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Secrets to Living With Asperger's

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Posted on : 12:29 PM | By : Nic | In :

Also on my Sunday morning wanderings (I visit at least 400-600 webpages a DAY - but not for very long, lol), I came across the blog Aspergerteen. This also led me to an article by CNN's asperger manager about what it's like, and a post on Aspergerteen on what their secret is.  Originally, I titled this post '...Dealing With Asperger's' but we're not dealing with it.  We're learning to live with it.  Dealing is a bad attitude.  So here's my secrets.


1.  Professional help is difficult to get, even in places that it's free.  Because there is no 'cure' and therapy is expensive for the system, unless your child is severely non-functioning, the professional approach is often to pass it off as inadequate parenting in order to save money.  Notice I said inadequate - they know it's not you, they just will tell you that you need more tools to handle it.  Basically they will 'blame' you, even knowing that it's not your fault.  The truth is that no one really understands autism and Asperger's except for the people who have it and their parents (and them only marginally so).  Secret #1: Only you know your child.

2.  Because you are the only one who knows your child, you will know whether or not he/she has autism or Asperger's.  If you are a parent with a high-need child you may sometimes wonder if your child fits the bill, but with the internet having so much information and videos on YouTube, it has become much easier to truly know by comparison whether or not your child does indeed fit the criteria (caution: your child needs to fit most of the criteria for you to be able to do this).  If you have doubts that they are not, then they probably aren't.  Secret #2: Read every book, every website, and watch every YouTube and Vimeo video, find people who have diagnosed children with autism and ally yourself with them.  

3. Don't compare your 'normal' kid to your autistic kid.  This is easy to do, and sometimes it can even be useful in validating to yourself that you really are a good parent and it's not you.  Sometimes it can be useful in showing professionals that you actually have good parenting skills.  But don't compare your child in that one child is 'normal' and one isn't, or in how you give your children approval.  One child functions differently and has more difficulty, but there really isn't such a thing as a 'normal' child.  There are unique children, and some children have sensitivities and different needs.  Feel good that God gave this child to you knowing that you were the only one who could give them what they needed.

4. It's ok to use trial and error.  Often times, it's a guessing game.  I remember when my second child was born saying how parenting is a big guessing game, and my (assistant) midwife was very shocked. "Aren't you sure of what you are doing?"  I felt inadequate after that... but now that Autumn is older I know what she means.  With most children you can be pretty sure what their needs are, but with autism it's a huge learning curve that takes years and years of trial and error.  Each autistic child is different and while you can know what to expect, how to teach that child how to function with these issues is a completely unique experience.

5.  There isn't a 'cure', but your child can learn how to live without tantrums and deal with their sensitivities, making your life easier.  If your child can't hug you, find strategies to introduce gentle touch into their life and initiate this every day.  Find ways to make eye contact, ignore tantrums when they get dressed or have to change a routine - but make them do it anyway. I disagree with parents who bend over backwards to accommodate a child who screams about a shirt tag.  Yes, find shirts without tags.  But make them get dressed, and expect them to do it on their own, and never yell back.  They have to learn to do these basic skills, and it just takes them longer.

6. For heaven's sake, read The Continuum Concept.  A child who can't stand touch even as a baby is only desperately in more need of more touch.  A child who can't seem take responsibility for simple things like getting dressed is desperately in need of a feeling of empowerment which comes from taking responsibility of something in their life.  A child who can't stand different sounds needs quiet sometimes, but is in desperate need of a community of people to find examples from and to learn to deal with noise from.  

7.  Deal with stress in a healthy way. Having a child who saps all your energy with constant needs can stress a whole family out.  It is ok to send the child to an understanding friend's house and take some time to yourself.  It is ok to have a bedtime and expect your child to stay in bed so that you can have some quiet time to de-stress.  Taking care of yourself directly effects the outcome of your day, because your child is super sensitive to your mood.  They will react directly to how tired you are and pick up any frustration that you have.

Finally, enjoy the fun moments.  Your child probably says eccentric things and does quirky things that are so unique.  This is what autism and Asperger's are all about.  These children DO have a sense of humour, it's just different.  They have an intelligence about certain things that is far beyond what most people have.  Find the good, and rather than seeking a cure, seek a balance. :)

Comments (1)

I love your last point. I enjoyed reading your post, thank you.