Your child has Aspergers, any parent who has received a diagnostic label for their child will relate. The day your child received a diagnosis will be frozen in a permalink of memory banks for eternity. I recall Wanting to inhale information on the topic. I initially focused on the diagnosis and symptoms. My goal was to re-mediate developmental and cognitive deficits connected to my sons diagnosis.
I was blessed to have a friend who’s son was diagnosed with A.D.H.D. and Aspergers as a child. I was a newbie at learning disabilities attempting to help my young son. My friend’s son was an adult. Her wisdom and experience was invaluable to me.
Upon discussing my challenges as a parent of a newly diagnosed child, my friend shared her seasoned wisdom with me. She told me that I would be inclined to read every book that related to Aspergers Syndrome and scour every article that I could find on the topic.
My friend stated, “Look, your son is not terminally ill, he has a learning disability. It is not the end of the world. He will succeed with your support, love and belief in him” And success will occur, merely on the child’s terms and time-table, not ours. Success will be defined by their individual terms as well, not the defined parameters for success by the neurotypical society at large.
My friend was correct. She then told me to forget about the books ,searching the information highway and enjoy my son for who he was. She told me not to ever focus on his diagnosis. My child was the same person he had been before he received a diagnostic level. Just like neurotypically developing children, he had his individualized personality and quirks that everyone else in society has. My friend emphatically encouraged me to focus not only on deficits but his strength’s that were already present as well. This was the best advice that I ever received.
For sure, diagnostic labels are important. A diagnosis allows an individual to receive services that address their specific needs, identify what modalities the child learns with and where deficits occur that warrant support. i.e. some children learn through auditory (hearing) yet struggle with learning through visual (seeing) modalities. Some children struggle with receptive (taking in words) speech, yet struggle with expressive (speaking and descriptive) speech patterns.
A diagnosis definitely is important. However, we must be careful to use the diagnosis for relating and reaching the child not to handicap them. A child may have learning challenges, yet through therapeutic support can learn compensatory (compensating for areas where the child may have challenges) strategies that help them achieve goals and milestones through taking advantage of their strength’s and modifying learning strategies.
Individuals with Aspergers merely learn compensatory strategies as they grow and silently struggle daily with their difficulty communicating, working with, and living with the neurotypical population. Aspergerers is a neurological disorder which effects many aspects of their daily lives. Because they tend to have normal to above normal I.Q.s, society perceives them as merely quirky loners. My experiences and opinions conveyed in this article are not internet and research related. They are resultant from bringing up a son who lives with Aspergers daily.
Johnny may have Aspergers Syndrome but his name is NOT Aspergers, it is Johnny.
Aspergers is not outgrown, nor curable. Why would we want to cure them anyway. Aspergers is not a disease and Aspergians do not need to be fixed. They are the analytical thinkers of our world, inventors, engineers, scientists, actors, mathematician’s, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, and children. We can thank Aspergians for many great contributions in the world.
Some of the individuals thought to have or have been confirmed with Aspergers or high functioning autism are:
The world-renowned Temple Grandin: An author of many books that have expanded and awakened the world’s knowledge and acceptance of autism. She is also a food handling systems designer, and much much more. Miss Grandin has given the autism community a great deal of respect and reduced the stigma associated to the autism spectrum through her candor regarding her life and public presence as a professional
James Durbin: American idol contestant He brings us the gift of music through his wonderful voice
Bill Gates: Founder of Microsoft whose gift for technology brought us Microsoft. FYI without Mr. Gates wonderful development of Microsoft we would not be interacting with the world through in a literal millisecond via electronic communication.
Thomas Edison: He was the forefather of inventing the light-bulb, phonograph, and motion pictures.
Albert Einstein: His theory of relativity unlocked the mysteries of the world and set fort a path of exploration for future scientists.
John Elder Robison: Author of many books such as “Look Me In The Eye” Through his brave willingness to publicly tell his story from childhood to adulthood, he became a role model for other individuals on the spectrum. He exemplifies the ideology that yes; Aspergians strive for and do experience success within society.
Dan Akeroyd: He is brought a gift of humor and entertainment into many lives at times when they did not think they could laugh.
Holly Peete, and Toni Braxton: Just to name a few stars who have become awesome advocates for the autism community as a result of having children on the spectrum. They are perhaps the most humble and grounded public personalities in the entertainment business. Hence, my comment earlier that we can learn as much if not more from our children on the spectrum than they learn from us.
Last but not least, an individual with Aspergers that is my hero and famous in my eyes. My young adult, determined, creative, electronics whiz son. He will always be a celebrity in my eyes:-0)
I could ramble on in regards to all the wonderful people who have Aspergers or are assumed to have it but would end up with a novel here. I believe I have made my point and you the reader get the idea.
I leave you with a thought to ponder. If Thomas Edison had been “cured” or shall I say “fixed” according to societal expectations we would be living in darkness, we would not have music cd’s which he paved the way for with the invention of the phonograph. We would not have movies on demand which were born from his interest in developing motion pictures. Without Bill Gates our ability to communicate thoughts via electronic technology would be minimal or nil.
Without the Holly Peetes and Toni Braxton’s of the world who use their fame within a positive venue to better the world for the autism community due to their wonderful children, awareness Autism awareness would be minimal. John Elder Robison breeds acceptance and takes away stigma through his wonderful books and public speaking. Without Dan Akroyds gift of humor, the world would be a sadder place.
James Durbin’s voice can light up a room. Without crooners like him we would miss the gift of music. Without the Temple Grandins of the world we would miss out on an exemplary human being and role model who not only spreads awareness and knowledge of the autism community but spreads knowledge for the neurotypicals who work and play side by side with these fine individuals. Heck, with out Aspergians, Silicon Vally would be the equivalent of a ghost town, we would not have social media such as Facebook and there is a high likely hood that an Aspergian was involved in development of this computer that I presently pen my blog on.
