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Advice please - should I tell DS he has AS?

(13 Posts)
herdiegirl Tue 21-Jun-11 20:45:14

DS1 is recently 7. we have known he has as for about 18 months. At the time we were given the news, the child psychologist advised us not to tell him until a lot older, unless he was asking why he was different etc. Her reason for this was that his behaviour was likely to deteriorate if he knew.

Just recently my DS has come out with a lot of comments - like he realises he is different from the other kids in his class (he goes to mainstream), he is also struggling a lot at the mo re not understanding when the other kids are joking and taking things literally. I know this is what AS is, but his probs are becoming more apparent just recently. He is also becoming unsettled at school as they have recently announced that in Sept when he starts Yr3, they are going to mix up the two classes.

I am just wondering if I let him know whether it would be a relief for him, to know that his confusion wasn't his fault and why he felt different to other kids. On the other hand, could I be opening a can of worms and making more stress for him?

Would be grateful if you could share your experiences. smile

IndigoBell Tue 21-Jun-11 20:54:19

I think it would be a relief for him, and you should tell him.

I think it was an awful think of they psych to say - that his behaviour would deterioate sad No reason at all to assume that........

fabmum1966 Tue 21-Jun-11 21:05:52

Ive always been straight with my son about his autism. Ive made sure that he knows so that he doesnt feel bad if he misunderstands something that is said to him. He is also aware that it isnt an excuse not to do things or to behave badly. I think it has helped him to know thre is a reason he is a bit different to other children.

eatyourveg Tue 21-Jun-11 21:09:55

Agree you should tell him, if you handle it thoughtfully you won't be making more stress.

I don't think there is a definitive right way of doing it, it depends on the child.

We've always gone along the lines of everyone finding some things tricky. Grandad finds hearing tricky, its called being deaf, the neighbour's eyes are broken, thats called being blind, some children find reading really tricky and this is sometimes because they have dyslexia.

Even the Queen finds some things tricky, even the Prime minister, I find drawing tricky, Dad finds maths tricky, every single person in your class will have something that they find tricky. Aspergers is the name for all the things you find tricky but just like grandad has a hearing aid to help him hear, the neighbour has a dog to help him see, some children in class have lunchtime reading sessions to help them find reading less tricky, we will be able to find things that will help you with the things that you find tricky

Good luck

herdiegirl Tue 21-Jun-11 21:26:39

Thanks for your responses smile. This is what my gut feeling is telling me. In truth, I have been thinking about this for a while.

Have just had a chat with DH about your responses, we will try and work out how best to do it and build up to it. Maybe at a weekend when we can sit together with plenty of time. Any other hints still gratefully received though.

LauraIngallsWilder Tue 21-Jun-11 21:30:09

Definately tell him
I cant think how talking gently to a child about their diagnoses would make their behaviour worse - very odd thing to say imho.
I bet he will be relieved to know smile

scartette Tue 21-Jun-11 22:08:10

This is very tricky- I think given his age,questions etc telling him is correct thing to do and funnily enough I think he will accept it fine BECAUSE of his age. Our DS is 11yrs and was dx 4 months ago. It was big shock for us and because of his age he fully understood what was going on. While we were still reeling from it all, I assumed he would just accept it easily. WRONG!
To our horror he took it really badly. Over following few weeks he became very depressed and withdrawn- kept saying why was he different and no-one else at school had AS. We were really concerned he was becoming severly depressed. Wouldnt talk to friends or answer in class. School had to bring the Ed.Psychol. back in again.
Anyway, we kept telling him same as 'eatyourveg' says bout everyone being diff.and also that he just sees things a little differently to others sometimes.
I think your lad will accept it much easier- he will mature knowing he has AS instead of it being a shock when he's older .
Am just about to start a thread myself actually which is why I logged on.

herdiegirl Wed 22-Jun-11 09:34:21

Went in and saw DS's teacher this morning to let her know we are prob going to tell him at the weekend, just in case he has questions in school or act out of character.

She thought this was a good idea too and agreed he might find it a relief to know.

Any other tips about breaking the news still gratefully received as am a bit nervous.

StarChartEsq Wed 22-Jun-11 09:58:54

Idiot child psychologist. What was he/she thinking?

I think the right thing to do will vary from family to family and child to child but on balance how can someone manage a condition they don't know they have?

Sounds like the child psychologist is implying that your ds will use it as an excuse for his behaviour which is quite frankly disablist and insulting to you as his parents.

Toughasoldboots Wed 22-Jun-11 10:04:48

I was advised not to tell my 8 year old dd too. I am going to wait until she is a bit older, I think that is the right thing to do for her but then she is not really aware that she is 'different'.

I think you are probably right to go with your gut feeling- you know your child.

herdiegirl Wed 22-Jun-11 14:54:33

StarChartEsq - I think you are right, she did imply it would be an excuse for his behaviour, or it might reinforce the stereotype (hope this makes sense).

However, I can see now that while we do make some allowances for DS's behaviour, there are definitely situations that we would not tolerate and that would not change because he knew about his condition.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Wed 22-Jun-11 15:04:09

I didn't tell my DS2 until he was 11, but he has HFA rather than AS and at 7 it would have gone over his head. He's in MS school and is obviously different from his classmates. They know his DX and have since Y1 and are very tolerant of him. It's not like it was a secret, his older brother knew from when DS2 was in an early years special school, but we hadn't sat him down and talked about it. So we explained that his brain worked differently from other people, that's why he found some things easy, (like knowing every child's birthday in Y2) and some things difficult, and it was called autism. He just said, 'Oh, OK,' and that was it!

tink123 Wed 22-Jun-11 17:34:47

I told dd last year that she has sensory issues as she got upset when she thought back to why she hit other children whilst she was at nursery. It helped her understand that she did not do it deliberately and there was a reason why she reacted that way.

Also she was getting weekly therapy and started to ask questions as to why other children did not go and visit OT weekly.

I guess only you can know your child and whether to tell them. Good luck!

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