Aspergers - Living With An Aspergers Syndrome Child

From birth to 12 years

Raising our wonderful son John wasn't an easy task, especially for a first time mother. We lived on a farm a fair distance from town and I didn't know many people at first.

John had a difficult birth, he was eight days late (in summer) and then decided to arrive in a rush. From first contraction to birth was approximately three hours and I was having two minute contractions on the 25km trip to hospital. He voided just before birth and needed his mouth and airways cleared so it was fairly scary waiting for that first cry.

As John had low blood sugar he was transferred to a major hospital for more intensive care. His poor tiny feet were pricked every two hours to test his blood sugar and after a while, when they squeezed to get the drop of blood, all the other pricks would ooze too. Horrible for John and terrible thing for me to watch.

He walked at 12 months and started talking at about the right time, however we didn't realise that we were the only ones who could understand him. At playgroup he always stayed by himself or with his only friend Bobby, never joining in with group activities. The clinic sister was the one who picked up on John's speech difficulties when I started taking his baby sister for her weekly check-ups.

We did 12 months of speech therapy which helped enormously though he had no idea of how to sequence picture card stories. He has always been very intelligent with a vocabulary way above his chronological age so this inability to sequence stories was a mystery.

I wasn't too worried that he didn't join in at playgroup. Living on a farm meant we didn't have too many visitors with young children for him to learn to interact with.

Pre-primay was good for him. I even enrolled him in 4 year old pre-primary as intellectually he was ready and he needed that interaction with his peers. He loved pre-primary and seemed to blossom.

However, when he started year one, the same children he had gone to playgroup and pre-primary with turned on him and started teasing and bullying him. We were at a loss to explain this and unfortunately the school had no bullying policy at that time. Our requests for action fell on deaf ears and I spent nearly every afternoon after school calming John down, telling him that perhaps Sean had a fight with his sister and took it out on John, or maybe Jason was upset beause his parents were fighting and Melissa didn't like any boys, not just him.

We couldn't take him out of school as there was only one school in town and home schooling was barely in its infancy then. He managed to survive primary school (not without physical and huge mental scars) but with a lot of love and encouragement from us and his one friend, he did graduate.

We shifted to a different country town in time for John to start year 7. We mainly wanted access to a 5 year high school so he wouldn't have to go to boarding school, and we also wanted to be closer to a greater range of medical facilites. By this time we realised he had some sort of major problem, but the psychiatrists and psychologists we had seen in our nearest major centre were mystified. This move to a new town was a huge deal for us. My husband and children had been born there and the family had been farming on our property for nearly 60 years. We still have extended family farming there.

However, when it came to what was going to be best for John, it was no contest and we've never looked back. Sure, there were problems, especially with our 8 year old daughter Nicole who was leaving all her friends, but we got through that.

John still had problems in his new school, he had lost his only friend and had trouble making new ones, as did our daughter. The only friends they did make were the ones who's parents had bought up with old fashioned values - being kind, being helpful to someone less fortunate, respect for someone different, being genuine in what they said or did. Unfortunately there were very few children like that in the new school and a lot of what I consider the 'skin deep only' ones who change friends on a daily or weekly basis and don't care who they hurt.

Through a friend in our new town, we were finally able to get an accurate diagnosis of John's problem - Aspergers Syndrome. It fit him to a tee. The diagnosis could have been written about John - everything was there. I cried buckets when the diagnosis came, tears of sadness that my beautiful boy was 'handicapped', that there was not a cure for Aspergers Syndrome, but there were also tears of relief as now we had something to work with, some way of learning how to help him. I remember my mother asking me if I wanted John to 'be labelled' for the rest of his life. My answer was that if I didn't know what the problem was, I couldn't help him in any way.

It has taken a lot of love, patience, understanding, research and sheer hard work to get John to where he is now but I wouldn't trade any of it for a so-called 'normal' child. I do wish I could have shielded him more at primary school, but back then the options were limited and I now know that those hard years have given him resiliance, much more than his 'skin deep' peers might have developed.

Aspergers, the teen years

High school was not going to be easy for John. This is a time when students are asked to become more responsible for themselves, to move from classroom to classroom, subject to subject. And they are expected to be prepared for that subject with the correct books and any other necessary equipment. Planning ahead is not something that Aspergers children do well and John was unable to do this. He could not remember or work out which books he needed to take or which room to go to. Which made him frequently unprepared and late for class, something which disrupted the others and didn't endear him to his teachers or peers.

Time management is another skill that takes a long time to acquire (I'm not sure Aspergers people ever do). Therefore, John would always do the fun things before the work related or harder stuff. If I had a dollar for every time I've said "Do the things you have to do before the things you want to do" I'd have plenty put away for a rainy day. I'm sure most teenagers are like that but with John, it is something that needed reinforcing on a daily basis.

John was bullied and teased very badly at school and after his formal diagnosis, we were advised by his psychologist to remove him immediately and to teach him at home. This entailed getting permission from the relevant government departments to take him out of mainstream school and into Distance Education.

John's work was sent to him each week and I was responsible for making sure he did it, helping him where necessary. John had a direct line to ring his teachers if he was stuck on anything and they would ring him at least weekly to check on his progress. Completed work had to be posted back to them for marking.

