For adult aspie women and parents of....

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chamoisee
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27 Dec 2008, 11:59 am

I wish my parents had encouraged my obsessions, because they were my strengths. As it was, I had to do this myself after leaving home, and this was the vehicle for my eventual independence. I know they were sick of hearing about cats, horses, goats, art, the books I was reading...but if they hadn't twarted these interests, I would have been out *doing* them more instead of talking nonstop about the topic. I could have been an artist (and to some extent, still am, in spite of them) or a veterinarian, but instead, I'm just now going to college. A few art classes, or riding classes, or a part time job at the vet's office doing scut work would have made me so happy and opened up new possibilities.

Also, they shouldn't have made fun of me for my aspie traits or punished me for them, although I wasn't diagnosed until I was 30. They shouldn't have threatened to put me in a nuthouse. They shouldn't have told me intelligence meant nothing and that I'd never amount to anything.



garyww
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27 Dec 2008, 11:59 am

I'm sorry to interjects since I'm not an Aspie woman but from my own experience being very similar to your daughter the first I'd do is get her out of school immediately and do home schooling if you can't afford to get her into a free school environment for gifted children.
Secondly don't give any thought as to how or what she'll turn out to be. She will measure her success in life far differently than you will.
Do not try to 'change' her n an attempt to 'make her life better'.
The problems with other klds and siblings can to be physically serious and dangerous so beware of this especially when she gets about a year older.
When her begins to go through puberty hang on to your hat becasue she can go two ways and become a real problem child or suddenly settle down into what appears to be almost normal behavior.
Also keep watching for signs of some of her giftedness to gradually fade away when she hit 12 to 13.


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ImMelody
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27 Dec 2008, 12:13 pm

chamoisee wrote:
I wish my parents had encouraged my obsessions, because they were my strengths. As it was, I had to do this myself after leaving home, and this was the vehicle for my eventual independence. I know they were sick of hearing about cats, horses, goats, art, the books I was reading...but if they hadn't twarted these interests, I would have been out *doing* them more instead of talking nonstop about the topic. I could have been an artist (and to some extent, still am, in spite of them) or a veterinarian, but instead, I'm just now going to college. A few art classes, or riding classes, or a part time job at the vet's office doing scut work would have made me so happy and opened up new possibilities.


I will echo this being the most important thing. While chamoisee didn't have parents like mine, mine did encourage my obsessions. Because of this, I didn't even realize I didn't have a lot of friends. I did so many things during middle school and high school around those interests that I really didn't have time to be a socialite.

By the time I needed friends, I was in college, at a geeky university where everyone else was "quirky." They were just as weird as I was, and obsessed the same as I did. So it helped a lot because I didn't need to change anything about myself to be friends with them. I still get friends the same way. While I only have two close friends here, I trust them and can feel comfortable. That's all I care about.


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kualakuddlebear
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28 Dec 2008, 7:33 pm

This is all great advice .... Both of my daughters have AS and a believe I do too.
I wish I knew years ago what I know now. As it has helped our family in more ways than I could list ... Just knowing it is AS .

And it's been like turning on a light and better understanding myself . As I have always felt different.

Traci



MYTIME
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03 Jan 2009, 10:09 pm

I am an AS mom with an AS daughter and an NT daughter. There are a few things I wish my parents would have done differently for me. I graduated High School a year early, as doing well academically seemed to be my interest back then. But when I went to college, even though I had good grades in an Honors program, I felt completely lost socially. I was so unprepared for dealing with other people on campus. I ended up leaving after one year because I couldn't handle the social aspect of college. I could have used some social skills classes growing up. I'm now 32 wishing I could have the social abilities of my 8 year old NT daughter. Also, I wish my parents would not have compared me to my older sister so much. She was a "social butterfly" who was always busy and around people. I heard a lot of "Why can't you be more like your sister?" I also could have used more understanding of just how difficult it was to go through a day of school. The noise, the crowded halls, the teachers and whatever moods they might have been in, the chit-chat at lunch or in the hallways- just going through a day of school wore me out. By the time I got home, all I could do was lock myself in my bedroom for about 3 hours to destress.

