you tell them they have autism and they have absolutely zero reaction. No questions at all.
The other day I told her about when she was 3 years old and we went to a special doctor and the doctor did a lot of fun games with her that were really tests and the doctor said her brain is a little bit different than other kids and we call that autism and autism just means some things are hard like loud places and waiting for things and making friends but it also means cool things like being the best reader and speller and artist in class and being great at music and doing math tricks in her head.
From how paranoid she is about germs and sickness I was afraid she would react like, "Am I going to die???!!!" That's the reaction I was prepared for. But there was no reaction. At all.
Like the times I told her that her dad is in prison. No reaction. At all.
But then I heard her telling her friend about her dad the other day, that he had to go away to a jail because he ran over someone with his car and got in trouble. So at some point some of it did sink in.
I'll have to tell her another time when she's present because she's usually not present but sometimes it's hard to tell. I could have picked the wrong time. I think I wanted to tell her and made myself think she was present because I wanted to explain to her why she gets in trouble and has a hard time everywhere she goes: ballet class, church, Boys & Girls Club, swimming lessons, swimming pools in general, movies/theater, assemblies, any kind of group activity, anywhere they want her to sit and be quiet, etc. I didn't add school to the list because she feels safe there. They have it pretty dialed in with her. So we're lucky in that regard. Except for the beginning of every year is always bumpy. And it's almost the beginning of the year....oh boy, hang on.
By "present" I mean connected, with a settled nervous system, and using original speech to communicate. Those moments are rare and memorable.