Greetings Earthlings! 🙂
So today we’re going to discuss a very important question when it comes to growing up with autism- should autists be made aware of their diagnosis?
Now this question is a little bit tricky.
On one hand, we have the parents who do not want their child to know at all; they want their child to grow up as “normally” as possible so that they may never be held back by the autistic label.
In a sense, part of me would agree with this approach. In a lot of ways, growing up undiagnosed was a blessing in disguise. I was never treated differently (well, by teachers at least- children are another kettle of fish!) and I grew up to be a “normally” functioning adult with a job and friends, never held back by the autistic label.
Whilst I can appreciate a parents desire for their child to thrive, the decision not to tell a child about their diagnosis ultimately amounts to sticking your head in the sand.
We cannot ignore autism and pretend that it’s not happening. There needs to be interventions, strategies and most importantly, understanding.
We don’t just grow out of autism, we need to cultivate an environment so that we can grow around autism. Without self awareness, this will ultimately make life difficult for your child.
What if they found out some other way that they were autistic? If they overheard a teacher, accidentally caught sight of their notes or were taunted by another child? How would you feel if your parents kept something like this from you?
At the end of the day, your child needs to know about their diagnosis; maybe not today or tomorrow, but when the time is right, they will need to know.
Yes, there were some advantages to getting a later diagnosis, but ultimately, life would have been so much simpler for both my parents and I had we known that I was on the spectrum. We would have known how to manage meltdowns, my peers would have understood me better, I wouldn’t have tortured myself for being different- I would have understood and learned to better accept and love me all the sooner.
So don’t worry about holding your child back, or upsetting them; take a deep breath and find a way to tell them- they will thank you for it in the end 🙂