On the other hand, the best thing about how I was raised- My dad is also likely an Aspie and he saved my life many times by being that one person who really understood me. We (aspies)tend to unintentionally screw up friendships, and he has always been that one friend that will never leave. So for your daughter, be that one person she can always turn to. The world will hurt her sometimes, she'll feel lonely sometimes, she'll probably feel frustrated at her own aspie traits sometimes. So be that person that she can vent to, that she doesn't have to pretend to be NT around, that she can feel good about herself around. I feel like I am constantly having to go against who I am to please the NT world, and I truly appreciate the time I have with my dad when I can just be me in all my AS glory. So my advice would be to let her be who she is as much as you can, and prepare her socially for the rest of the time.



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03 Jan 2009, 11:24 pm

From the things you listed I don't think most of those qualify as Aspergers in your daughter. Many are typical child behavior. Others may point to other emotional or developmental disorders.

But to answer the rest of your questions I'm an Aspie adult female. I was diagnosed at 35. I really think it would have made me turn out worse off had I known as a child that I was on the autistic spectrum. I grew up an only child. My parents both act like they are on the spectrum my mom is extremely low functioning and always acted like she loathed having to be a mother. My dad always over protected me. I was not allowed to participate in any school groups or sports. My parents always told me that I wasn't any good at anything or else you can't do that because you will get hurt. So it left me with little life experience growing up. The best you can do is allow her to pursue her obsessions as it may give her confidence to excel at something and can lead to a career.

If she is offered any sort of opportunity to do work as a child let her do it so she will build confidence because learning how to work is the hardest thing. So doing little things like babysitting or yardwork, etc are all positive things. Also don't push her into sports if she isn't interested because most of us are klutzs. Plus if she's not good at it and not interested in it then the other kids will just pick on her. Homeschooling is the best option if you can swing it. It would have saved my life from not being ruined by constant bullying. Also don't try to find friends for her or even pay other kids to play with her which one of my friends does for her teenage Aspie. If we want to socialize we will on our own terms and don't try to force physical affection as many of us have sensory issues. Also don't baby here treat and expect from her what any normal child her age would be expected of. Parents of AS and ADD kids tend to lower the bar too low and keep their kids from ever maturing.



sinsboldly
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03 Jan 2009, 11:39 pm

MYTIME wrote:
I am an AS mom with an AS daughter and an NT daughter. There are a few things I wish my parents would have done differently for me. I graduated High School a year early, as doing well academically seemed to be my interest back then. But when I went to college, even though I had good grades in an Honors program, I felt completely lost socially. I was so unprepared for dealing with other people on campus. I ended up leaving after one year because I couldn't handle the social aspect of college. I could have used some social skills classes growing up. I'm now 32 wishing I could have the social abilities of my 8 year old NT daughter. Also, I wish my parents would not have compared me to my older sister so much. She was a "social butterfly" who was always busy and around people. I heard a lot of "Why can't you be more like your sister?" I also could have used more understanding of just how difficult it was to go through a day of school. The noise, the crowded halls, the teachers and whatever moods they might have been in, the chit-chat at lunch or in the hallways- just going through a day of school wore me out. By the time I got home, all I could do was lock myself in my bedroom for about 3 hours to destress.

On the other hand, the best thing about how I was raised- My dad is also likely an Aspie and he saved my life many times by being that one person who really understood me. We (aspies)tend to unintentionally screw up friendships, and he has always been that one friend that will never leave. So for your daughter, be that one person she can always turn to. The world will hurt her sometimes, she'll feel lonely sometimes, she'll probably feel frustrated at her own aspie traits sometimes. So be that person that she can vent to, that she doesn't have to pretend to be NT around, that she can feel good about herself around. I feel like I am constantly having to go against who I am to please the NT world, and I truly appreciate the time I have with my dad when I can just be me in all my AS glory. So my advice would be to let her be who she is as much as you can, and prepare her socially for the rest of the time.


