total rollercoaster to try, as best you can, to work towards acceptance.
Then at some point, during this process, you will wonder about telling. And so begins another process. Who do you tell? How do you tell? How to manage the process?
Thoughts about telling can be overwhelming for a parent. On one hand you want to protect your child from possible mean comments or adverse reactions from other children or adults.
On the other hand, knowledge is power. By informing your child, in an age appropriate way, you can help them understand what is going on for them.
There are plenty of strategies a parent can use in the process of telling to help both you and your child.
When your child gets it wrong with their peers, it can be very hard when they do not fully understand what went wrong.
Having told your child about their diagnosis, it opens a path for communication between you and your child. You can listen, let them know you understand and role play with them what might have gone wrong.
By telling siblings, it can help them better understand and connect to their brother or sister. It can help them not see their brother or sister as the “favoured” one and then they act out themselves at any perceived unfairness if they get treated differently for identical behaviours.
Informing family, friends and those caring for your child such as teachers or childminders, paves the way for a greater understanding of your child.
Additionally, by telling a wider circle of trusted people in your life, you will also enhance your support network for days when you need someone to talk to.
And those days will come. Having people in your life who understand the situation, can be a tremendous help when you need to sound out ideas or just someone to listen and be there for you.