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Understanding autism
Understanding autism

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3 Experiences of diagnosis

Families and individuals vary in how they react to an autism spectrum diagnosis. Sometimes it comes as a relief, with parents having an explanation for the differences they see in their children, and which others may comment on. Other reactions may include grief, surprise, devastation, disbelief, anger, guilt or helplessness, sometimes together with depression. While parents may come to terms with the diagnosis, other family members may find it very difficult. For people diagnosed in adulthood, diagnosis often helps to explain years of struggling with a feeling of difference.

The following clips illustrate the reactions of parents and individuals over the years.