How to Talk to Family and Friends About Your Child’s Diagnosis

If your child has been newly diagnosed with autism, one thing that can be a challenge is telling your parents and extended family. Autism is something that more and more people are aware of, but there’s still a lot of misinformation. The problems your child is having may not be visible to everyone in your family. But you need the people you are close to as allies in helping your child, so getting them on your team is important.

Focus on behaviors Using behaviors others might have noticed — such as lack of eye contact, frequent meltdowns or inability to connect with other kids — is one way to start explaining what autism is, and why your child was diagnosed.

Explain autism basics

Don’t overwhelm them with information but make sure to tell them that:

  • Your child has difficulty with social skills.
  • Part of autism means your child has restricted or repetitive behaviors and interests.
  • Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability.
  • It is lifelong.
  • We know it starts in utero.
  • We know it is not produced by vaccines.
  • It’s not caused by bad parenting.
  • Explain that autism is a spectrum of behaviors, and every autistic person is different
  • Explain that having a diagnosis also means that your family is eligible for therapies and services, which can be transformative.

Read more about talking with family and friends here.