This is a new segment for my blog; I don't think this will be a weekly thing, but as I hear more and more questions I'd like to get your opinion on what you think.
So, today's question, which I've heard at my last four presentations, "When is the right time to tell my child that they have Asperger Syndrome?" I've heard many different parents give many different answers. Some parents recoil and decide to never tell the child, others wait for the right time, and others talk about it as soon as possible.
Often times I hear, "Well, when is soon too soon?" When I get asked this I recount this story about the time I talked to a 5th grade class. That class, after hearing me, had an understanding of what it is and just this week I got word that the person with Asperger's in that class is doing much better.
So, from that story, 5th graders can understand what it is, but would people in younger grades? I heard a story from a co-worker here at TouchPoint about a 3rd grader who is constantly asking his parents, "Why didn't you tell me sooner?" So from that child's standpoint it is never too soon.
When I am confronted with this question I often say, "If you've met one person with autism, you've only met one person with autism and each person will react differently." I'm leaning towards answering more on the "earlier is better" front because I think back to all the social disasters I had in school and, for me, the blow-ups could not be explained. The only conclusion I could draw was that I must really be bad or people must really not like me. With that being so, how could I work on the right things to say when I didn't know anything was different and that everyone else in the world didn't have the exact thoughts I did.
This post isn't about my thoughts though, what is yours? If you are a parent did you discuss it as soon as possible, when the time was right, or are you still waiting for that right time? If you are on the spectrum when would you have liked to hear it?