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Jessrn
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20 Mar 2007, 3:27 pm

:( My 5 year old son was diagonsed with Asperger's on Friday. I am very overwhelmed by the amount of information to read and process. Everything I see says he will not function well as an adult-someone tell me this is wrong. Apparently for an Aspie, he is pretty social, but he has not entered the brutal world of elementary school yet. He cannot hold a pencil or eating utensil properly, he has low muscle tone, yet his intelligence is gauged as that of a 7 year old-and this with no formal education. I need to find an OT and child psychologist and I am worried I will not find one good enough. Sorry I am rambling-my brain is going a hundred miles a minute.

Can anyone give me a starting point? How can I better see the world from my son's point of view? What is the best way to protect and help him?



roygerdodger
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20 Mar 2007, 3:49 pm

Quote:
:( My 5 year old son was diagonsed with Asperger's on Friday.


:( It's amazing that anyone can be diagonsed with Aspergers that easy.



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20 Mar 2007, 3:55 pm

Hey don't worry about it. Don't think negative about it, work on the things he has trouble with and you'll notice talents which he has. All the problems he's having like holding a fork and all that is down to a disability called dyspraxia, i know as i have it and i have aspergers too. Yeah i'm 15. Ignore doing shoes up, brushing teeth (kids shouldn't actually start doing it indipendantly until 7 but you may need to wait until 10) and all that for the time being and consentrate on using food utencils. Cut things up for him too as i have a huge trouble cutting things, even now but work on the way he holds a knife a fork and teach him how to use a pencil but if he strugles then see how good he is at typing on the computer as there are alteratives. If you need any advice just e-mail me, i'd be happy to help


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20 Mar 2007, 3:55 pm

I am raising 2 kids on the autistic spectrum and I have AS. First of all, don't assume that just because your son is wired differently doesn't mean he can't grow up to be a productive person. The road is not easy, I will say that. The first thing you need to do is learn about special education law and the services your son is entitled to. The psychologist - and I would recommend looking for a developmental psychologist - can give you an educational assessment and make recommendations as to services he needs. He may need to spend some time in a smaller special ed class and transition to regular education and he may need an inclusion aide when he does enter regular ed. The school system may try to deny you services, but he is entitled to these services and you may need to contact an advocacy group for help in getting proper services. My best advice is to immerse yourself in learning everything you can about AS and special education and what services like OT are available at no cost through the US public school systems. And remember, people with AS are often gifted in areas such as science, engineering, music and art. Use those gifts to their fullest while working on the deficits. I wish you the best of luck.


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20 Mar 2007, 4:10 pm

Take a few deep breaths.AS does not mean the end of the world.Stop projecting into his future because AS is different for every individual,it's a spectrum.You may want to post in the parents forum as well,as there are many supportive parents there who have been through this "first day freak out" feeling.He doesnt have cancer,his brain is just wired a little differently then the majority of humans....it doesnt always mean a "bad thing" to not be in the majority(please read my sig).

Nobody,no book,no DR can tell you how this will effect your son.He is an individual and may have different sensory issues,learning styles,emotional responses compared to the next child with AS.What will make the most differences is your excepting the things about him that cant be changed and helping him learn coping methods for some things that you both think can be changed.Some issues he will just out grow.I am one of many adults with AS,who lived without DX or any "intervention".
I graduated from college,lived on my own since 16 and can support myself.Most of my "challenges" have not been due to the AS as much as to peoples reaction to me....the world is very intollerant of "different".I also have some scars from nieve(there was no info about AS when I was growing up)parents who constantly punished me for traits of AS that were beyond my control.So I tend to over react to "curbie" philosophies.If my parents had loved and respected some of my "differences",I would have far fewer co-morbid issues to deal with(self-esteem and depression).I hope you will not fall into the trap pf the ABA curbie folks.I think their own fear of "difference" has blinded them to the gifts of their children.Do we really want a world of clones?

I wish you luck in your journey,scary but very rewarding according to many parents here.It seems that the worse frustration is not in living with a child with AS but living in a society that is ignorant and unhelpful(schoolsystems,DRs,uneducated parents).


