Do you feel like you constantly have to explain or defend your child to people? Use these tips to respond when people say insensitive things about your child who learns and thinks differently.
1. Don’t overexplain.
Sharing some information about how your child learns and thinks differently can be a good thing. But giving too much detail can be confusing. Keep it short and simple.
2. Talk about strengths.
Pointing out your child’s strengths can cut down on critical comments. The more people know about those strengths, the more likely they are to see your child’s abilities before the challenges.
For example: “Isla is a great soccer player because her motor is always running!”
3. Don’t say more than you want to.
Imagine a parent you know stops you at the store and asks how your child’s speech therapy at school is going. Is that real concern, or is that parent being nosy or gossipy?
If you’re not comfortable, you can stop the conversation right there with a simple, “It’s going well, thanks for asking.” Or say, "Thanks for asking, but we don’t really talk about it.”
4. Don’t discuss it at all.
No matter how well you know someone or how politely they ask, it’s your choice about whether to talk about your child’s challenges. If a friend asks if you’ve considered a new pill, you can say, “We’ve looked at a lot of things that might help. Thanks.”
5. Be blunt, if necessary.
Sometimes even well-meaning people cross the line when asking or talking about your child. In those cases, consider saying, “Thanks for your interest. We’re going to deal with this ourselves.”
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About the author
About the author
Lexi Walters Wright is the former community manager at Understood. As a writer and editor, she helps parents make more informed choices for their children and for themselves.
Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.