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whatamess
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05 Apr 2008, 10:52 pm

I haven't told my son, he's 6 1/2 because honestly, because of his speech delay, etc...I'm not sure that he would understand at all...however, we do talk about his strengths and autism/hfa, etc...in our home as not a bad thing, but a good thing...and then sometimes we talk about him getting therapy for X, Y or Z to help him...I don't know if this is right or wrong. I know that as he gets older, the difference seems to be more...the other kids stare more at him...it's heartbreaking as a mom to see the reaction from other kids...It's also heartbreaking when the other parents say "he seems fine, just like all the other kids", yet you see how the other kids are staring at him, etc...

I don't know what the right answer is...but I thought I'd share this with you, so that you know that you're not alone and I don't know there is a perfect answer for us all...each of our kids are different and you know them better than anyone...

Now, I will tell you this...from an ADULT perspective, when I was younger and was put in special ed for a while, then moved out and put in advanced classes, etc...and some people would make smart remarks about my behavior, I grew up thinking that I was stupid and a horrible child...when I learned about my kiddo and then found how similar we were, it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the world...it was a very peaceful feeling knowing that I was not a bad person, I just was wired differently...and of course, coming here and seeing so many others like me, has also brought me peace.

Good luck to you.



ebec11
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06 Apr 2008, 10:27 am

I was told when I had asked why I went to therapy with all these strange kids when I wasn't different (Not that I believe that now, but that's the naive view of a seven year old for you :P). It definitely helped, but you have to be careful WHEN explaining it. You want them to think they're special, not different!



mollyandbobsmom
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06 Apr 2008, 8:05 pm

We told our 7 y/o he has AS. He understands his brain is wired differently now because of how we explained it to him. He even loves the book All Cats Have Asperger's because it's all about him! He's reading this as I write and insists I put his name on this post so Bobby likes knowing he has Asperger's. It makes him special! He still has normal family responsibilities and we have expectations for him just as we do his sister. We just have a certain framework we know we have to work in to have success for him and us as a family. :D



GHMum
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06 Apr 2008, 10:14 pm

How does Molly cope with Bobby being "special"? How do you make sure that she feels special too? Sometimes I feel that my daughter suffers because she gets less attention due to having less challenging behaviour.



mollyandbobsmom
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06 Apr 2008, 10:20 pm

GHMum wrote:
How does Molly cope with Bobby being "special"? How do you make sure that she feels special too? Sometimes I feel that my daughter suffers because she gets less attention due to having less challenging behaviour.

Honestly, it has been hard. Last fall she told me that she felt Bobby got so much more attention than her that he was a beautiful butterfly and she was an ugly little stick. That was so beautifully painful it broke my heart! Since that time we have made every effort to give her what she needs in terms of attention from us and an outlet for her. We contacted our local Asperger's network ( we are very blessed to have one) and found her a support network of girls that have brothers who are also on the spectrum. I know what it's like to parent a child with AS but I have no idea how difficult it can be to have a sibling with it. Now she has a safe place with a group that totally understands her frustrations and joys with her little brother. It is amazing to watch the girls. They bonded over their brothers and now are the best of friends, taking Tae Kwon Do class together and spending time doing girl things without having to worry about their brothers and their needs. Between my husband and myself we divide the kids more now to give them each more individual attention. It is a constant struggle but we see the difference in her.



NayNay2
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09 Apr 2008, 10:22 pm

My son is 8 yrs old and I haven't offically told him anything, but its not that I don't want to share this info with him I just don't think he'll get it really. He has a hard time understand somethings and takes things very literal for instance.
I am white and my husband is black, we have twins 1 looks mixed/biracial (daughter) and 1 looks more white (my son). I tried to explain to him that he was mixed with black and white and his response was "whos mixed in a pot? I'm not mixed in a pot!" lol so I said no not mixed like that.. ::thinking of another way to explain to him:: No your biracial your made up of 2 different races. his response "Who's gonna race I don't wanna race!" For years he got so mad when people would say his dad is black b/c he's not he's BROWN and I'm not white I'm PINK lol gotta love how color blind kids are.



GHMum
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09 Apr 2008, 10:32 pm

Race is a pretty complicated and abstract concept for kids whether AS or not. I have read that there is no scientific evidence that race as it is commonly understood actually exists, humans naturally have a wide spectrum of skin colours and related physical characteristics but the actual line between them is arbitrary and culturally determined. Of course, you could have a rich cultural heritage that relates to your racial grouping, however on the physical level, classifying yourself as Black or White is no more sensible than splitting us all up into long haired people and short haired people and setting the dividing line at, say, a hair length of 20cms.

I live in an area where probably 99% of the population is of White European or Asian origin. My daughter recently embarrassed me because she was so excited to see a group of Black people. She blurted out in the piercing voice that only a 2yo can, "Oh loooook! Brown persons! I LIKE brown persons!" Still I guess it could have been worse...



tmad40blue
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10 Apr 2008, 10:06 am

I wasn't told until 1.5 years ago (entrance to high school) and I definitely wish I had been told sooner. Heck, I would've understood myself better if they'd told me at time of diagnosis (2nd grade, or 7 years prior to when they did).



