Breaking the news of an autism diagnosis to your loved ones can be challenging, even for the most accepting families. There is the potential for a range of reactions and a conversation that may be difficult to approach. However, sharing this information can open the doors to a new understanding, mutual support, and a healthier home dynamic. After all, everyone in the family will be affected by the diagnosis, so the greater the awareness and acceptance, the better you and your family can collaborate and maintain a home environment that supports everyone involved.

1. Prepare for The Conversation with Relevant Research

Informing your family about a new autism diagnosis may lead to many questions, so prepare for that conversation by researching your child’s specific autism diagnosis. You can search for topics like:

  • What is autism?
  • How do the symptoms of autism impact communication, social development, behavior, and motor coordination?
  • What are the symptoms correlated to varying levels of ASD diagnoses?

While searching for resources about your child’s diagnosis, check out our regularly updated HHF blog. We constantly post new articles with information about autism, autism treatment options like ABA therapy, and finding the help your child needs.

2. Take a Measured Approach to the Discussion

Since an autism diagnosis may be potentially upsetting or surprising to the family, presenting this information in a relaxed and reassuring way can diffuse any potential tension. Your family members may not understand what autism is, they may be emotional, or they may be empathetic and ready to help! However they receive the news, your pre-discussion research and a hopeful demeanor are vital for guiding the discussion. Focus on facts of the situation and finding the best support for your child’s ongoing needs as a family.

3. Use Understandable Language in Discussing Your Child’s Diagnosis  

Instead of reading off medical terms related to your child’s new diagnosis, explain the diagnosis in simple terms. This may help your family wrap their heads around the situation. For example, instead of saying:

“John has difficulty interpreting the meaning of certain facial expressions and social cues.”

It may be easier to say:

  • “It may be hard for John to tell if someone is sad or angry because of his new diagnosis. But, we are going to help him learn how to recognize these differences with practice at home!”

4. Frame the Autism Diagnosis Discussion Around Hope

If any family members feel concerned, be sure to remind them that there are autism treatments available. Many individuals with autism go on to lead vibrant, fulfilling, and independent lifestyles! Early diagnosis and ABA therapy services at an early age are proven to improve long-term outcomes.

By sharing factual information, explaining the diagnosis in simple terms, and reassuring your family that a diagnosis is a step in a positive direction, your family is more likely to be supportive!

For more information on next steps following an autism diagnosis or to learn more about autism treatment options, contact HHF’s Care Coordination Team. Our clinics offer ABA therapy in Chatham, NJ and many other locations. We can answer questions about autism treatment, help you explore insurance coverage, or even provide you with information about Helping Hands Family’s ABA therapy.