13 September, 2009

What To Do If Your Child Has Asperger's Syndrome

This is not about Scotland, but not everything has to be. I sometimes make YouTube videos about having AS, and a woman messaged me describing her 5-year-old son, saying she just wants him to be happy but isn't sure what to do. At school, everyone thinks he's a troublemaker because he talks strangely and gets overwhelmed by things.

It is weird to be an old person. My mom sent me an issue of a newsletter for parents with AS kids, and they arrange social events and meetings. When I was little, I went to a therapist who thought I acted like I'd been abused, but she also said to my mom: "It's almost like autism, but children with autism can't talk."

Anyway, I don't really blame my parents for anything they did, because there just wasn't as much information about this kind of thing. AS wasn't added to the DSM until I was five; there were definitely not romantic comedies about it, even bad ones. I didn't really know what to tell this woman except that she should try to get him a diagnosis, which she's already doing. I also said that she should tell him about his diagnosis as soon as she can.

Thinking of yourself as disabled is not a bad thing; that's an ableist thing to think. Label or not, your kid is probably not going to fit in very well for a while. He might as well understand why, get some kind of services, feel like he is just a different kind of person and needs to work harder and approach things in different ways. The idea that not telling him will keep him innocent, or confident, falls apart. Things will be hard for him; he won't be innocent, he'll just be confused.

I think understanding what your challenges are is something powerful. I don't think that knowing you have challenges keeps you from overcoming them; rather, I think that when you think you have no impairment, that you're just a normal person who somehow is finding it impossible to do these normal things, you can be paralyzed by embarrassment and guilt.

I think it's wonderful that this woman seems so affectionate toward her son, not at all resentful or even especially unhappy, just worried. That's probably one of the most important things, and not something anyone but his parent can do for him.

No comments:

Post a Comment