Tell Me About your Asperger's Kid

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by tink2013, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. NotUrsula

    NotUrsula DIS Veteran

    Apr 19, 2002
    I'll contribute, fwiw. My Aspergian son is not quite 16.

    There are times when he frustrates me so much that I want to pull my hair out, or even slap him, but then, I hear that from the parents of neurotypical kids as well; teens being teens, they tend to be trying on adult nerves.

    I'll state it up front: I am not a curebie. Do I wish that DS wasn't Aspergian? Sure, sometimes, particularly when he is being judgmental and refusing to see shades of grey. Am I looking for a cure? No, and I say that for one particular reason: I don't see Asperger's syndrome as a disease.

    To me, Asperger's is simply a difference, albeit a large one. I guess that I look at Asperger's much the same way as I look at being left-handed or being gay. Once upon a time, either one of those things got you branded as not normal; as fatally flawed in society's eyes. My left-handed MIL got her knuckles rapped regularly for writing with her left hand, and was forced to use her right because it was "normal". Today we think nothing of left-handedness. The time is on the horizon when society as a whole will think there is nothing "off" about being gay, either; it just won't matter any more, and IMO, anyway, that is as it should be.

    There once was a time when being "quirky" meant that people might have laughed at you or preferred not to socialize with you, but back then no one thought of those people as victims of a disease. Oddity and a lack of conventional manners was just accepted as one of those things, and the expectation was that people like that would find their niche somewhere and manage just fine in it. Asperger in some ways did these folks no favors; now some people treat that quirkiness as a disease. All evidence to the contrary, whenever the idea of disease is raised, with it comes the idea of contagion, and the segregation begins.

    I don't think that my son's brain needs to be "fixed" -- he just needs guidance to learn certain things that happen to come without effort to other people. Other people can't see 400 turns of a maze in one glance, but he can -- does that make those other people a victim of something? He is bright, he can learn, and he has, but someone has to recognize what he doesn't know and help him to understand that these things have to be taken seriously if he is going to be a self-sufficient adult, even if it means learning to fake it. Some people need extra help to learn math -- my DS needs extra help to learn manners.

    Is it infuriating sometimes to have to be that person who helps him understand? Oh, you bet, but part of me also wants to ask why it's so gosh-darned important that he say "excuse me" to every single person he brushes into as he works his way free of a crowd? Why do all those people have a right to get angry at or look down on someone who really has not done them any harm? Is if really that big a deal if he doesn't always say Thank You or Please? (FTR, at 15 DS now always says Please and Thank You at school or when dealing with businesses or doctors, etc. However, he does not say it at home with family; he knows we won't hold that against him.)

    I don't like people who feel that parents should never voice frustration with the things that their kids do or don't do that makes their lives particularly difficult. We are parents, sure, but we are also human beings, and human beings get angry and frustrated, and sometimes the intensity of that can even trump love for a little while. IMO, it's OK to not like your kids sometimes.
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