The Aspergian child who over focuses when young will turn that into perseverance towards inventing or fine tuning better ways of existence as an adult. The child who demolishes and corrupts your computer as a child resultant from their incessant drive to tinker, dismantle things, and put them together again will turn into our great thinkers. i.e. mathematicians, scientists, architects’, and research scientists.
The old phrase, “One cannot tell a book by it’s cover” is an appropriate analogy here. I can equate their issues with a cast. When one sees an individual with a cast, they know that individual has a broken bone. In regards to Aspergers, these individuals look like functioning neurotypicals on the exterior. I will now explain that is not the case.
The stubborn child will turn into the adult who perseveres and problem solves until they come up with answers and never take know for one when trouble shooting. The child who obsessively collects one item i.e. fans, dinosaurs, radios, baseball cards, will turn into the adult that uses their wonderful analytical mind to make sense of things like equations, cell mutations in cancer through a microscope, and more.
Some Aspergians will struggle with math due to processing difficulties yet flourish in reading and vice versa. News flash – No not all Aspergians are mathematicians and engineers. Although they unfortunately get type casted do to the heuristics of society. Their talents and deficits are as individualized as neurotypicals.
Focus on what a gift your children are. Embrace their individuality. Do not typecast them into a conjured belief system regarding the strides they will make. No one has a crystal ball – professionals or otherwise that can predict an outcome for children as adults. Believe in them as the kids will believe in you. Remember the self fulfillment prophecy. Children will become what is expected otf them whether negative or positive.
Identify and embrace your child’s gifts. Observe the whole child, not merely segments of their character. The goal is to help children hone their individual gifts and turn those talents into a productive skill – set that will ensure that they experience the taste of sweet success and positive self efficacy as adults. Challenge children and be their strength when they do not realize it is there.
1) Teach your child self-help skills. Do not enable them by doing for them what they can learn to do for themselves with the right support.
2) Identify your child’s talents. Seek out specialized group oriented programs that will reinforce their talents. All children benefit from belonging to groups with similar minded children in attendance. It gives them a sense of belonging and hones social skills.
Search programs that address your child’s deficiencies yet challenge them at the same time. A good place to research is http://www.autism-society.org/
Autism Society of America
Asperger syndrome behavior and signs of aspergers in children and adults. … successful life as a productive member of society … with the information, tips and …
# The primary mission of ASAF is to raise and allocate funds to address the many unanswered questions about autism. ASAF sponsors work as diverse as the …
Your child may have Aspergers, they are still part of a familial group. Balance their needs with the rest of family members. Giving them special treatment will not prepare them to venture out into the world as adults. Special treatment will merely be resultant in a grandiose mindset where they will have difficulty with adult challenges and demands and delayed gratification. Remember, the baby bird’s mother kicks it out of the nest when it is time to fly.
The baby bird does not realize it can fly until it is in mid-air, spreads it wings and moves on. This analogy is similar with children. We must always parent with the ultimate goal of jettisoning our children towards the adult world they will all eventually join.
In closing, and as a parent of an adult son, a young man who incites my passion for children on the autism spectrum and is my hero with Aspergers (And no, he is not my ASPIE son. He is simply my son with Aspergers) I wish to remind parents that it does get better and yes many children on the Aspergers spectrum will grow up to be successful. You will find that some of the behaviors which are irritating in children with Aspergers will prove to be their golden road to opportunity as adults.
The reader will note that I have used the term Aspergers Syndrome throughout my article. I am cognizant of the fact that DSMV has swallowed Aspergers into an umbrella term of Autism Spectrum Disorder. I will continue to use the term Aspergers. I believe an umbrella term is beneficial in terms of assisting an individual with more services. However, the spectrum is large and varied. Hence the reason it is called a spectrum. To lump all on the spectrum together would be akin with placing a blind child and a deaf child under an umbrella term that I might call sensory disability. Both have issues with senses yet one would not provide the same therapeutic treatment plan for the blind child and deaf child. Their plans would obviously need to be narrowed down according to their specific disabilities in order to assist them. This is merely my opinion.
I am a published author and focus on books pertaining to autism and Aspergers Syndrome. I have had special needs articles published in several magazines. I have been interviewed several times in print, on pod casts, and internet T.V. regarding the autism spectrum. I have presented autism workshops to staff, management teams, and parent groups. I offer tips on curriculum development and behavior modification within the classroom and through in-services. I am certified by the Department of Early Childhood Education as a lead preschool teacher, an infant and toddler teacher, and site coordinator qualified to manage school age programs. I have recently ventured into public speaking engagements to educate both parents and educators on autism and Aspergers Syndrome
I want my experiences and challenges to be used productively as a learning tool for other parents and for educators as well. When my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s a decade ago it was a foreign word among many parents and professionals alike. I fought for help never giving up. Through my books I wish to help parents feel like they do not walk in the dark, that they are not alone, empower them and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I also want to educate society at large on the topic of the autism spectrum. I believe all parties involved need to work as a collaborative team in order to insure a special needs child’s Amazon.com at Mari Nosal : Please stop by my site at Amazon Books and check out my published books on autism aspergers special needs and more you like my articles, aside from being the parent of an adult with Aspergers Syndrome/ A.D.D and an educational professional, I am also a published author of many special needs and autism related books written to inspire and support parents, families, educators and society at large as well. Please stop by and check out my books on http://tinyurl.com/kdspqy9
Mari Nosal M.Ed.