I am glad you are here, MYTIME. People that learn later in life have special needs, it's true. I learned a lot from WrongPlanet, I think possibly the best therapy for AS for the older Aspie there is, actually.

Merle


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Nan
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04 Jan 2009, 8:07 am

Lucymac wrote:
What would you have done differently now looking back? I would have tried harder to keep her away from the public school system (which was impossible). They are mindless idiots, in large part.

Would you have given more or less attention to idosycratic behaviors? No. They are what they are - they're only considered "idiosyncratic" by people with no imagination.

Were you the first born or what was your birth order? Last born in a medium-sized family. My daughter is an "only." Were you an only child? See previous.

What was in your opinion your father/mother/sibling effect on your childhood/adolesence?? My father was not involved except as a disciplinarian, my mother was basically uneducated and NT, and had no clue how to deal with us - even though my father was AS as well. She typically thought I was misbehaving, doing things "on purpose to annoy her" when I really had no clue what she was talking about.

What lessons would you want parents to have now looking back on your childhood? Do not try to make your kid into a lock-step animatronic little droid, to be "just like all the other kids." There's a fine line there, however, between being able to function normally - manners, behaviors, etc - and being pigeonholed into a stereotypical role. Kids HAVE to learn and be drilled in the basics of whatever the general rules of their culture are early - ya can't have them taking a whiz in the pews at church, for example, or being total barbarians at the dinner table, without there being serious repercussions for them. But you have to allow them to process information, and develop a personality, uniquely.

What more can I do for my aspie child?? What have you already done?

Is just unconditional love enough or did you want more from your school? Unconditional love is required for all children. Schools, at least those I've ever experienced, are not there to cater to the individual, but to provide the basics to the largest percentage of the population as possible with the resources available. In short, it's you make yourself fit their regime, not the other way 'round. Which is not bad training for the rest of one's life, really.

Less attention from your parents or more? Different, I guess. It was an old-fashioned, very authoritarian household. If the reasons behind things were explained it might have helped - we got a lot of "because I said so" instead. Things were pretty bewildering at times because of that.

Were you relieved to discover your diagnosis, at what age? Late 40s, it explained things, no other change.

What did you feel? Were you glad or disappointed to get the diagnosis at that point in your life? Nice to know it wasn't just me, but made no other difference.

What do you feel are the hardest parts of being an aspie female? Not being instinctively (I assume that's how it works) able to play all the little social games that are expected of us. Having to watch what's foisted on us, and see other females blindly jumping into it and not being able to say anything without causing hard feelings...but I'm not sure that's exactly an Aspie thing there.

What could the system (parents/school/friends) do to help you when you look back now? Basically WHAT CAN A MOTHER DO THAT LOVES HER ASPIE AND WANTS TO DO THE BEST SHE CAN FOR HER CHILD????? Should I just wing it and love my child and go with my gut or do I let the school/therpaist steer the ship???? Do not rely on experts. Become the expert for your child. It's not a disease, you know. It's a way of processing information. Learn to be an expert translator, and translate the world for your kid. If you find outside resources - school, family, clergy, whomever - who can help, great. But neither depend on them nor expect it from them.

Where do parents turn for support and help? My parents had none, I had none, my daughter had me. I had the advantage of being undiagnosed, as was my daughter. So I just accepted my daughter as she was and assumed that's how babies were. I didn't expect much more than she hit the normal developmental milestones in approximately the correct order. After that, I let her tell me/show me what she needed. I think I got it pretty much right - being Aspie myself, it was easier to explain things to her in details that I don't think NT parents even notice.

I understand there are some programs that help kids integrate into the world a bit better these days. That's nice, if they really work to make things easier for Aspie kids. But they're not absolutely required. Or, at least, not for anyone like my father, me, or my daughter. We seem to be less severely impacted as the generations pass - my father was pretty socially impacted, I seem to be less so, and my daughter does relatively well. I don't know what's at work there, but it may just be the changes in society. Or it may be that I translated the world well enough for her when she was younger that she hasn't had to slog through it all on her own as I did.


