Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Tips for talking to children with autism about Newtown

Last weekend, parents throughout the country sat down and talked to their children about the shooting in Connecticut, answering questions like “Will I be safe at school?”

In my house, the conversation was a little bit different. As soon as news outlets started reporting that the shooter may have had autism, I had to tell my son. He has a high-functioning form of autism, and I didn’t know how the news would affect him.

Autism Speaks just released some tips on having that conversation. Advice includes:

  • It is important that you are clear that there is no correlation between ASD and violence. In fact, individuals with autism are more likely to be the victims of violence than the perpetrators of it.
  • Offer language to ask, answer and respond to questions discussed in school or in the community.  For example, statements like, “I have autism, which means I can do some wonderful things, but it does not mean I will hurt people” can arm your child with responses to questions from others.
  • Ask siblings how they perceive the school community’s reaction to the events and whether others are making unjust or unfair connections.

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