So I had the "talk" with my 12 yr old son today. He was just diagnosed with ASD a few wks ago. I told him in the simplest terms what autism is. I assured him it's not a disease, it's not something he caught. I explained to him about what his stimming is. And how he has a hard time making close friendships. He was a little upset at 1st. He was afraid that maybe he "looks" different. I assured him he doesn't. I told him he's a wonderful, handsome, smart, funny, awesome kid and that his autism is a part of who he is and that we love the person he is. So he says to me "I'll just stop flapping and making noises, then I won't be autistic anymore". And I said to him "that would make me sad because without your flapping and noises, I wouldn't even know you! Those are the things about you that make you my son."
And while we all wish our children could've avoided this whole autism thing, I know that I love each and every little thing about him. Right down to the flapping, the noises, the odd facial expressions, the clenching of the fists, the jumping, and my personal favorite........the graceful little spin he does when he's walking. To my boy I say "flap till your heart's content Ryan!".