How to Tell Your Child or Teen They Have Aspergers


  • Author Sarah Freeman
  • Published February 6, 2015
  • Word count 590

This blog article provides a tried-and-true strategy for telling your child he has Aspergers, including a one-page printout you can use to facilitate this discussion. We recommend that you also read When to Tell a Child about Aspergers (an Autism Spectrum Disorder) and How to Prepare for This Discussion.

NOTE: Although the term Aspergers is still in wide use, it is NOT in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Instead, you may see the term Autism Spectrum Disorder in your doctor’s diagnosis.

How you frame this initial discussion is VERY important Here is a simple solution!

Your child may be relieved, angry, confused or ALL of the above!

Your child may be relieved, angry, confused or ALL of the above!

You want to be as positive and as possible, but your child needs to know that he will need to work to learn certain skills to be happy and successful. We have provided a one-page information sheet for you to use. This carefully-designed one-page sheet, called A First Look at Aspergers for Kids & Teens, is reassuring and positive, and gives your child something he can read later.

When telling your child:

1.Print out a few copies of A First Look at Aspergers for Kids & Teens.

2.Read this out loud, or have your child or the professional who is present read it out loud. Encourage your child to take this sheet with her, to read later.

3.Or, you may wish to review this document online.

4.Consider having a therapist or other professional present.

5.Be matter-of-fact as possible

6.Stress that this is not a good thing or a bad thing; it is just a way to be.

7.Do NOT give too much information to start.

It is important to let your child know things will get easier. It is important for you to remember that too.

It is important to let your child know things will get easier. It is important for you to remember that too.

Let your child know that:

◦There are many types of bodies and many types of brains.

◦Having Aspergers is not a good thing or a bad thing, it is just means that you have a special type of brain

◦As many as one in one hundred people have this type of brain, so there are a lot of people who have this type of brain! You may want to find some examples of people who Aspergers online

◦There are some positive things about having Aspergers

◦People who have Aspergers may need to work to learn how to do certain things.

Stress that you are going to make sure that he gets all the help he needs to make her life happy and successful

Do not give your child too much information at this time.

Let the idea sink in, and remember they will probably ask you questions in the next few weeks. As time goes on, you will have plenty of time to go into more details, and explain how you are going to help your child. Remember that your child may be angry, relieved, confused or all of the above. You may need to repeatedly reassure your child that things are going to be okay.

One child, who was having a hard time, asked his mother if he would always have Aspergers. Each time he asked, she thoughtfully answered, "Yes, you will always have it. But it will not always be this hard."

It is also important to remember to reassure YOURSELF that things will get easier. Because they will.

Sarah Freeman is an ABA therapist who specializes in working with autistic children and their families. Her company, Airy Melody Music, produces relaxation CDs and MP3s. These calming narratives, created with experts, utilize clinically-proven techniques that help relax, induce sleep, and accelerate healing.

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