Is it better to develop myself and be happy or focus mainly on my aspie child??? Your child is your child. Don't let the "Aspie" label - and that's ALL it is, a label - taint anything. If you're not happy, there's no way your child is not going to catch the fallout from that.

Please help me. All I desire in my life is for my child to be happy. I just seem to be missing the boat on this one. I try everything I can, am educated, loving, and doing my very best but still dont' really know what DD needs/wants. I wish I could freeze time and figure it all out but I know I cannot. Any other mom out there that feels like this??? Thanks for listening/responding. Lucy :?

First - Deep breath.
Second - It's not a terminal disease, it's a way of processing information that may be different from your own.
Third - It's not a curse (although it can be an annoyance, and the annoyance comes primarily from dealing with people who are rigid thinkers of another sort and who are unable to accept diversity of mind). Your child can grow up to have a happy, successful life. Of her own.
Fourth - Learn to experiment and to improvise. If what you think the "right" way of having things happen doesn't go well, find another way. Use what works, discard what doesn't.
Fifth - If you transmit, consciously or unconsciously, to your daughter that there's something wrong with her, she'll feel that all her life. I suggest that you accept her as she is and realize that she's a miracle in her own right, and expect nothing.
Sixth - as mentioned above, relax. It's not the end of the world. Focus on what she CAN do, who she is, not how she "doesn't fit in." Fitting in isn't all it's cracked up to be, actually....
Seventh - explain the behavior of others to your child.
Eighth (don't you just love numbered lists?) - Cherish your child for who she is. (refer back to #5). Don't feel "cheated" that you got "a damaged one" because she's not.
Ninth - read up on the condition. Read everything you can get your hands on, talk to "the experts" if that helps you feel better. Then distill out of it all what works for YOUR child. Remember, no one size fits all - NT or AS.

Deep breaths, Lucy. Deep breaths.



Lucymac
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05 Jan 2009, 12:36 am

You have all been wonderfully supportive and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do love my child and just want her to be happy. Really I am starting to see it's not the AS part that upsets me it's her comorbid depression. I just hate to see her so sad. Things hopefully will get better! Thanks.



Nan
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05 Jan 2009, 3:41 pm

You'll both do fine, Lucy. Really.



Amik
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06 Jan 2009, 5:33 pm

I'm the youngest of three siblings. In childhood I never had a close relationship with my parents or my brother. I always had the feeling they didn't think I was good enough for them, they always tried to change me and my father and brother looked down on me, while my mother was very frustrated with me being different. I had a good relationship with my sister, who accepted me the way I was, while also gently guiding me.

Looking back, I wish I hadn't felt like an alien in my own family. I wish my home and my family had given me a feeling of safety and acceptance. If I could turn back the times and give my parents advice, I'd tell them to stop trying to change me so that I'd be like the other kids and instead focus on helping me improve the social skills I lacked, while accepting that I'd always be different. I'd explain to them that no matter how often they force me into social situations, I still won't become outgoing and social and that I won't pick up social cues by myself by just being in social settings.

What I would do differently myself is to put more effort into learning social skills (asking for more help) and be more open to trying rather than staying in the safety of solitude.

I was 26 years old when I found out I have AS. It was a relief to find out about AS, as it finally explained something I had wondered about my whole life. I've always known I'm different, yet couldn't put my finger on exactly how or why and I had often wondered if something was wrong with me and if others knew about it and weren't telling me. AS explains a lot of things about me, my personality and my life, so now I have much fewer unanswered questions than before, which feels good.

I'm not sure what effect an earlier diagnosis would have had. It would have been nice to know it all along instead of living with that uncertainty and insecurity. In a way I think I might have received more social training and support, but on the other hand I think I might have ended up overprotected and not getting the same opportunities.

The hardest parts of being an adult female aspie are the ignorance and lack of understanding we face. AS is not known that well yet and many people think it's a childhood disorder or something only males haves. There are little as no resources for adults who haven't received any treatment before, which is strange since a lot of aspies go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed until adulthood.

