32 yr-old husband and father in NZ - just diagnosed.

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Kiwi_Oli
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03 May 2014, 6:08 am

Hello,

I'm 32, married with an incredible son. I have a job I love and excel at; I'm respected in my field.

I've just been diagnosed in the last week as mild aspergers and my wife and I are working through what this all means. The light bulbs have gone off, I can reflect on lots of stuff in my life and see the reason why. I've identified again and again with materials I've read in the last week.

My wife and I have a lot of questions, there's lots we need to understand to prepare ourselves for parenting our 2.5 year old (maybe maybe not an aspie) and thinking about more kids.

Can anyone point me to answers for the following: what is the likelihood my children will be aspies? (expressed in %)
will my childrens aspergers be in a diferent place in the specturm to mine?

Thanks,

Kiwi_Oli



Dantac
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03 May 2014, 8:53 am

Asperger's is primarily passed on by the father (first X chromosome) so it is very possible but not 100%. It really depends on the mother's genes too.

If your wife's family has any recent history (up to your wife's grandparents) of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or 'strong' social anxiety issues then she may 'contribute' to AS being passed on to your children.

There is no % anyone can tell you. There is no genetic test for AS either. Statistically boys have AS more than girls but its likely the ratio is equal ...just that girls don't get diagnosed as often.

Will they be in a different spot on the spectrum than you? No way to know. However, they do have the advantage that you are informed about AS and you lived through it (even if you didn't know) so you will be in a great position to help your child as he grows up.

Remember AS is basically different brain wiring that creates problems processing 'normal' social development during the early years (age 2~10). Thats why it becomes a developmental condition.

I know NZ has good AS support systems... 4 years ago I had a job offer in NZ, sold my car,let go my apt, etc and was relocating (always wanted to live in NZ :) ) but the economy there bombed the week I arrived and the job vanished so I had to return after 4 months of not having luck...during that time I met a person with AS who mentioned to me of the different support groups and specialists at his disposal. I was shocked, the US doesn't have anything like that.



tarantella64
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03 May 2014, 10:04 am

Hi,

If I may ask, what led to the diagnosis?

There probably isn't any way to know at this point what it'll mean for your son. My daughter's quite social and seems to be socially astute; your son might be similar. In that case maybe all it means for him is that his dad's a bit odd and sometimes unaccountably thick. Is the risk of passing it on there, though -- well, it seems so, though not enough is known to say what that might be.

You might take other, similar families as your guide. I'm a bit ahead of you in life, from a university/engineering family, so I've seen lots of families where the dad's decidedly ASish while the wife's...er, longsuffering and/or motherly. (Not just because of the dad. 'Faculty wife' is an unrewarding job.) It seems to me that in those families, it's not uncommon to see one or more of the children doing really well, highly placed in his or her field, even the sort of person who turns up in newspapers (for good reasons) -- and there's one child who's very bright but sort of never makes it, is still at home at 30 or 40, "has problems". US families; I've heard multiple stories about a mid-20s collapse in Boston.

I think what it might mean for you guys is that if you plan to have more children, you need to be ready for the possibility that your child will indeed have AS, possibly more severe than yours. And you need to ask yourselves: Given what's involved in caring for such a child -- possibly lifelong -- and the fact that it would in some way affect your son, are you willing to risk it? And what would it mean to you and your wife not to have more children?

I'd suggest visiting the parents' forum here -- they can tell you and your wife a lot about raising children all along the spectrum.

Good luck -



AnonymousAnonymous
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03 May 2014, 6:27 pm

Welcome to Wrong Planet!


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Silly NTs, I have Aspergers, and having Aspergers is gr-r-reat!


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03 May 2014, 6:47 pm

Welcome!


tarantella64 wrote:

You might take other, similar families as your guide. I'm a bit ahead of you in life, from a university/engineering family, so I've seen lots of families where the dad's decidedly ASish while the wife's...er, longsuffering and/or motherly. (Not just because of the dad. 'Faculty wife' is an unrewarding job.) It seems to me that in those families, it's not uncommon to see one or more of the children doing really well, highly placed in his or her field, even the sort of person who turns up in newspapers (for good reasons) -- and there's one child who's very bright but sort of never makes it, is still at home at 30 or 40, "has problems". US families; I've heard multiple stories about a mid-20s collapse in Boston.



Gosh, that sounds like what I've noticed too. My dad is a rocket scientist and my mom was a computer programmer (before quitting to have my older brother). I grew up knowing dad's scientist/engineering buddies, and they were probably all capable of an AS diagnosis. Most were unmarried men. Of the ones who had families, your description was very common. Not every family had one who didn't make it (unfortunately most often labeled "lazy" or "unmotivated"), but most did. I am the unaccomplished one in my family. :)

I have a lot of thoughts on prevention of spectrum-related weaknesses during child-rearing, but I can't quite find words for it. And, it's all very speculative anyway. Having an extraordinarily organized and calm home environment is very important and beneficial for any child.

