A Neurodiverse diagnosis for your child – what does it mean for the family? – Part 4 Family

Before I go any further, I will say this 5-min read has been a hard one for me to write because it brings up all the emotions we had when our child received the diagnosis which we pushed for. It still shakes your world in a way you never knew. You will pick yourself up you will learn and adapt. Give yourself time, space and be gentle with yourself. You will not get everyting right the first time or even the second!

There are three persectives to be understood here first;

  • The parents supporting the child
  • The child receiving the diagnoisis
  • The siblings of the family
  • Family life & the wider family

Each of these groups will experience the diagnosis differently!

Family Life

Within our imediate family; myself and my husband were brought up with the family evening meal around the table which is when everyone caught up on what was happenig with each other. Even within a family for an autisic child this, situation can be hard. Our daughter would find it hard to understand when it was her turn to talk in the conversation and she cannot stand it when people talk over her which happens in families. When we understood what was happeing we taught her when and how to understand it was her turn to talk and also stopped people talking over each other. I am not saying its perfect now.

There are days when she will sit at the table with her tablet and headphones on because that day her battery is empty. She will communicate this to me and we agree, she likes to be near us but sometimes processing us is to much. She will also sometimes just listen to the conversation. For our family we have always included her in family life, letting her know what is happening and allow her to contribute to discussions.

After many years of trying she is getting the art of conversation and also the art of telling her older sister to be quite. Her older sister feels she has to fill the silance so essentaily she never shuts up unless you tell her and even then not always.

Children in general, are much more observant and understand things better than we give them credit for. An autisic child will observe and analyse a situation, maybe too much, if you do not provide the context. How can they understand that situation in a benefical way? Inclusivity is the key.

The Wider Family

We have been very lucky with our wider family. We have received understanding and support from them all. I would suggest one thing. If you do not receive the support you and your child needs, do not put your child in to a situation that could have a negative impact on their wellbeing.

To encourage the wider family to understyand an accept you will have to give explinations, again and again rember they do not live the day to day experaince so they do not intuatively understand the what, why and how. Time and patience is required by all parties.

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