Advice for Explaining ASD to Family and Friends

One of the most challenging aspects of a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is explaining it to your loved ones.

If you have a child with ASD, you may be concerned that your family and friends will not understand what the condition is, or that they will not know how to react. Here are some tips for talking about your child’s ASD diagnosis.

Be prepared for a range of reactions. Many people feel overwhelmed or distressed upon learning that somebody they know has ASD. Sometimes, they are even reluctant to believe that the diagnosis is true. These reactions are normal and understandable. Patience is essential as you help your loved ones adjust to the news.

Emphasize the positive aspects of the diagnosis. When talking to your family and friends, emphasize that the diagnosis will help your child. Once a child’s disorder has been identified, it will be easier to find a professional treatment that will help the child to develop his or her socialization, communication, and self-care skills. It will also be possible for your family to find the professional support you need.

Be ready to talk about causes. It’s important to explain that we do not completely understand the causes of ASD, but that complex genetic factors are involved. There are numerous popular misconceptions surrounding the disorder, such as the common myth that vaccines cause ASD and other developmental issues. It is not caused by a child’s upbringing, poor nutrition, or any of the other outside factors to which it has been wrongly attributed in the past.

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