jat
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10 Apr 2008, 10:31 am

We told our son, who was dx'ed at age 8, several months after diagnosis - maybe even a year later. We waited until he was able to verbalize that he felt different from other kids, and we did it with the help of his therapist. Since he didn't have an aid, and his only support, besides his therapist was speech therapy at school, there was nothing obvious that "marked" him as different, so it took a while for him to recognize his difference (it took a while for any of us to see it! :lol: ). Since he loves to read, after we told him, we offered him the book Aspergers, The Universe and Everything, by Kenneth Hall. Kenneth Hall was ten years old when he wrote it, so our son could really identify with it. As he read it, he kept saying, "I really have to get in touch with this guy!" He was so happy to "find" someone who was like him! We also introduced him to the Blue Bottle Mystery - a novel for young readers with a main character who happens to have Asperger's. The sense that he was not alone, and that he was not as different as he felt, was really important to him. It also gave him a sense that it was okay. Of course, the whole Einstein, Bill Gates thing helped, too. For our son, I think that knowing that there was a name for it, and that there were a whole bunch of people out there like him, and that they were capable of doing great things, was very reassuring. It made being different much more tolerable.



GHMum
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15 Apr 2008, 7:17 pm

Well I ended up telling my son in a very low key way, and it was a big fat non event! After talking about it for a few minutes he said he didn't want to talk about it anymore, and started asking me about other, unrelated things. So I just said well if you want to know any more about that, you can always ask me, and we left it at that. It didn't really look as though he took it in, but I reckon he probably did because he often appears to be ignoring things we tell him but will quote them back at us months later. And even if he isn't ready to talk about it, at least he won't think we've been hiding anything from him.



jat
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15 Apr 2008, 7:43 pm

Well now you can take a few deep breaths, and know that you've taken the first step! Eventually, the questions will come. More importantly, you won't have to worry about it if your son overhears you mentioning something to someone, or sees a book with "Autism" in the title, etc. He will know that it's a topic that is not taboo or shameful. That's a big deal! Meanwhile, you might want to check out some of the books for kids, so if he does show some interest, you'll be ready. Good job, though. Relax, now, pat yourself on the back, and know that you've set a good foundation for this journey for your family!



annotated_alice
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15 Apr 2008, 7:57 pm

One of my twin sons is just wrapping up his assessment, and the other goes next. So we already know that L has AS, and we strongly suspect that E does too, but we are going to wait until both are finished being assessed and we know exactly where we stand before telling them. However, they are both very curious about the books I am reading and what I am doing on the computer, and have been asking what Wrong Planet is and why I'm reading "Helping Your Anxious Child" (actually E thought it was called "Helping Your Obnoxious Child" and was quite offended before I explained it to him! :lol:). So the other night at dinner I started talking to them about Asperger's, why I think it is such a fascinating difference and the really cool/smart people who have/had it (Bill Gates, Einstein etc.). They were very interested, and asked excitedly if they have it. I said I'm not sure. So hopefully I've laid some groundwork for feeling positive about Asperger's.

Fingers crossed.



becca423b
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15 Apr 2008, 9:35 pm

Please tell him. When I realized in college I had Aspergers, it was a relief because I no longer felt like I was so inadequate, it wasn't a personal character flaw or my own lack of effort that I wasn't like other people. I wish my parents would have realized this and talked to me about it. It might have been difficult, but it would have been so very worth it. Also, knowing I have AS helps me to recognize what I am doing wrong and work on fixing it. If you don't know what the problem is, you can't learn to work with it.



jaydog
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15 Apr 2008, 11:04 pm

well i agree with what katrine and whatamess and tmad40blue and becca423b has already said, i'm 28 yrs old graduated from high school 8 years ago. only recently been diagnosed with lots of stuff that is similar to aspergers. Only problem is that Aspergers, Autism, ADHD etc was not known which i was growing up. I was diagnosed as learning disorder/depression as a child, going though school not understanding what the hell was wrong with me. I didn't have any major meltdowns except the falling asleep and migraines that made me sick with the flu for 24 hours 3-4 times a week in high school. I did well in school, 3.8 GPA, extremely wealthy from self employment as well, but it would of been nice if Aspergers, etc was known when i was growing up, it would of saved alot of trouble and would of prevented me from being in the position i'm in now.

Traumatic events will be with your child forever and will cause a big strain on depression, stress, anxiety. thanks to not knowing until the last couple years after i suffered many traumatic events. I'm severely screwed up, panic attacks all the time, nightmares of my past. constant anxiety and sleeping 16+ hours a day.

Not only that but after school, says to get a good job and you will be set, what they didn't know is that a job (that has a lot of customer demands and poor treatment of there employees) and tons of traumatic events nearly killed me mentally. I now am on ssd forever. Parents please tell your children and give them a list of careers that aspies are good at. please read the following articles by Temple Grandin it will save your child from alot of pain in the future. please read this article

and list of jobs for people on the spectrum



schleppenheimer
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16 Apr 2008, 9:29 am

becca423b, I really have been thinking a lot about your post, and especially your comment "If you don't know what the problem is, you can't learn to work with it."

That one statement applies more to my son and our situation than any other comment that I've read. I've been hesitating and wondering how to approach telling my son, and I've really thought that I shouldn't. Now I'm rethinking, because of your comment. Also, he is suddenly, this year, more aware of his differences. He has friends, and for the most part he is happy, but I know that he often feels like an outsider and wonders why he's just not getting certain things. Last night he made a comment that he has a hard time understanding his friend's jokes, that the only jokes he thinks are funny are his own (which most people don't understand or think are funny--my comment). This really is bothering him. He wants to be funny, and he just can't figure out how. This is the first time I could see that he very obviously feels different.

Thanks, becca423b, for your comment.

Kris