Thursday, January 7, 2010

Day 7- To Tell or Not To Tell

One of the hardest parts about having a child with Asperger's for us is what information to do tell people that do not know. Who do we tell? How much information do you give them? When is the best time to tell them? How do you respond to their questions?

I still have a very hard time telling people without crying. It's part of the process that we as parents go through. But it's still hard. My life as I knew it changed back on September 10th. It will never be the same. He is not a neuro-typical child.

So far here are a few of the types of people that we have had to tell and how we handled it.

1. Family~ obviously they are given the most detailed information that we have. They were told first and they were given plenty of opportunity to ask as many questions as they wanted to with us giving as honest answers as we can. There were a few phone calls made, but in the technological world we also used email and skype to tell those who are hard to reach.

2. Friends~ This group was told as we saw them or they called and asked how things were going. They are an ongoing group because I still just saw some good friends in the grocery store today and talked with them a bit about it.

3. School~ They need to know what they can do to help him. The only people at the school that know right now are a few close to the situation. As needed we will tell the rest.

4. Sports Organizations~ This is a difficult group. These volunteers who coach him will only coach him for a short period of time, but how they handle him will give him the impression of the sport that he will keep for the rest of his life. He plays two sports, indoor soccer (which actually started today) and baseball. We are a baseball family and come the end of February you will hear a lot about baseball. It is his favorite sport by far.

5. Church~ This group is probably for us the MOST IMPORTANT. As Christians we have a responsibility to make sure that this child grows up in a Christ centered loving environment. We have to have him in a church that has the resources to teach him.

6.Public Servants~ For our family this group is not a crucial as it could be. Our child can identify himself, he can respond to questions that are asked and he can tell us if there is something wrong. But as he is older and is out on his own, this group will become more critical.

7. General Public~ Right now my thoughts are that they are on a complete need to know basis and most of the general public doesn't need to know. I don't feel the need to explain to the people at the restaurant that he has Asperger's. However, if we were ever in a situation that his behavior was causing us to be told to leave, then I might.

Groups 1,2 and 3 are given more of an opportunity to ask questions and given detailed answers.

Groups 4,5,6 and 7 are given or will be given this explanation.

My child has Asperger's. It's an autism spectrum disorder. This causes him to become over stimulated very easily which might cause him to act out. If you have any questions don't ever hesitate to ask.

Then hopefully they will ask a few questions that are important for them to know to help him.

At church I was asked, "When he gets over stimulated, what should we do?"

At baseball practice I was asked, "He was being bullied by another child tonight and started hitting him. Is there anything we can do to make sure that doesn't happen again?"

The questions haven't gotten any easier for me. Maybe by the anniversary of his diagnosis I won't cry when I have to tell someone new.

Then again, maybe this is part of the process and I will cry for the rest of my life.

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