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How did you tell family about DC's ASD Dx?

(18 Posts)
ihavenewsockson Sat 08-Jan-11 23:13:17

We're visting the Grandparents tomorrow.

they have alot to do with DS1 and see the DCs at least once a week for a few hours at a time.

We are hopefully starting the Early Bird course nearby and will need them to have the boys while we attend.

We feel ready to tell them but I'm a bit nervous of any preconceived ideas they may have of autism.

I was thinking of saying that DS1 has been assessed and he is delayed developmentally.

There are things he struggles with: like hearing instructions, changes to routines etc, as they are already aware (they know we were having his ears checked).

I was then going to explain how we talk to him differently ("name, short instruction") and use PECS / routine picture boards. They already know they boys are on a GFCF diet adn they are 100% supportive.

I was going to leave the 'label' for last so they are not approaching the discusion with rain man or mercury rising in mind!

My inlaws very rarely question our parenting, they have always done exactly as asked when taking care ofthe boys and the DCs adore them.

I won't be telling my parents for a long time. Mainly because they can't be arsed to visit so arn't remotely affected by DS1's ASD, they will NEVER be left unattended with any of my children and they will definaltly have their own opinions on how to 'fix' him.

How did you guys tell your family? how did they react?

StartingAfresh Sat 08-Jan-11 23:29:02

Blimey your inlaws sound fab.

You can soften the blow by saying that he has a social communication disorder, or has 'autistic traits' but if I could I would come out with it straight.

How is your DH about it all?

I think it is important that you set the scene in a way that doesn't imply too much about genetics or question the virility of your DH (I know YOU wouldn't, but it seems men can be a bit odd upon dx and take it a bit personally, - which I think is embedded in our culture and may reflect back onto his parents iyswim).

The thing about Grandparents is that they can often have the luxury of time to grieve/blame and get angry. As parent more often than not we don't and just have to get on with it. They might blame themselves too (My mum did although it was ages before she admitted it, and it was the most strangely conjured up chain of events she linked together to make it her fault)

My dad on the other hand thought it was cool to have autism thereby making ds exempt from having to emerse in what he considers the competetive rat race of our culture and that he was going to be one of the lucky few to experience an 'alternative' life, but my dad says stupid things quite frequently.

TheArsenicCupCake Sat 08-Jan-11 23:37:48

My folks were aware right from the start so I just told them the dx when we got it.. Mum is a psychologist lol so it makes it a bit easier for me... And dad .. Well dad, he played snap with traits and was quite proud I think! " ohhh you get that bit from me ds2, I do that as well!" which is actually true.. And grandad makes a fine escapee companion for ds2 at family do's.. Because they toddle off together and dig the garden when it gets too noisy! ( don't ask!) they have an understanding!

Ex pils however are still on the " there's nothing wrong with the boy!" route..and are happily denying there is any asd on their side.. Which I happen to disagree with.

But basically I just told people straight and offered to lend them books lol

superfantastic Sat 08-Jan-11 23:47:02

Told all our family straight away, ASD. Some needed more information and grandad is still adjusting after 6 months...he gets teary at anything about autism on tv. Grandma is fantastic and is doing a project on Autism at work so passes on info. MIL is a bit crazy and alcoholic so doesnt see DD often but sent her a fidgeting toy in the post and simply says its fine to be different.

In my experience it takes time for people to accept it but most do...if they dont just breathe deep and give them time.

coldtits Sat 08-Jan-11 23:51:37

I told my mum first - I just said "Ds1'ds been diagnosed with Autism and ADHD"

And she said "Oh. Well, I always thought your brother was a bit that way, they say these things run in families. He's bright, he'll be okay."

Because for all my mother's faults, she NEVER questions my judgement on anything to do with my children.

And then I told my brother who said "But I do that, that's perfectly normal!" (To which I responded, "It's not normal, it's weird, and you're weird" - this is a normal way to speak to each other in my family.)

Then I told my sister, and she said "Oh he's like DB then? Except clever and good looking." (DSis was 18 at time)

Then I told my dad, who said "Oh well, this is what happens when children have to sit tests at school, they go odd. I don't understand why he's like that, I can't see that you're doing anything wrong."

And I said "That'#s because he has Autism and ADHD".

And he said "Well, there wasn't any ADHD when I was at school, the cane sorted the naughty ones out."

Then I said "yes dad, or they were caned every day, like your brother Chris, until he left school at eleven and went to live in a motorbike garage at 16 where he was immediately employed due to his habit of fixing them overnight, oh, and nobody in the family has seen him for 17 years because he won't attend any family events, and he still lives in a shed, except that this time it's his shed and he sleeps in a house, and he designs jet skiis and doesn't do ANYTHING else because nothing else interests him ... that sort of naughty child ...?"

