DEAR ABBY: My nephew, "Logan," is a sophomore in high school. He is a bright, awesome kid who is on the autism spectrum. He is very high-functioning, even on a higher level than Asperger's. But the social struggles/issues are still there. To this day, my sister refuses to tell Logan about his autism. She feels immense guilt and goes into panic mode every time I bring it up. She thinks he wouldn't be able to handle it.
The poor kid knows something is wrong but doesn't know what. Can I tell him? Or if it's morally wrong to tell him, can I tell him when he is 18? I am a nurse, and I strongly believe everyone should know everything about their conditions, mental as well as physical. But it's tough with my nephew because he is still a minor. -- CAN I TELL HIM?
DEAR CAN I TELL: Your sister may mean well, but keeping her son in the dark about why he is the way he is, is cruel. I agree that the boy should be told, but the person to persuade your sister to come clean would be your nephew's pediatrician, because it appears she has tuned you out on that subject. He should have been getting counseling and/or therapy to help him deal with his social issues.
If the conversation still hasn't happened by the time Logan turns 18, tell him then. He will probably be grateful to be able to put a label on what he's experiencing.