It’s always tough adapting to a child’s new diagnosis. It’s especially hard if she’s in her late 20s with her own free will, and went and orchestrated the whole thing herself. Now you’ve done all the hard work of hearing about it, here’s our tried and tested advice on what to do next.

Provide a counterpoint – immediately

Strongly call into question everything she’s researched at length, despite not having read a single book yourself. Phrases like “we’re all a bit autistic” and “well, you’re making eye contact” should come in handy here.

Compare her to another arbitrary autistic child

Her male autistic cousin. Greta Thunberg (in 2015). Linda’s boy down the road. He isn’t autistic? Well, he looks it. 

Keep insisting she’s “not so unusual”

She’ll quickly combat this with childhood stories, obsessive interests and strange little habits. Reply to each example with “I do that”, then proceed to stare at each other until you both forget to blink.

Insist you adore how weird she is

Okay, she is unusual. But you love all her quirks. And every school year photo you refused to buy because she completely missed the camera lens – like all those balls in PE. 

Return to your mass collection of semi-acoustic electric guitars, because she’s being entirely ridiculous

Go on. You tell yourself that.

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