"How do we tell others about our daughter's recent diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome? Who needs to know - and who doesn't?"
Finding out that one’s child has been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome can be traumatic. Some parents naturally feel guilty even though there isn’t anything yet known that could have prevented the disorder. Through all of this comes the need for telling others about the syndrome and how it affects the child.
If you are faced with having to tell those around you that your child has Aspergers syndrome, the first thing you want to do is understand and read about the condition so that you can answer questions appropriately and truly be an advocate for your child. You will also want to start with those closest to you, beginning with the siblings of the Aspergers syndrome individual. Telling younger children that their sibling has a brain problem that causes them to have problems talking with others, causes them to focus inordinately on certain subjects to the exclusion of others and results in them performing ritual behaviors may be enough. These kids have seen everything already and just need to know that there is a reason behind the behaviors. It can help siblings be less frustrated with their sibling and can also become advocates for the Aspergers syndrome child. Having a name for what the child is seeing can help a great deal.
After the family becomes accustomed to the diagnosis, it’s time to speak with the extended family. Encourage them to read what they can on the subject and help them connect the symptoms they see with a brain disorder that can’t be helped. If they know that much of the behavior is beyond the control of the child, family members can come to love the child at the level they’re at.
Certainly, teachers and educators need to understand the diagnosis and how it is affecting your child. Plans need to be made to alter the educational style the teacher or teachers use to help teach the child in an effective manner. A frank discussion of the diagnosis should be followed with problem-solving methods that will help the child thrive as best he or she can in the educational world.
Beyond family, educators and perhaps daycare individuals, parents of an Aspergers syndrome don’t necessarily need to tell the rest of the world, especially if others don’t see much of a problem in the child’s behavior. What you do eventually say can be as simple as “my child has a brain disorder” or as complex as explaining the disorder to its fullest to interested friends or acquaintances. Certainly, the conversation needs to take place every year as new teachers come into the picture but, in today’s times, Aspergers syndrome is more well known and more easily understandable than it once was.
The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome