Stranger than fiction
posted by Daniel "Captain" Kirk at
I always hesitate to answer questions since I do not have an autistic child and would never presume to understand life with one. I do have three children each with needs. My youngest has both physical and cognitive delays associated with a childhood stroke. She recently discovered that her left thumb doesn’t work the way she wants it to. She has come to learn on her own that her left hand doesn’t work like her right hand works. What should we tell her when she asks about it? The truth. Why does she have occupational therapy and speech therapy when the rest of the students at school do not? We tell her the truth. The same thing applies to my son with the official diagnosis of “anxiety disorder non-specific.” It’s the medical community’s way of saying, “Yeah, he ain’t wired properly, but we cannot tell you why.” What do well tell him? The truth. Children have a remarkable ability to handle the truth, especially when it is delivered with love and support. They can handle the truth when they know that they may be different from other children, but no less than them, either.
The truth, obviously. But what's the most loving and helpful way to communicate the truth? Yes, GL knows he has autism. But how do we lovingly explain to him what that means, when so many NT adults don't even understand it?
From reading Lexiloo's post, the truth isn't always the obvious answer. I think the specifics of how to explain an"ism" to a child is child specific, based upon trial and error. I would encourage Grace. And maybe ear plugs. From what I've read on autism blogs, things rarely go as planned, and never as quietly as hoped for.
Thanks for the link (sorry I'm late-it's taking me a bit to get used to the wordpress dashboard!).At this point, I'm taking a "cross that bridge when we get to it, and hope it doesn't collapse" approach. I'm researching kids' books about it, in the meantime.
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