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One of our readers writes in,

“Hi Chloe, first of all, I want to say a huge thanks for sharing the tips and inside of what it is like to be on the spectrum…my question is to you since you are obviously self aware of it, how did your parents communicate it [the autism diagnosis] to you? Did you start questioning it yourself? At what age were you aware of it?” -Special Reader

Chloe Rothschild is a young adult with PDD-NOS who desires to use her writing to raise awareness about autism. Chloe provided her personal response to this reader’s query:

“Thank you for your kind words. I have always known I was different. From a very young age I have known that I had special needs. I remember going to special classes at school, and having extra help. I remember not fitting in with the other kids. I have always hung around with other individuals who have special needs, and we became a group of friends. My diagnosis was never kept a secret from me.  My parents were always very open about everything. I remember going to doctors, at least three over a period of time to get the correct diagnosis. I have always been allowed to look at my IEPs, and have attended all of the meetings since 5th grade.

My interest in finding out more about Autism came about when I was in high school.  I wanted to read books about Autism and research it online. For my tenth grade writing paper, I wrote about the different things that people thought could be causing Autism. I did my 12th grade large research paper on Temple Grandin. My interest in Autism and finding out more about it has always been respected, it has never been discouraged by my parents or those around me. Within the past year I have become more self-aware than ever before. I have really had an interest in wanting to advocate for Autism through writing and speaking at conferences. My parents, and others around me have been very supportive of this desire of mine. My mom has driven me places to speak and flown with me and attended conferences.  I was recently interviewed by a local news station. I now have around 30 plus books on Autism.

I feel that it is really important that an individual is told about their diagnosis at a young age, or when they receive it, depending on when they are diagnosed. I feel like it is not something that should be kept a secret. Self awareness and self advocacy is something that starts at a young age. It is never too early for one to start this process and learn to accept themselves for who they are. I consider my Autism to just be a part of me and who I am, in all reality it is just a part of what makes me, me. 🙂

I hope this helps. Thanks for your question.”

Thank you, Chloe, for providing your unique perspective.

Christie Ann BoyerChristie Ann Boyer, a retired autism editor at OUR Journey THRU Autism and mom to three boys on the spectrum, had addressed this question in the previous article Should I tell My Child He Has Autism?   In this article, Christie begins, “The decision to tell your child that he has autism is a personal one” and then shares what each of her boys understands about the diagnosis of autism. She ends with three tips for parents who would like to talk with their child about their diagnosis.

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An "Ism" is our coined term synonymous with a “challenge”. Many children, with or without a diagnostic label, experience various challenges throughout their developmental years which are impacting them in the classroom and at home. At Special-Ism, the Ism is our focus. We do not look at the diagnostic label, instead, we look at the Isms and offer solutions no matter the diagnosis.