It’s ASD Level 1! How do you share the news?

"How do we tell others about our daughter's recent diagnosis of autism (high functioning)? Who needs to know - and who doesn't?"

Finding out that one’s child has been diagnosed with ASD level 1, or High-Functioning Autism, can be scary. Some moms and dads 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 disorder and how it affects the child.

If you are faced with having to tell those around you that your child has ASD, the first thing you want to do is understand and read about the disorder 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 affected youngster. Telling younger children that their sibling has a brain condition that causes him/her to have problems talking with others, causes him/her to focus inordinately on certain subjects to the exclusion of others, and results in him/her performing ritual behaviors may be enough.
==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Parents' Comprehensive Handbook

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 "special needs" sibling - and they can also become advocates for the child. Having a name for what the siblings are 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 he or she is at.

Certainly, teachers need to understand the diagnosis and how it is affecting your child. Plans need to be made to alter the educational style the teacher(s) 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 workers, parents of an autistic child 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, autism spectrum disorders are more well known and more easily understandable than they once were.

As one parent stated: "I find it helps to say . . .'but don't worry, its not catching'."

Resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:

==> Videos for Parents of Children and Teens with ASD
More articles for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with ASD face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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to read the full article...


Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...
A child with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) can have difficulty in school because, since he fits in so well, many adults may miss the fact that he has a diagnosis. When these children display symptoms of their disorder, they may be seen as defiant or disruptive.

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