Anecdotally, I most often hear of ASD parents with more severe children. In my case, it was the opposite. Mine is more severe than my AS child. I believe this is because I am the primary caregiver and have the benefit of understanding my son. While seeing an ASD specialist, she once commented that I make the "perfect" parent for an ASD child because I instinctively do many of the things that took years of research and then parent training to put in place.


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So you know who just said that:
I am female, I am married
I have two children (one AS and one NT)
I have been diagnosed with Aspergers and MERLD
I have significant chronic medical conditions as well


Last edited by screen_name on 03 May 2014, 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

B19
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03 May 2014, 7:07 pm

How are you actually feeling about the diagnosis?

Could I suggest you start reading (if you already haven't started). Tony Attwood's "Complete Guide to.." was helpful to me as a first book - it's very comprehensive and provided an overview that I found helpful - and not as patronising as some of the "all about" books are. There's a lot to assimilate and adjust to; it took me about a year and a half to basically come to terms with discovering my AD status.

There's no way of knowing how any of your children will turn out. Whether you are on the spectrum or not. And are percentages that helpful really? Even if it was only say 0.5% heritable, your child might be in that 0.5%.

How did you consider people on the spectrum before you knew that you were on it?



Kiwi_Oli
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03 May 2014, 10:05 pm

Thanks everyone for all the prompt responses. You've given me a lot to think about.

Tarantella64 - The main prompt for the diagnosis came from an off the cuff comment my wife made one day. "It's like being married to July" referring to an aspergers friend of ours (further along the specturm). I couldn't shake the thought so I found some "do I have aspergers tests" online and did them without reading about the symptoms so I wouldn't have a cognitve bias.

Every test said I was "mildly aspergers" so I read up on it and then booked myself in with the GP. The GP agreed (she works with a number of aspergers patients) and I'm off to see a psych on Friday through my workplace Employee Assistance Programme.

Also - One of my favourite poems is Tarantell by Hilaire Belloc.

B19 - I'm still processing a lot of mixed feelings about the diagnosis. We haven't told anyone yet and I'm pretty reluctant at the moment because I don't want people to treat me diferently. For the most part I like my life. I'm an ambitious guy with a future in front of me. Opportunities are opening up at work and I keep getting shoulder-tapped for challenging roles. I don't want to miss out on anything career wise because of people thinking diferently about the "aspie guy".

It's really impacting on how I view myself; I keep thinking "but I'm a smart guy with a wife and friends. I'm not Sheldon Cooper". I've always been a bit "weird", that's never bothered me. My Mum has often said I'm just the latest eccentric in a long line on my father's side of the family. I know my Great-Grand Father was renowned for boring visitors with talks about pastoral farming in Canterbury and his father was a partner in a law firm that had to reorganise some things around his "habits".

As for how I felt about people on the spectrum. I had only ever met one person on the specturm (that I know of) and I had always liked her. I never understood why other people found her dificult. I met her through my wife and their circle of friends frequently commented about how easily I got on with her. Beyond that I had never stopped to think about the spectrum and how I feel about people on it. How I feel about the Gibraltar Question is another matter altogether.

Tarantella64 and Screen Name - I'm interested in what you guys were saying about the onechild who never quite "makes it". I'm the youngest of four children (two brothers and a sister). I'm the only one who wasn't in a 1st sports team at school, I have the worst handwriting, the smallest circle of friends and the lowest pay. I am lucky to have found a career (risk management) where Aspergers traits sit really well with the nature of the work.



tarantella64
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06 May 2014, 9:19 am

:) oddly enough risk was my first choice of career. Then one day we had a new finance professor and he told us his story: he'd done risk analysis for a major bank. "And then," he said, smiling brightly, "I told them they should lend money to Guatemala." Not a bad second career for him, though.

If the only problem's that you're a bit odd and inclined to run off at the mouth, then so long as you're not driving the people around you crazy I don't see that it's worth bothering much with, except that it allows you to notice better when the problem really is you, not someone else's unreason. And it allows you to steer against the current when necessary because you're aware that there's a current in the first place -- and if your son winds up having AS-related problems, you'll be in a better and more knowledgeable position to help. But "most recent in a long line of eccentrics" doesn't seem an unreasonable thing to live with. And yes, people will order things around you if you're valuable in an organisation. (I'm still in pajamas at 9 am, for instance, because less than a year into federal science grantwriting I've helped drag home $2.5 million in grants for an ailing research program. And in this discipline that's money.)

I don't know what the disability/medical-records laws are like in NZ, but I think if I were you I should keep any official diagnosis quiet and as far off the record as possible for exactly the reasons you mention. Though I'd guess that you're fairly easily spotted; it's just that the people who notice so far don't care. My guess is, too, that your own view of what it means will grow deeper and more complex with time.

About the poem: you've reminded me to reread it. It is a very good poem, isn't it? Better than that sourmouthed Robert Frost on the same theme. And I found something else, too -- thanks to the wonders of the internet, there's (what must be a very elderly) Miranda Mackintosh explaining that she isn't the Miranda in the poem, as is widely surmised online.