Exploring Autism with your child/young person
- Who is going to do it?
- Where? Place and time your child/young person feels most comfortable,
- Take one question at a time, follow your child’s pace, respond to their questions as openly as factually as you can. You can't answer everything all at once and there will be a lot to take in.
- What does your child/young person know right now?
- What does your child/young person want help with/more information about?
Start with the positives about Autism (in general), and then build on sharing some general challenges.
Everyone has strengths and challenges – who are the key people in your child’s life/familiar people. Can you create a one-page profile for your child/siblings and family members to help them understand that everyone is different with different personalities, characteristics, likes, dislikes ?
Behaviours/Responses are ‘different’ not wrong/naughty/difficult. Autism is part of who they are. Some things may change as they get older and many things will become easier. Autism is a ‘spectrum’ condition, constantly evolving. What works one day may not the next, and that’s ok, each day is different and how we might feel is different.
Use simple, clear and visual explanations of how Autism is diagnosed
Show video clips of children/young people/adults talking about their autism (eg Dean Beadle, Luke Dicker, Purple Ella, Talia Grant, Spectrum Gaming)
Dissociate some behaviours from the child – it’s not all about autism, some will be part of it (good and challenging) but is only ‘part’ of who you are. What else is there about you that is not related to Autism – hair colour, height . . .
- Be confident about autism – "I find this easier/good because I am an autistic person"
- "Autism is a part of me, it's who I am"
- Peer / sibling understanding is very powerful – they can help and support in challenging situations
- Find role models & lots of opportunities to meet other autistic children
Click on the links in the sections tab to find out more about autism and help available
Below are some books and resources that may help you and your child understand what autism means to them:
Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders – Elizabeth Verdick
The ASD Workbook - Understanding your autism - Penny Kershaw
My Autism Book: A Child's Guide to their Autistic Spectrum Diagnosis – Gloria Dura-Vila, Tamar Levi
Different Like Me: My Book of Autism Heroes – Jennifer Elder
Can I tell you about... Asperger Syndrome?: A Guide for Friends and Family – Jude Welton
Can I tell you about... Autism? - Jude Welton
Can I tell you about... Anxiety? – Lucy Willetts & Polly Waite
Can I tell you about... Sensory Processing? – Sue Allen
The Kid’s Guide to staying Awesome and in control – Lauren Brukner
The Ice-Cream Sundae Guide to Autism: An Interactive Kids' Book for Understanding Autism - Debbie Elley and Tori Houghton
The Spectrum Girl's Survival Guide: How to Grow Up Awesome and Autistic- Siena Castellon and Jennifer English
The children's guide to Autism - Fiona Reeves
All Cats Are on The Autism Spectrum - Kathy Hoopmann
The Asperger's and Me: Girl with the Curly Hair - Alis Rowe
Can You See Me? & Do You Know Me? - Libby Scott & Rebecca Wescott