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Talking to Children about their Autism Diagnosis

This list of free, Autistic-led resources, compiled by the I CAN NETWORK helps provide support to parents on how to talk to their children about Autism and / or being Autistic in a way that is respectful, accurate and validating.

▪️ From Reframing Autism, “Talking To Children About Autism.” Dr. Melanie Heyworth, an Autistic mother of three Autistic young people, provides a step-by-step guide on how to introduce and normalise differences from a very young age and help Autistic children embrace who they are. Webinar includes many references to additional resources (youtu.be/dITOILBK8V4). A shorter, accessible overview can be found here: youtu.be/1IqPfHvCoSo.

▪️ From the The Autistic Self Advocacy Network, a fabulous resource we share often, “Welcome To The Autistic Community.” There is a version specifically for adolescents (tinyurl.com/yaqu6eqh) and a more comprehensive version (all audiences) that was released in April 2020 (autisticadvocacy.org/book/welcome-to-the-autistic-community)

Many Autistic young people find it helpful and reassuring to learn from the stories of other Autistic young people. Here are just a few of those stories:

▪️ From ABC TV + iview, “What It’s Like…Living On The Autism Spectrum” (tinyurl.com/yadgt7ab). Currently only available in Australia but should soon be available soon on related YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/abc3).

▪️The 2011 Award Winning CBBC segment, “My Autism & Me,” narrated by 13-year-old Rosie King (youtu.be/ejpWWP1HNGQ). Be sure to also check out Rosie’s 2014 TED talk, “How Autism Freed Me To Be Myself” (tinyurl.com/nkd2cdr).

▪️From Jake Holland, a former I CAN mentee who is now a mentor, via our “Humans On The Autism Spectrum” series: www.icannetwork.com.au/…/humans-on-the-autism-spectrum-jake… (more profiles available on our Grapevine blog : www.icannetwork.com.au/category/grapevine).

▪️From 11-year-old Cadence (I am Cadence / Growing Up Unique – Autism Through a Child’s Eyes) via Reframing Autism, a self-directed 20 minute documentary, “Bouncing Words,” in which she shares her reflections on language development and communication, school and friends in non-speaking, limited speaking and non-traditional Autistic children (youtu.be/Yiubc3EmwgQ).

▪️From 7-year-old Sky of My Autistic Sparkle (YouTube), “Being Autistic & How It Feels” (youtu.be/mWbvptPdnW8).

▪️From Alex Bittner (Seriously Not Boring), “Autism & Acceptance As Explained By A 10-Year-Old” (youtu.be/igyyFQx9Ja0).