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Old 04-19-2015, 12:32 PM   #1
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How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

We just found out that my four year old has autism. We are still going thew testing so I don't know exactly how bad but you can't tell by just looking at him. Anyways he doesn't like his routine to be changed, only likes playing games a certain way, can not Handle loud noises, he constantly repeats his self, and squils a lot when he's upset. He can talk but not the greatest so he gets his words mixed up a lot and it really upsets him when you don't understand him. I could go on all day but that's just a few things. I have a 8 yr old step daughter that's here every other weekend and I've noticed this weekend that she ignors him a lot and is mean when he gets upset or start squealing. She plays well with the other kids but is really mean to him. It breaks my heart cause all he wants to do is play with her. All my other kids understands that he is a little different since they are allways here and know how to help him with things. Well yesterday I broke down in tears cause I couldn't take it anymore. Since she really doesn't listen to me much I asked my husband to explain to her that she has to do thins a little different with him and be a little more quiet. She is very roudy at times. But all he said was she's not gonna understand shes to young. I know that's not true. Anyone have any helpful advice on how to explain it so it will make things easier on me and him both? I can't handle much more.

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Old 04-19-2015, 12:56 PM   #2
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

I think at 8 shes able to understand. I would say something like "Hey Sally, did you ever notice how your little brother Timmy acts a little different from other kids?" chances are Sally has noticed "Your brother has something called Autism, and that means his brain works differently than yourse or mine, so things that dont bother you, like loud noises, or playing a new game, really make him upset, its also why he has trouble talking and sometimes says the same thing over and over again. I know that sometimes the way Timmy acts bothers you, or makes you angry, but its important that you are always kind to your brother" You could ask her what some are some things she could do that might help DS, or you could just suggest that things like using a quiet voice and being a little more patient with him.

chances are she may already know a child with autism from school (and autism awareness day was just a few weeks ago so she may have learned about autism then)

thats basically how i would explain autism to a child, that there is nothing wrong with him, but that his brain is wired a little differently than hers
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Old 04-19-2015, 12:58 PM   #3
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

there also might be some books that do a good job at explaining a sibling with autism, so it might be worth it to take a look and see, especially if she enjoys books
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Old 04-20-2015, 07:33 AM   #4
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

My 8 year old gets it, and so can she. My 2 year old doesn't have autism but does have epilepsy and delays. She may not understand the ins and outs of autism but she can understand he has a disability. This makes it harder for him to do things other kids can do . He can't help it and wants to be included like very one else. Here's how we help him. Elaborate and discuss as situations or questions arise.
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Old 04-20-2015, 08:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I_run_with_scissors View Post
I think at 8 shes able to understand. I would say something like "Hey Sally, did you ever notice how your little brother Timmy acts a little different from other kids?" chances are Sally has noticed "Your brother has something called Autism, and that means his brain works differently than yourse or mine, so things that dont bother you, like loud noises, or playing a new game, really make him upset, its also why he has trouble talking and sometimes says the same thing over and over again. I know that sometimes the way Timmy acts bothers you, or makes you angry, but its important that you are always kind to your brother" You could ask her what some are some things she could do that might help DS, or you could just suggest that things like using a quiet voice and being a little more patient with him.

chances are she may already know a child with autism from school (and autism awareness day was just a few weeks ago so she may have learned about autism then)

thats basically how i would explain autism to a child, that there is nothing wrong with him, but that his brain is wired a little differently than hers
Oh I love this response. My 10 year old would have understood something like this at age 8.

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Old 04-20-2015, 04:27 PM   #6
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

Thanks for help. I think I'll try to talk to her next time she's here. I just had no clue on how to do it or where to start. I knew she should be able to understand since my five year old does. He doesn't know exactly what's wrong but he understands that his brother wants to do things differently. Which I think it also helps him understand cause one of his good friends at school has the same problems with things as my four year.. I've never had to deal with things like this so I wasn't sure where to start. This helped a lot =)
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Old 04-20-2015, 09:01 PM   #7
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We have developed some things my older two do not have to share and things in their life they do. I limit how much I ask them to "take care of" or "help" my youngest. If anything I will say will you help me by... Going to support groups and watching documentaries helped too.