Lucymac, it's great that you want to do everything you can to help your daughter and make her happy. Be careful not to get too stressed about it though, you can't forget to take care of yourself too. I believe the best you can do is to love her and accept her the way she is and be there for her, while doing your best to help her learn and train the social skills she lacks. She will always be different, but you can help her become more functual and independent, to prepare her for the future.



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07 Jan 2009, 9:22 pm

Lucymac, there is a book titled, "Girls Growing Up on the Autism Spectrum". Unfortunately, I don't have too much time to write. However, this book is phenomenal when it comes to guiding parents how to support their daughters.


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09 Jan 2009, 9:27 pm

Lucy:

Quite possibly, as your daughter gets older, she'll be fine. Take some sanity breaks. I know as a parent of an Aspi, and an Aspi myself, that both positions can be very difficult, however, your daughter will probably be okay, and possibly be a very successful adult. As others above have said, this is not a death sentence, or a disease. It is a different way of looking at things. My son can be a pain in the neck, but he's also a brilliant musician, and will probably make a pretty fantastic living as a photographer. He's already going in that direction. Yes, growing up was tough, and he's not over some of the completely non-related things. But he's still a brilliant kid at 20, and he still doesn't get how the world works. It doesn't matter. He will eventually make his own peace with the world, especially if the typical reaction to his photographs continues, which is "how much do you want for that shot?"

Btdt



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11 Jan 2009, 11:12 am

Wow, Lucy! Your daughter and I could have been twins. You created the perfect portrait of the 9CatMom as a "kitten!" At her age, I was also academically advanced (reading and writing scores near college level, math just slightly above average) and socially slow. I also cried easily and was bullied.



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12 Jan 2009, 9:06 pm

Yup. you described me as a kid too.

I'm 32, was diagnosed with ASD at 30. I never fit in. I never felt like I belonged. I was lucky to have my siblings to play with and learn how to get along with. I was advanced intellectually, emotionally immature, labeled as emotionally disturbed as a teenager, when I was just overwhelmed and freaked out by all the changes happening in my life.

I also have a 10 y/o DD myself who has HFA. The psych who evaluated her last said se was not verbal enough for Asperger's diagnosis. There are many things I am doing differently with my daughter than my parents did with me, things I wish they had done. First of all, we live in suburbia, not the boondocks. She won't be cut off from society like I was. I am here for her. That's a huge thing. My parents were very absentee parents, thinking once they had a kid who was 12, that they could leave the other 5 younger ones home with him all the time. I practically raised my 3 younger siblings since I am the oldest daughter. I make my daughter speak with service personnel and school personnel. I was afraid to even order something at a restaurant when I was 18. I was afraid to talk to teachers and school administrators.

I am lucky that I have gotten where I am today in life. I am lucky that I function as well as I do. I did a lot of growing up after I was 18. I was forced to. My folks divorced, pulled the financial rug out from under me, and I was on my own. I learned. I met a wonderful guy who it also turns out has an ASD when I was 19, we married when I was 20, had our daughter a year and a half later, then went on to adopt three more children over the years through foster care. My hubby is a tech geek and I stay home with the kids. I have learned to deal with school administrators for my kids, do IEPs, etc since one of my children is mentally retarded. I really can pass as "normal" and not many people would suspect that I had an ASD. But I do have issues, I do have problems, and I won't deny that. I have major anxiety issues. I am on meds that help. I don't normally drive because all of the sensory input is overwhelming to me and causes extreme anxiety. I can get to the kids' doctors, my doctors, the stores we frequent, and that's about all I'll do. Hubby is a good crutch there and doesn't mind playing taxi to me and the kids. We limit our out-of-home involvement though. I do get absorbed in my special interests, so I limit myself and stay away from some of my obsessions entirely because I know I can't regulate them. I've got 4 kids to care for, so I don't have time. LOL!

I wish you the best of luck in gettting the help you are looking for with your DD. My DD is also amazing. She's brilliant, artistic, and also very challenging at times.