The Talk

October 04, 2012

The Talk

In my world there are two main reasons you have the talk with your child.  I think that most people’s minds will immediately go to the whole birds and bees thing when they hear the talk and who can blame them? I know, the thought of having that talk with their kids can cause anxiety attacks in most parents. However,  while the birds and the bees may be the first thing that comes to mind,  as special needs parents,  there is a much more difficult subject to tackle. There comes a point in your child’s life that you may need to explain their condition to them. I’ll be very honest with you here,  I think I’ll take the other talk over having to explain to my child why they are different from other kids. I don’t really know how else to word it and it's not meant in a bad way. Recently,  I was chatting with a fellow special needs parent.  They were seeking advice on how to explain to their child with Autism, what Autism is. They were asking how I personally have handled this situation in the past. I had to think about that, because Gavin is the only one old enough to be the recipient of such a talk. I spoke with Gavin,  about himself and his diagnosis. I also had a similar conversation with Elliott,  about Gavin and Gavin's diagnosis. Does that even make sense? Keep in mind this was geared towards Gavin, now a 12 year old preteen.
The world is made up of lots of different types of people. Every person is unique or special in their own way.  Everyone has challenges in their lives and some people have more than others but we all have them.    With each person being different,  sometimes our brains work in different ways. Our brain is like a computer.  When we go to the store,  there are tons of different computers out there to chose from.  Each one is a little bit different from the next but they all do basically the same thing.   Some computers work by you touching the screen and some work when you talk to them.  Still others work by using a mouse and keyboard. They all collect and process information but do so in different ways.   Just like computers,  people experience things in different ways.  When someone has Autism,  the way they experience and communicate with the world is different than some other people do.  It’s not right or wrong,  it’s just different.  The reasons why don’t really matter,  but what’s really important to remember is that we all are special.   We all make the world a more interesting place to live and we do so by being who we are.
Maybe not the best explanation but it was the best I could come up with at the time and it seemed to satisfy him. The most important thing to keep in mind is to not make the child feel bad for being different.  The other thing to keep in mind is where they are developmentally.  You need to explain things in a manner in which they can understand.  Gavin,  for example,  understands computers.  So I used them as an means of getting my point across. Either way,  this is not an easy talk to have and it will likely have you wishing that you were explaining where babies come from. From one parent to another, I wish you the very best of luck. Please share your experience with these types of talks. Your insight could really help myself and others to better navigate these types of questions in the future.



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