Some of our rules are: they have locks to their rooms if they want to keep the youngest out. If he takes things they are ckeay theirs they can take back without getting me but may not yell at him. Yelling means I get it. Likewise, if they are messing with his stuff and he takes it that's ok.

When he needs something they don't, like an iPad to make it through the appointment, I try to gush about how great they are that they learned so much on their own.

Otherwise I say lots of stuff about how lucky younger Ds is to have older ds and dsd, and make sure I brag in public too. I also talk to th about times I've been frustrated with ds. and how I handled it.
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Old 04-21-2015, 12:55 PM   #8
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

We don't have problems with sharing. Ever since my kids were tiny I've always taught them that we are a family so whats mine is yours and what yours is mine. Of course there is a few things that is just their own but they know when they are not using it to keep it put up and if one of their brothers or sisters would like to use it they ask first. The problem we have is she refuses to play with him. She can be playing with all the other kids and when my four year old trys to play she either yells at him, leaves and goes somewhere else or trys to tell him what to do. Which is all unacceptable in this house. I've always taught them that we treat everyone equal no matter whats different about them. And thankfully the listen cause I've never had this problem out of any of them. But her mom raises her different. Let's her do whatever she wants to when she wants to. She treats her like she's an adult and I think that's our problem. So when she here she doesn't think she has to follow our rules or anything. Which I'm not that strict but I don't let them go as they please either. I'm hoping when I talk to her it will help. But I'm really scared it won't.
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Old 04-28-2015, 01:39 AM   #9
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

this mom explained autism to her son's 1st grade class, see how she went about it here
http://seriouslynotboring.com/2013/05/15/the-star/


not sure if that helps but my 8yr old liked this example. He is doing a class project for Apraxia Awareness Day in May (about his little sister who has apraxia) and has been researching ways to share differences in children in a way that his classmates will understand.

There are also several good children's books out there that explain autism, you might try sharing this one with your step daughter http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS.../chrisficti-20
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:49 AM   #10
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Re: How do you explain autism to an 8 year old?!?

Quote:
Originally Posted by I_run_with_scissors View Post
I think at 8 shes able to understand. I would say something like "Hey Sally, did you ever notice how your little brother Timmy acts a little different from other kids?" chances are Sally has noticed "Your brother has something called Autism, and that means his brain works differently than yourse or mine, so things that dont bother you, like loud noises, or playing a new game, really make him upset, its also why he has trouble talking and sometimes says the same thing over and over again. I know that sometimes the way Timmy acts bothers you, or makes you angry, but its important that you are always kind to your brother" You could ask her what some are some things she could do that might help DS, or you could just suggest that things like using a quiet voice and being a little more patient with him.

chances are she may already know a child with autism from school (and autism awareness day was just a few weeks ago so she may have learned about autism then)

thats basically how i would explain autism to a child, that there is nothing wrong with him, but that his brain is wired a little differently than hers

This is how we dealt with it. My best friend has an autistic daughter and my girls didn't really GET why she was so "weird" and different than their friends. Once I explained how her brain was a little different than theirs and what things might happen they totally got it. My bf and my best friend are bipolar and we explained this to them in a similar way and that REALLY made it sink in. Now my 10 year old can come home from my best friend's house and be like, "mom I think Ericka needs you to call her. I don't think she's taking her medicine again." And sure enough I'll call and she's having a hypomanic episode. But it helps to tell kids that autistic children have different brains because at least they understand that their sibling/friend isn't TRYING to annoy them. They truly cannot help it. Now when my friend's daughter gets overwhelmed and goes into the closet and hoots like an owl to herself, my kids don't call her weird or laugh. They ignore it, give her space, and let her calm down. They know she'll eventually come out and join the game again.
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