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20 Mar 2007, 4:44 pm

Krex, your life sounds a bit like mine. Hell, I'm 50 now and AS was unknown back then and autistic people were locked up. School was different. There wasn't so much empahsis on group learning, more emphasis on just doing your school work. My son, who is now 19, was diagnosed at 3-1/2. He had a lot of screaming tantrums and was attached to a curling iron. They originally thought he would never be able to write. He surprised them all by learning to write shortly after their pronouncement. He also learned to play the double bass and anything else he was really interested in.

My husband and I advocated for him, was able to make the school adjust to him. The school system is a cruel, cruel place for an unprotected Aspie and those experiences lead to depression. My son has never been depressed and has never taken an anti-depressant. He has no friends IRL, but has many online. He is talking college classes and works with my husband and when he gets home, he gets on his computer and chats with his friends and he's laughing and typing and I feel good about it. He's happy and hel'll eventually be successful and able to take care of himself when I leave this planet.

Yeah, I graduated from the School of Hard Knocks and I have emotional scars to prove it. I wanted something better for my kids.


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Jessrn
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20 Mar 2007, 7:12 pm

Thanks to all who have already replied. I did not expect responses so quickly. It is comforting to know that people are listening and really care!



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20 Mar 2007, 7:49 pm

Jessrn wrote:
Thanks to all who have already replied. I did not expect responses so quickly. It is comforting to know that people are listening and really care!


What'd ya expect, we'd be totally indifferent? That's not the way we roll on WP. :)

As for your son, all i can say is that you should love and support him 110%. That's what my parent's did for me ever since i was DX'ed at the age of 5, and i turned out all right (to a degree...)

Anyways, i go by Roxas here. Nice too meet you.


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20 Mar 2007, 8:23 pm

Jessrn,

Just because your son has a diagnosis of AS does not mean he cannot have a productive life. I agree with what everyone else has said. My parents were told, when I was 5, that I could never learn English. (I have a Master's degree). Just because a person is different doesn't mean they are inferior. My inspiration is Roger Bannister, who faced difficulties when he was growing up, but went on to become the first man to break the four-minute mile and became a physician.



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21 Mar 2007, 10:21 am

Oops. Sorry about the multiple post.



Last edited by marbledog on 21 Mar 2007, 10:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

marbledog
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21 Mar 2007, 10:24 am

Jessrn wrote:
Everything I see says he will not function well as an adult-someone tell me this is wrong.


This is absolutely, completely, and utterly wrong. I can't imagine why mental health professionals persist in perpetuating this notion that Asperger's is a debilitating condition, or that people with AS can't be happy, sucessful, and independant as adults. This level of ignorance and voluntary blindness goes well beyond over-concern and enters the realm of self-fulfilling prophesy. They seem determined to create a disability where none exists.

I first encountered ideas like these about a year ago, when my girlfriend took a job as a school shadow for a ten-year old boy with Asperger's. The literature that she was given iterated the same sentiments as the things that you are reading now, and the boy's mother was terrified that her son would never leave home, get married, hold a job, or find satisfaction and independence in life. The situation is much different now, and the boy's condition has improved dramatically, simply by having someone around who has some experience with AS. (My girlfriend has learned a LOT about it in six years of living with me.) He is now one of the most popular kids in his class, his grades have improved considerably, and he no longer has meltdowns. To put it simply, the predictions were wrong.

When I was growing up, there were no predictions. AS wasn't publicized, and autism was considered a form of mental retardation. I was just different. I didn't learn about AS until I read about it in a magazine a few years ago. I'm not going to say that growing up with AS was easy, but, overall, I came through it ok. I have to believe that this was because I had a wonderful mom who loved me, had patience with me, and was willing to explain the things that I didn't understand. You son already has that. That puts him way ahead of most normal kids, right off of the bat.

I don't mean to talk about myself so much, but I hope that my experiences can give you a little perspective on your son's condition. As far as his motor skills problems go, things like that do tend to get better with age, but he will probably always be clumsy and have poor manual dexterity. It definitely wouldn't hurt to talk to a physical therapist who specializes in dealing with disabilities.

As far as all the other stuff you've read about AS, forget it. Any honest psychologist has to admit that we know very little about Asperger's in children, and almost nothing about in adults. Psychological models of how your son will behave in twenty years are no more accurate than a fortune-teller's crystal ball. Your son's future is up to him, not them.

