I wish I had a dime for every time a parent of child with autism has asked me “should I tell” either the school, classmates and even sadly sometimes the individual themselves.What is disclosure? It is a noun that means “the action of making new or secret information known” (Wikipedia 2016). When you share with someone information that was previously unknown, you are practicing disclosure. Disclosure comes from the word “disclose,” which means intentionally release information (usually personal) or to open up, to reveal, or to tell.
Of course this is a private and personal choice but there are individuals with autism who believe that we all have the right to know (and I personally agree). However if you are on the fence about whether you should disclose your child’s diagnosis of autism with them, or your extended family, school, community here are some things to consider :
At some point in your child’s life will they need to self-advocate?
Is your child requesting information? Does your child ask questions or talk about any of the following topics:
Being different or not fitting in at school
Wanting friends but feeling as though they do not have any
Not understanding why some things are so hard for them
At some point in your child’s life might they require information about their unique kind of mind or “disability” for moral or legal reasons, such as to provide legal protection against discrimination?
If I were on the autism spectrum would I want to know? Would I feel I had the right to know?
Keeping a “secret” takes a lot of energy and adds stress to you family environment.
What does a secret imply? In most cultures a secret implies something bad.
At Friend 2 Friend Social Learning Society we believe that autism is not a 4 letter word. It is not something we can learn about in a one time “talk” it is a life long process of understanding, acceptance and empathy.