Then he said "Oh well, I'm discussing it if you're oging to get upset..."

So I said "......Do you want a cup of tea?"

My mother, brother nd sister follow my lead. they accept that I know basically what I am doing and if I say "don't tickle him" I'm not being over protective, it's because he'll either kick you or vomit. My dad won't discuss it because he thinks he knows best but he knows I won't allow him to make unfounded pronouncements without challenging him.

lisad123isasnuttyasaboxoffrogs Sat 08-Jan-11 23:56:00

My inlaws dont know but my parents have known from the start, it did take them a while to understand but they are getting there.
My friend made a wonderful little book all about her daughter, her likes, dislikes and what to do when she's upset ect, they gave it to family and school

Triggles Sun 09-Jan-11 01:01:11

The fact that you say they've watched him before and were fine speaks volumes. I would just tell them like you would tell them anything else about him - obviously he's still the same little boy he's always been, just now you have an answer as to why he does some of the things he does. They may go through some of the same things as we all have - especially denial. But if they've been watching him previously for you, they're probably familiar with (what we call here) quirks that your DS may have, so are not bothered by that.

I'd just be prepared to answer any questions they might have. I'm sure it'll be fine. My MIL was more puzzled than anything when we first told her - "but he talks and is good with numbers and letter." She's getting used to the idea now.

Spinkle Sun 09-Jan-11 06:43:16

When I told my mother she said 'but he doesn't walk round the edges of rooms!' confused

I have no idea where she picked that up from....

My mother told my sister. She had a paddy and said 'nobody told me!' Erm, we just did. She then used it as an excuse to get drunk....hmm

My MIL (bless her) said 'ah well, we'll just love him even more then' smile

signandsmile Sun 09-Jan-11 08:40:36

My parents were good, dad needed to ask lots of questions, and came back asking more later when he had thought of them... grin
and My sis and mum brill.

MiL stuck her head in the sand for a bit, but gets it now. BiLs very mixed, one lovely, two a bit rubbish, but improving now...

Everyone deals with it different, according to their relationship with dc, with us as parents and their approach to life in general.

Good luck

ArthurPewty Sun 09-Jan-11 10:42:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Eloise73 Sun 09-Jan-11 12:19:09

We told everyone by text but all our family and friends knew we were having the assessment and results that day (was also my birthday). My parents and sister and family were all in Portugal too on holiday so it was easier that way.

My family are quite supportive and although everyone was sad and teary because it wasn't the news any of us wanted to hear everyone said they would do whatever was needed to help our daughter (she was 2.8 when diagnosed). My 7 year old niece asked what she could do to help her cousin too

DH's family live in other parts of the country and don't really get involved in anything other than to ring once a month to see how everything is going, a bit superficial really but no one has been in denial about it so for that i'm thankful as I think i'd go ape sh*t if someone said something stupid to me, especially those first few weeks when I just felt utterly messed up and quite raw.

Only you know what they're like but from what you've said about them I think I'd be inclined to tell them. If you think they can understand what the condition is about and not wallow in their own misinformation then i'd definitely tell them.

ihavenewsockson Sun 09-Jan-11 20:12:37

Thanks for all your input! Seems there is a wide variety of responses.smile

Well, it turns out they already knew! shock

We gave them the speil and they asked questions like 'how does he cope in social situations? How does he react to changes in routines?'

I finally said, 'so, the name of the condition is Autism'. MIL said' yes, we thought so. FIL suspected it and we read about it on the internet but felt you would tell us when you were ready"

I nearly fell off the sofa- they are in their 70s- I had no idea they could google!

We talked all about PECS and the GFCF diet and they were just great. They love him and he loves them. They are going to babysit both boys while we do the early bird course and they have taken all the literature I took for them to read. grin

As for my parents, they didn't even call when DS2 was hospitalised as he had swine flu and asthma, so I don't think they'd notice any quirks. i might just mention it in passing in 6 months time and infer that I've told them and they forgot. biscuit

signandsmile Sun 09-Jan-11 20:17:21

So pleased that the PiLs reacted well, that's great news.

ArthurPewty Sun 09-Jan-11 20:21:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ihavenewsockson Sun 09-Jan-11 21:16:50

Thank you! I was nervous but all went well. They are so supportive.

I'm loving some of the very random replies further up- the walking round the edge of the room tickled me. Where do people get these ideas from?!

StartingAfresh Sun 09-Jan-11 21:33:28

Oh wow, that's great news. With understanding and support like that you can be very optimistic about your ds' future.

Consistency of approach is SO important for keeping the calm and teaching new skills.

I was all tearful when you said they already knew. Bless them.

Eloise73 Mon 10-Jan-11 14:38:43

That's great news, you're so lucky to have them.

TheArsenicCupCake Mon 10-Jan-11 17:53:52

Oh lovely news!

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