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DD (4yrs) said to me 'Mum I know ds has autism!'

(14 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Nov-12 15:57:10

I said to her 'what is autism?'

And she said 'I don't know. DS needs me to look after him because he can't make friends'.

I then attempted to engage her further but she started rattling on about crows being black.

Any ideas what if anything I should do now?

Ilovecake1 Mon 12-Nov-12 16:07:13

It's a tough one!! I really wouldn't make a huge issue out of it, unless she raises it again or seems to be worrying her.

My little one (6) takes a huge interest in telling me who has ASD traits in his mainstream school....as they are slightly similar to his older sister!! We have never sat him down and explained things really but always answer truthfully when he ask and questions regarding ASD or any special needs.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Mon 12-Nov-12 16:16:04

Just agree, matter of factly, and if she is interested explain what it means in an age appropriate way. eg DS's brain works differently, he finds some things hard to learn, then some examples, making friends, waiting etc. he finds some things easy, eg anything positive, remembering birthdates? playing on computer, whatever.

I suppose it does depend on whether you have discussed this with DS, though? I guess now might be a good time, if not, before he hears if from DD! smile

zzzzz Mon 12-Nov-12 16:16:29

I think she's pretty accurate.

I think I'd say "you're right it's nice when you help him with the things he finds hard", because I want mine to choose to help, not think they have to.

HecatePropylaea Mon 12-Nov-12 16:22:26

There's a good book, actually, a set of 4.

Someone I Know Has Autism
My Brother Has Autism
My Sister Has Autism
I Have Autism

All by Karen Campbell.

I got three of them (didn't bother getting the sister one) when we lived in Herts.

I don't know if you'd be able to find them, but there are quite a few similar ones around. There's several on Amazon.

What I liked about them was that they were really good for young children. Small amount of text, simple sentences, nice pictures.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Nov-12 16:24:01

DS doesn't know. I don't think he has the language to understand. He's only 5 himself.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Nov-12 16:24:32

Thank you Hecate, I'll look those up.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Mon 12-Nov-12 16:38:05

DS2's brother is nearly 3 years older than him and worked out that DS2 was 'different' way before DS2 did! In fact, DS2 is 13 and was 11 when I sat him down to discuss it properly. Up until then I had just used phrases like 'he finds learning some things difficult' rather than autism. DS2 was completely unbothered by his DX! DS3 was a bit upset, mainly because he felt that there was nothing wrong with DS2, he was just annoying! He didn't want DS2 to have an excuse! grin

Has your DD overheard you using the word autism? It may be that she doesn't mention it again. It was never a secret in our house, just the DC weren't interested, so we didn't really discuss it with them. DS1 has known and accepted it since DS2 went to a SS with DC with CP and DS etc, more visible disabilities which were easier for him to understand and associate DS2 with. But DS3 can't remember the SS as DS2 transferred to MS when DS3 was 2.

Don't know if that helps at all? But whatever you do, I'd just be matter of fact about it, no drama, this is how it is etc.

EllenJaneisstillnotmyname Mon 12-Nov-12 16:39:02

DS2's brother is nearly 3 years younger than him! blush

silverfrog Mon 12-Nov-12 17:21:25

dd2 (5) knows that dd1 is autistic.

she has known for a while.

we talk to her abou it, and how it means that dd1 finds it harder/takes longer to learn some things, but that other things she can do really quite easily (ie learning to tell the time, which dd2 is finding tricky)

dd2 says ll the time that when they grow up dd1 is going to live with her, as 'she will need someone to help her once you are dead, mummy' (charming! grin). and then the other day she came up and said 'I think dd1 will need to live next door to me, because I am going to have a cat when I grow up, and she doesn't like cats. but she can still come to visit - she will just have to get used to the cat' grin grin - anice mix of knowing that she might have to look out for her sister when grown up, and making sure she does what she wants in life too!

she asked me the other day if ds was going to be autistic too, like dd1. what are we supposed to say to that, other than 'we don't know, we have to wait and see'?

AgnesDiPesto Mon 12-Nov-12 18:55:46

DS1 and DS2 have known since 5 and 7. There is a phase where they are not mature enough to know when its appropriate to talk about it and before they learn to be sensitive to DS3 feelings (as we do not know if he knows / understands or not) so for that reason we try and be positive along the lines of he does some things better than you and finds others harder. DS at 10 sat down and watched a recent tv programme about autism out of choice. Its good they will never grow up not knowing. But like anything you can't always be prepared for how they interpret things. I will never forget DS2 telling a boy who was snatching something off DS3 in the swimming pool he could not have the toy as DS3 had autism which meant his brain did not work properly blush and he could not share. However I was quite proud of DS2 for sticking up for his brother! DS2 also comes home and tells me about what the HT says in assembly and that he 'worries' DS3 will get in trouble as he won't be able to follow the HT's rules so DS2 is already more of an authority on 'reasonable adjustments' than the HT!

bialystockandbloom Mon 12-Nov-12 19:06:08

Star, how/when did your dd hear the word autism, and do you know how she connected the word with ds?

We haven't told ds yet either (for the same reasons, he's 5 and don't know if he'd understand what it means - also no reason to tell him atm). But I have realised over the past 6-12 months how much he is listening and how much dd will be starting to listen and understand, so we've become much more conscious of what we say in front of him.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Nov-12 21:54:45

I'm not sure bialy. She's a right eavesdropper though.

But actually you've made me think that she might not have connected autism with making friends. The two coukd have been random coincidental statements, like the stuff about crows that immediately followed.

Perhaps it's no big deal.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 12-Nov-12 21:56:09

smile at your boys Agnes. The world will be a better place with our children in it.

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