Brad's dad, chiming in:
To disclose or not disclose?
We struggled with this question in the wake of Brad's diagnosis. So here’s my after-the-fact 2 cents. I honestly think there’s no one who you “must” tell right away, other than perhaps close family and your other children that are old enough to understand the situation. Maybe you wait a few weeks or months to tell the grandparents, particularly if they won’t be seeing your child in person for a while or if you’re in line to get a more thorough evaluation or second opinion. Their generation tends to be very out of touch with what an autism diagnosis means today. To them, autism most likely conjures up images and ideas that bear little semblance to Brad.
And then there's the issue of those who don't know. What to do when other parents go on and on to you about all their children’s developmental progress? Or complain that their child is nominally late doing x, y or z. We know bragging and complaining is just what parents naturally do, and there's no reason they shouldn't. We notice it because of our own heightened awareness. We try not to let it bother us. We try to be as happy for others as we are for ourselves and our own family. In a similar vein, we also make a point not to get jealous of other families who seem to have it easy compared to us. It’s hard not to fall into a trap where you think other people don’t have their own problems, but we realize that nearly every family has its issues (more so than ever in these economic times), even though some might not be as life affecting or day-to-day as a child on the spectrum. We adore Brad so much and we love our family just the way it is. Brad is a blessing.