Arizona is 9 years old and doesn’t know she has autism. There’s no specific reasoning behind this, other than it hasn’t come up.
Arizona DOES know she is different than other children. She knows she is the only one in her class who has a “helping teacher”. She knows certain things are hard for her like sitting still, keeping thoughts in her head and being flexible. She also knows there are things that she is really good at, like remembering everything she sees and hears.
I’ve talked to other parents about how they broached the subject with their children. The majority said their children first brought it up. Sometimes it’s as direct as, “Mommy, do I have autism?” Other times it’s a growing awareness about their differences and a vocal curiosity as to why.
The time will come soon for Arizona to understand what her diagnosis is. At the end of the day, I want Arizona to be proud of all that she is. I want her to understand that although she might have autism, autism doesn’t have her. I want her to advocate for herself and others in her shoes.
A few months ago, she came home from school and said, “Mommy, I want to be a helping teacher when I grow up so I can help other kids like me.”
I have no doubt she will help many others on her life journey.
I would love to hear your story and how your child came to understand their diagnosis / challenges. What would be helpful information to share with other parents?