How old were you when you began to accept your AS diagnosis?

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RosieOne
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04 Jul 2010, 10:11 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm a mom to an 11 year old. I figured out he was autistic when he was 19 months old. Today, he is 11 and is considered Aspergers. I told him about his autism starting when he was about 9 and he is now starting to accept it ... but he insists on keeping it a secret from everyone he knows (classmates, team mates, fellow musicians, etc). While his teachers and coaches know; the other kids do not not know. What is your opinion? Do you keep your AS a secret? If you had to go through middle school again would you tell people?



JCpatriots
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04 Jul 2010, 10:25 pm

I haven't really told anyone that didn't need to know it. My teachers knew, but I didn't even tell my boss at work until I had an anxiety attack at work. But anyway, I only tell people I'm really comfortable telling. And I was probably about... 14-15ish when I began to accept it, and learned a lot more about it as of recently.



Amajanshi
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04 Jul 2010, 10:38 pm

I got diagnosed at 21. I only reveal my AS to others on a need to know basis, for example if they ask me directly, or if they happen to be talking about ASDs. I don't go telling everyone that I have it. While ASDs are a disability in the predominantly NT social world, it has advantages as well. I don't want to use my AS as an excuse for everything, but I want to be given the appropriate considerations and accommodations in certain aspects of life so I can perform to my full potential.



Callista
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04 Jul 2010, 10:39 pm

Not long after I was told. Unfortunately, I was told when I was in my early twenties, after I'd already "done time" in the mental ward, by a psychiatrist with an AS son who caught what my mom had been trying to hide all my childhood. That was the beginning of good things for me; knowing how I was different made it so much easier to learn what I needed. If you don't know why you're different, you blame it on yourself; you take all the labels that others give you, like stupid and lazy and immature... It's so much easier to know.

Your son's an individual. When he accepts it depends on a lot of factors. Knowing for absolute sure that you love him, including loving his autism, helps a great deal. So does knowing that his problems are solvable, that his differences are acceptable, that disability is not inherently negative.

I think, if I had it to do over again, I would probably tell people. I'm very afraid of hurting people accidentally by saying the wrong thing; and them knowing I'm autistic would mean it would be easier to explain, and be believed, when I said that I hadn't been aware that I had been saying or doing something they interpreted as unkind. As it was, I didn't interact much in middle school (or in high school; I made my first friends in college); so I don't know that it would have changed all that much to tell people.

But it is his choice; don't make it for him. The more he learns that he should make his own decisions, determine his own life, the better. I know; he's a teenager; and maybe that's scary to you; but in my experience, kids growing up with disabilities get hit from all sides by the idea that they're incompetent to decide for themselves, when they very clearly aren't. These are the years when he's learning what he needs to know to go out into the world on his own. Learning what works for him as far as explaining his disability, and what doesn't, is an important task during this time. At his age, I wasn't thinking yet about what other people thought of me; as I said, I remained oblivious for quite a long time; but evidently he seems to be thinking about it, and is aware of the prejudice often leveled at those who are different. Hiding the difference is one option; but after a while, it really starts to become exhausting. It's no wonder that a lot of us use "coming out of the closet" as a synonym for disclosing autism to friends or co-workers.

Disability, strictly, only needs to be disclosed when there's a need for an accommodation. In your son's case, that'll probably be at school and later at college or at work. But there are times when talking about it can make it better; and times when it can make things worse. In general, the more people are open and honest about their own invisible disabilities, the more people will be exposed to them as acceptable variations, and the better things will get for all of us. But we are still at the stage where those first few, though they'll get the rewards of not having to hide, will still be facing prejudice.


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bee33
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04 Jul 2010, 10:55 pm

I didn't suspect I had AS until I was 34 and was diagnosed at 46, so I don't know the answer from first hand experience. But I think that kids don't know what AS is, and telling his classmates might just confuse them or worse, make him a target. I agree with Callista that it's probably best to let him figure it out.



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04 Jul 2010, 11:10 pm

I didn't know what autism was & I never heard of AS till after I graduated high-school when my mom told me that she had suspected I was. By that point I knew I was different & that I could not fit in & I didn't really care to. I don't tell many people offline about it but most people don't even know what it is(they think it means mental retardation or something). They have no problems figuring out I'm not normal so I don't need to advertise it for em


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dt18
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04 Jul 2010, 11:20 pm

Diagnosed at age 3, accepted diagnosis at age 18.



Angel_ryan
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04 Jul 2010, 11:23 pm

I got DXed at 20 and excepted it pretty quickly but when I was 7 and told I had Dyslexia I never excepted it, although now with the AS DX I feel I can lay that to rest too.



Last edited by Angel_ryan on 05 Jul 2010, 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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04 Jul 2010, 11:24 pm

I'll be 40 when I get a diagnosis on Aug 6th thI will let you know. I did not even know about Aspergers until around April this year when I watched some tv show about it, where they mentioned wrong planet. It was funny when my parents and I were watching the tv show about autism then they mentioned Aspergers and after they talked about the traits and warning signs my parents each turned to me and said that is you. Then on the show they said a lot of people who had it in the 70's and 80's were diagnosed with ADHD like I was because they had not known about Aspergers until the 90's. 8O



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05 Jul 2010, 12:07 am

I was able to accept it, at the age of 18.


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05 Jul 2010, 3:10 am

I was diagnosed at 48. I accepted it because it explained a lot about my life.


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05 Jul 2010, 3:13 am

RosieOne wrote:
Hi everyone,

I'm a mom to an 11 year old. I figured out he was autistic when he was 19 months old. Today, he is 11 and is considered Aspergers. I told him about his autism starting when he was about 9 and he is now starting to accept it ... but he insists on keeping it a secret from everyone he knows (classmates, team mates, fellow musicians, etc). While his teachers and coaches know; the other kids do not not know. What is your opinion? Do you keep your AS a secret? If you had to go through middle school again would you tell people?


If he wants to keep it a secret, that's fine. Kids can be judging. But that dosen't mean he hasen't accepted his diagnosis.

I was told about my AS when I was 9 and I thought it made sense because I knew I was weird, then I just went on with my life really. I never went through any denial or anything, I guess I've always thought of myself as different, the diagnosis simply confirmed it.



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05 Jul 2010, 4:38 am

Diagnosed at 14, accepted it sort of...I mean it was like me but I didn't see it as I had something I saw it that I fit a description
I hardly mention it to anyone and when I do it's more of a "I'm this but it doesn't matter"


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RosieOne
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05 Jul 2010, 6:33 am

I want to thank each and everyone one of you for sharing. Your experiences have been very helpful for me.



League_Girl
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05 Jul 2010, 1:16 pm

I started accepting it at age 15. I found out about it when I was 12 but knew nothing about it. I don't really tell people I have it.



jmnixon95
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05 Jul 2010, 1:29 pm

I have been diagnosed since 2006, and I still haven't fully accepted it.