How To Help Other Family Members Accept Your Child's Diagnosis

"I'm a stay-at-home mom. My husband works out of town and is only home on weekends. My question is how can I get my husband and in-laws to accept our daughter’s diagnosis (high functioning autism)? They claim I am just 'making this up' and that it's really a behavior problem with her – not a 'disorder'."

This is not surprising, and you're not alone. High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's (AS) is hard to see if you don’t live with it every day like you do. Also, some family members are simply in denial. Either way, the truth should come out.

Accepting the presence of this high functioning form of autism can lead to the best possible support and treatment available for your daughter. It’s crucial that all family members are on the same page. You could survive handling everything on your own, but life will be much easier for the whole family when everyone is working together to care for your daughter.

Some family members will choose to stand on the outside. You can’t do much about that. Nonetheless, you can equip them with information about autism spectrum disorders so they can make a choice regarding the position they plan to take.

Here are some tips on how to accomplish this:
1. Contact your local Autism support groups. Without family support, it is crucial that you find encouragement elsewhere. Tell your husband about community events or group meetings so he has the opportunity to stay informed.

2. Find books, eBooks, videos, and other media sources that you can share with your family. A great place to start is with one of the resources listed below this post.

3. If you haven’t done so already, involve your daughter in therapy with a professional who works with children on the autism spectrum. Hopefully, your daughter’s therapist will offer parent-training sessions. These sessions allow you to ask questions about your daughter’s program and her progress, while also educating you on her new goals and coaching you on how to meet these goals. Invite your husband and in-laws to attend this parent training. They can ask questions that will help them understand your daughter’s disorder.

4. Network with other parents raising children on the spectrum. Listening to the stories of those parents who are ahead of you in the journey can give you and your husband insight into the disorder. Here are our two Facebook support groups:

5. Maybe your in-laws simply need to hear the truth from a doctor. Official paperwork containing your daughter’s diagnosis is available from your doctor, neurologist, or therapist. You can request copies of any Early Intervention assessments, private therapy evaluations, and school system evaluations. Explain to your in-laws that these individuals are professionals who see autism spectrum disorders every day. You can also mention that the assessments and evaluations rely on much more than your input, removing any possibility that you are “making this up.”

6.Lastly, get the support you need to help yourself and your daughter. Try not to worry about how the other family members are dealing with this. Always encourage their participation, but concentrate on your daughter’s needs.

Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


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Anonymous said…  I think the acknowledgment is there, the trouble is, most people do not know the true difficulties and how it effects everyday life Every day is a struggle and every day brings new challenges. People who are not with your child day in and day out may think it is not a big deal and is easy... it is NOT. Also, that Aspies cannot be disciplined and treated the same as average children to get results.

Anonymous said…  From my personal experience, my son's Aspergers was not as apparent in the home setting in isolation from his peers. Once I saw him at school and noticed the stark difference between him and the other kids and how he did or did not interact with them it was much more obvious. Family members don't always get to see that, so it can be harder to make believers out of them.

Anonymous said…  My sister, who also has a degree in education, babysat my son along with his same aged cousin when they were both 2. She also taught a couple days per week at a Mother's Day Out day care setting. She noticed that my son was very different and often kept him with her because some of the other teachers were less able to handle him. Though my son is good at heart, his bad social judgment often resulted in issues at school each year. It was very frustrating! So when an insightful teacher recommended testing for him in 4th grade, resulting in the diagnosis, we finally had an explanation that made perfect sense to all of us! And I felt better about the future because his teachers could now better understand him instead of writing him off at just "passive aggressive" or simply "difficult." I think if people realize that a diagnosis can yield better understanding and teacher training gives teachers tools for better working with kids, then family can feel better about the child's prognosis and outcome.

* Anonymous said...  Love these articles. A lot of us deal with things similar. This is definitely something that happens with this diagnosis. Even I as the parent of a kiddo that has these tendencies, sometimes would question whether it was just a "behavior problem" or not...whether it was my parenting style or not. If you aren't with the child 24/7, you don't see the whole picture at all. Being education is so important. When one is educated on this particular much falls into place. 

* Anonymous said... i am now a single-mom to one ASD son & one non_ASD daughter. I lived out of state for 3 years. I couldnt wait to get back hom with my kiddos (& then husband). But noone welcomed us....not even my own mother (this was before the autism diagnosis). Even after, no one wanted to learn about it...we were just too much inconvience for their lives. I also kicked my husband out for various reasons....but "failure to understand autism" was a big one. It's a lonely life. Me & my 2 kids usually stay home & do the same routine everyday. I try to avoid public...because no one understands, & i dont want my children hurt :o( i'm from a state who fears "different people"...i've always been alternative myself. But, God, if you can at least help your husband "get free" & love you all like you are..that would be awesome for you guys. Who cares what in-laws (or even your own folks think!) let them learn! Or stay away. The world needs to be more open-minded not in "words at church" or "words on social media"
•    Anonymous said… I had this a lot with some friends & family and what I did was sent them a link to the National Autistic Societies website and asked them out of Respect to please read it, take it in and that the very fact they are choosing not to Learn more and accept our child for the way he/she is - hurts us more than our child's Diagnosis! Some really made the effort to read more and some didn't bother! This is very common and I have to be honest and say I chose to close the door on those that would not accept my son for who he is! You are not alone! Keep your head up and just always put your child before others
•    Anonymous said… Thankfully most people in my life are accepting and understanding, but I have this problem with my sons father... He refuses it completely, and during the long process of getting a diagnosis of Aspergers, he tried to make me stop taking our son to the appointments completely. I would like to say things are getting easier, but since my sons diagnosis, his father and I have actually split up, after 22 years together, and sadly this was one of our major issues that caused it. It's exhausting.. It's all on my shoulders.. I work day after day with my son..And then he goes and spends a weekend with his Dad and comes back to me in turmoil because his Dad refuses to learn how to properly deal with a child with Aspergers. I've tried everything to get him to face reality unsure emoticon I think there are some people who will just never get it..
•    Anonymous said… Unfortunately a lot of the symptoms are typical of "normal" kids but when you add them all together they spell Aspergers. I think this website has a concise list that might help those who don't want to read much. My son pretty much had all the symptoms but most of them were fairly mild. Had we not had him in a daycare setting where his caretakers would notice his interactions, we may have just written him off as quirky. Early intervention is the key. He is now seven and was diagnosed between 2 and 3 and it's made a HUGE difference. He has "outgrown" most of his issues but still has social problems to a degree. 

*   Anonymous said... My parents and siblings clearly think my kid's diagnosis is bogus (they haven't said in so many words, but keep hinting at it). It used to annoy me, but I actually don't care; they love and appreciate him as he is, quirks and all; so I don't feel the need to shove a diagnosis down their throats. 

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