10 Guidelines for Telling Your Child about ASD

Back in the 1980s and 1990s, a highly controversial topic of conversation amongst parents and professionals was the question, “Should we tell our child that she has autism?”

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Today most will agree that such self-knowledge is essential, that children need to understand how and why they may feel different from others around them…and what it means. In the absence of accurate information, all sorts of wrong conclusions may automatically fill in the gaps, which negatively affects a person’s self-knowledge. Now the question has changed to “How do I tell my child that she is on the spectrum?” I have developed these guidelines in the years since 1990 when I first tried to explain autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to a 10-year-old boy, one of my former students. The method must be autism-friendly! These ideas are visually clear and orderly, and features the familiar process of sorting concrete pieces of information into two categories. more “10 Guidelines for Telling Your Child about ASD”

Understanding Friends

A program to educate children about differences; to foster empathy and mutual understanding; with the option of supporting self-expression/self-advocacy by children on the spectrum.

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Understanding Friends is designed to be presented to classes of students in the elementary and middle grades. Adaptations can be made for older classes. This article contains lesson plans and a list of supplies that you will need. After presenting this program in all its revisions, to thousands of students since 1985, I have found that usually it is most effective to go beyond the generic program (Option A) and to discuss specific issues, giving accurate information about real students in concrete situations. Options B and C will help you with this. Option D suggests ways to include the student with ASD in the presentation of this program, if so desired by the student. more “Understanding Friends”