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How to raise an adult

By now you have all heard the saying - It takes a whole village to raise a child! However, if you have to tell this same child that he or she has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, it is likely that part of the village will not know what to say or do.


Parents are often faced with complex issues throughout their lives that mainly concern decisions about their children's lives. Or that have a major impact on their lives. One such issue is that of sharing the diagnosis. Many might think that this is an easy thing to decide, but it is not. It's not just about saying you have this diagnosis or that diagnosis. And in the case of autism this issue seems to be even more complex. Not only because of what the child will think, feel and say. But also because of everything that is thought about autism, about the stigma towards autism.


How will our child react? How will our child's teachers react? How will our children's classmates deal with them? Like this, like that, like everything!


It is not by chance that, even today, we still get young people and even adults who do not know that, in a certain period of their lives, they were assessed or taken to a specialist consultation and diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.


It is very easy to criticise the parents for not having said anything. Let's wait until he is ready! we hear it so many times. Let's wait until she can be more mature! we hear it too. However, it is necessary to be able to listen to these same parents, in what is their way of thinking and feeling what this diagnosis represents for them. Furthermore, these parents need to be accompanied in this process and help them to move towards the importance of knowing the diagnosis and what it represents for the person. And this importance is not only at the moment of knowing the diagnosis, but throughout life.


Receiving a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder corresponds to an emotionally intense life experience. And if we think we are talking about the diagnosis of the children, we can foresee that this same experience is lived intensely and differently by parents and children. And if there is one thing parents try to do for their children, especially when they are younger, it is to protect them from certain more intense experiences that can be thought of as traumatic. And often the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder is seen precisely as traumatic. And sometimes it is seen as traumatic by the parents and not necessarily by the children themselves.


But if we move forward a few years we can think of those adults who receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder just at this point in their lives. And while many of them are happy that they can now understand their own person in a different way. We can also see how difficult it is for them to accept a whole range of different ways of thinking, feeling and experiencing things in life. That is, spending twenty, thirty or more years living life framed within a certain perspective other than that of autism makes it more difficult, after all this time, to face this new way. In addition to all the traumatic experiences of not having information to help you better understand the experiences. And not knowing how and why to defend oneself from certain attitudes of others.


It is true that parents and others may feel that a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder can feel traumatic for the person diagnosed. However, even more traumatic will be an endless series of experiences that the person will go through during a certain period of their life without knowing what is going on. And that despite all this ignorance, they will not stop building up a representation of what it may be. And because they will often hear how wrong they are in doing things, they will begin to feel and think of themselves as a person who is wrong and who does things badly. And because he will hear that he is a strange person, he will also begin to feel and think of himself as a strange person.


It is fundamental that you know yourself so that you can continue to learn throughout your life. And so that you can also know how to deal with others and with the world. As such, it is fundamental that the person can discover him/herself, the other and the world, through this lens and perspective that is called Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is not just a diagnosis. All the characteristics present in this condition represent a unique way of processing information about oneself, the other and the world. So, if we know that from the start there is already a certain set of characteristics that can hinder this same processing. The fact of not knowing who is autistic will make this process even more difficult.


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