The Mighty Logo

To the Parent Hesitant to Find Out If Your Child Has Autism

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

To the parent(s) who know deep down that an action needs to be taken to get a diagnosis for your child, this letter is for you.

I know you’re afraid of the answer. Please don’t be afraid.

A diagnosis isn’t the end of the world. It isn’t a life sentence or a death penalty. It’s just a new path for your child, different than the one you may have had in your mind.

As someone on the autism spectrum, I understand.

I know you don’t want your child to get treated differently in school, but a diagnosis will help them longterm. Most important, it will help them understand why they’re a little bit different than everyone else.

I was diagnosed with a learning disability when I was 7, but I didn’t get a bit of relief until I was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at 19. For me, the fact that I couldn’t completely understand myself led me to want to take my own life.

An autism diagnosis is not the end of the road, it doesn’t mean your child is unintelligent and it doesn’t mean he or she will spend all their time in special education classes. But a diagnosis does give you the opportunity to defend your child’s rights. A diagnosis does give them a chance at occupational therapy or speech therapy or something along those lines that may come in handy for them.

The sooner you get an answer for your child, the better.

Please realize you may need to explain something a typical child will automatically know like: bras, deodorant, how to make friends, what is and isn’t OK to say, how to keep a conversation going and even sarcasm. That’s all OK.

Please explain autism to your child. It will help, I promise.

Please understand that meltdowns may occur at home but not at school, and that’s normal. This happens because at home they can relax and be free of society’s social pressures/sensory overload. I’m 26 years old and this still happens to me.

From one person on the autism spectrum to a parent of someone on the autism spectrum, please know this: even if you don’t want your child to be treated differently, it’s important to get that diagnosis.


An Adult Aspie Who Wishes She’d Known Sooner

Originally published: November 4, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home