To tell or not to tell

Do I tell my child they have Asperger Syndrome?

There are two schools of thought on this. Obviously it’s either a yes, or a no. It is now a common belief held by leading specialists in Asperger Syndrome that it is advisable to tell the child of the diagnosis.

Reasons:

Generally the child with Asperger Syndrome begins to realise they are different and present with one of four main coping strategies:

  1. self blame and depression
  2. escape into an imaginary world
  3. denial and arrogance or
  4. imitation of other people or characters

Your child may already have begun to blame themselves for being different or to think he/she is crazy. By sharing the diagnosis with the child it allows them to see that they aren’t going crazy, that there is a reason for why things are the way they are. It may help to reduce the child’s experiences of the four coping strategies. It may help other people to view him/her more positively and help with acceptance because people realise they have genuine difficulties coping with situations that others do not.

Also people are more inclined to give support, rather than criticism when they know there is a reason for someone struggling, and people will begin to understand the very real difficulties out children face on a day to day basis, and begin to make allowances and offer additional support. Schools themselves can also access support and services. And perhaps the most beneficial reason is that the person themselves will begin to understand themselves more, develop a greater self-efficacy, begin to take more control of their lives and make more informed choices for their lives.

Reference: Attwood, T (2007), The complete guide to Asperger’s Syndrome.