Having said that, I'll make a few totally unscientific predictions of my own. (Note that I am not, by any means, an expert on AS or human psychology. These traits are simply general characteristics of AS that I've noticed in myself and others. Feel free to ignore them entirely. Any AS'ers who disagree, feel free to correct me.):

Your son will have an overriding respect for the truth, and a desire to protect it.
He will have a highly developed sense of justice, and an strong desire to correct injustice.
He will have serious problems with people who abuse authority.
He will have an intense desire to learn and share information.
If he sees a problem, he will feel a strong compulsion to fix it.
He will be a target for bullies.
He will probably not enjoy participating in athletics.
He will probably enjoy non-athletic games of all sorts (video games, card games, board games, role-playing, etc.).
He will do very well academically, especially in subjects that interest him.
He will probably not be very religious when he gets older. (While this is not a hard and fast rule, the majority of AS'ers and autistics are non-religious.)
Others may sometimes see him as being egotistical, cold, or uncaring. He won't understand why they feel this way.
He will often confused by the behavior of others, especially by group behaviors.
He will be much less likely to do things out of peer pressure.
He may have a very acute sense of hearing, smell, or touch, or have an aversion to bright lights.
He will be more easily deceived about the intentions of others, but less easily deceived about the facts.
He is more likely to be homosexual, bisexual, or asexual later in life. (A solid majority of AS'ers are heterosexual, but the incidence of alternative sexualities is a good deal higher than it is in the population at large.)
He will love reading.
He may be attracted to depictions of violence in movies, video games, and other media, but he will be disgusted by violence in reality.
He will display very strong loyalty towards the people that he befriends.
He will have no desire to harm others, unless they harm him first.

All in all, I don't think it's such a bad deal.

I'm sorry for the length of this post. (Like many AS'er, I have a tendency to ramble about things that interest me.) I wish you and your son the best. As I said above, I'm not an expert, and I don't know how much help I can be, but feel free to email me if you have any questions.

Jason



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21 Mar 2007, 11:01 am

Jason MarbleDog, your list is right-on! at least for me. It describes my Aspieness perfectly, except the violence in gaming part; intensely dislike any violence.

Asperger's is a gift. It just needs to be developed on an individual basis.

It's like the Apple OSX operating system: the best in the world, the easiest, most elegant, most intuitive, most virus-crash-proof, most fun, most powerful, best at actually getting substantive work done, yet 95% of the world is lemminglike using Micro$ucks crap just because the herd does it, with no acknowledgment of vast quality difference.



Bridge
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21 Mar 2007, 11:39 am

Jessrn wrote:
:( My 5 year old son was diagonsed with Asperger's on Friday.


do you mind me asking how they diagnose? it's just i have an 8 year old son and they think he may be suffering from Aspergers, i am still waiting for an hospital appointment for him to have "tests" done but i don't know what these tests involve, can anyone help?



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21 Mar 2007, 11:42 am

Saying that your son will never lead a productive adult life has the potential to be a self-fullfilling prophecy. If you have a psychologist/psychiatrist/pediatrician who is telling you that, I would suggest finding another doctor and FAST.

I'm quite successful (Master's Degree, full time job, play with a community orchestra and string quartet as a hobby), but I did have a lot of social problems in school. That could be explained away due to my lack of English skills and the age at which I had most problems socially (highschool - who doesn't have problems). I never really had a tough time socially in the Czech Republic. However, your son doesn't sound like he's got a lot of problems with socializing. I also had a lot of problems with coordination and such. In fact, I was put in a special physical education class because I couldn't keep up with the regular class, but I was well ahead of the rest of my peers in most other things (handwriting was the exception).

From what I've heard, it seems like lots of people get their kids occupational therapy if they are autistic and have problems with physical coordination. My parents skirted the issue by getting me velcro or slip-on shoes and didn't give a crap about the PE and handwriting. Mostly I found as an adult that if I spend time learning a physical activity at my own pace I can learn it and be relatively OK at it.

Anyway, I guess I can relate to your son, since my most glaring impediments have to do with clumsiness and lack of coordination. I think you'd do him a favor if you got him help for that, but I hardly think that it means he'll never live a productive life.



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21 Mar 2007, 11:55 am

The thing about the Aspie clumsiness is that it can quite easily be overcome.

Once an Aspie grapples with a physical task and practices it, it is learned. And once learned, it's almost natural. Aspies are very good learners!