Even though I am a trained teacher, teaching John at home put considerable strain on our relationship. He had trouble distinguishing between the ‘mother' relationship and the ‘teacher' relationship and that they were different. It was necessary for me to be very strict with John during ‘school hours' to make sure his work was done. This was not the way we'd brought our children up, we'd always used love and encouragement and friendship rather than strict rules. John didn't like the ‘strict mother' and rebelled which made it doubly hard for me. On the one hand I was trying to let him have some independence and acknowledge the fact that he was a teenager in high school, but it was still necessary to keep a very close eye on him to make sure he was working. Once ‘school time' was over I would need to give John a lot of extra ‘mom' time to make up for the strictness.

John's sister Nicole wasn't happy with the arrangement either. From her point of view John was getting all the attention while she got very little. He had me to himself all day while she had to sit on a hot bus to and from school and she still had to share me with him when she got home and to her nine year old mind it wasn't fair. I don't blame her for thinking that, it wasn't an ideal situation.

By second year high school, we had managed to find a wonderful Christian school for John with caring teachers and staff. It was down in the city but we were able to find home accommodation with a compassionate family and he came home each weekend. He blossomed at this school. The children were of a completely different mindset to what he had had at his previous school. They accepted him with his Aspergers and made him part of their larger ‘family'.

Unfortunately for John though, the mother where he was staying became ill and couldn't keep John there any longer. We were able to get him accommodation with another family but that was only short term as the travelling conditions were too confusing for him - he needed to catch a bus, a train and then another bus to get to school. We ended up bringing him home and re-enrolling him in his previous school till we could work something else out.

It was a surprise to find that the children who had teased and bullied him eighteen months previously had matured and grown out of that sort of behavior. He was able to finish junior high living at home.

We re-enrolled him at the Christian school for senior high and he was able to get transport to and from school each day. It made for a long day for him having to leave at 6.30am and get home at 7pm but the advantages of him being at that school far outweighed the disadvantages.

Senior high was a wonderful time for John as the school had a ‘big band' and this rekindled John's love of music. He taught himself to play trumpet and played in all band productions, even going on tour with them to rural areas. He also started playing the piano again, something he had done extremely well as a young child. We hadn't been able to find a music teacher in our new town but with John's love of music now giving him so much enjoyment, we were able to find one in the next town. Music became John's life.

Aspects of Aspergers

We've had some interesting times with John. When he was aged about 8 or 9 he would twist his fingers. I'm not sure how he managed to get them into the shapes he did without injuring himself, but he'd just keep twisting these fantastic shapes. This was cured over many months by just saying quietly 'John, fingers'. Eventually he slowed down the twisting then stopped it completely but soon replaced it with grinding his teeth. Again, it was 'John, teeth'. It got awfully hard at times to keep the voice quiet and calm when we'd hear this grating sound every couple of minutes.

As one 'twitch' was eliminated, another would take its place. There was fork twisting and juggling (how did he get through that without losing an eye), collecting old bones from around the farm and keeping them in his room and my least favourite of all, flapping. Thank goodness that one was stopped in its tracks immediately when I showed him how he looked in the mirror. He had enough troubles as school without adding flapping his arms to the mix.

We've also had frustrating times such as when we'd taken the kids somewhere special and John couldn't understand when it was time to leave. He was having fun and didn't understand that the aquarium (or shop or museum or whatever) was about to close. I'd nearly be in tears listening to him go on and on about wanting to stay. Patience might be a virtue but at times it's pretty hard to be virtuous. One day, out of the blue, it just 'clicked' for him and there were no more problems, just a 'thank you for taking me there, it was fun'. I don't know what trigger went off in his brain but I wished I knew where the switch was.

A brief explanation of Aspergers Syndrome and Autism

Before I go any further with John's story, I thought it might be interesting and informative to describe some of the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome and how they differ from Autism.

Aspergers children will have speech though it may be delayed and somewhat garbled. They can be loving children when with their family but not really willing to join in with their peers, especially at a young age. Toilet training can be delayed significantly. As they grow and mature, they want to interact with children of their own age group but lack the ‘social niceties' and understanding of the ‘rules' of social behaviour. They may inadvertently invade another's space, as they don't understand that concept. Communication is awkward, as they don't have the understanding of how to behave. Once they start reading they are often insatiable readers, jumping far ahead of their chronological reading age. Comprehension can be poor, as they prefer to read the ‘exciting' bits - the conversations and actions, and skip over the ‘boring' descriptive passages. Many have favourite books, rereading them almost obsessively.

Quite often Asperger children will be more comfortable around adults as their language skills are such that they can converse with them easily. Their peers may have greater social skills but lack the advanced vocabulary. Also, the Asperger child may see adults as ‘safe', just like his parents and adults are much more likely to be forgiving of differences than children are. Asperger children tend to be very formal in their interaction with others, regardless of age.

Asperger children can also have very high IQ's and do well with maths, music and science. Many are gifted in one or more specialised areas. I think people would be surprised at the number of Asperger adults who play concert performance music, are scientists, mathematicians or other professions requiring high intelligence. The fact that many of these professions are ones where a person works or spends most of his time alone is perfect for the Asperger adult who doesn't have to worry about too much social interaction.

As stated earlier, many do extremely well with maths until they start learning abstract concepts such as algebra. Abstract concepts are beyond most Aspergers children. They are very concrete in their thinking and way of seeing the world. So concrete that if you ask them to hold on for a minute, they might ask ‘hold on to what' and ‘can I let it go now'. One child, when told his father couldn't talk properly as he had a frog in his throat asked to see the frog. Another was told to hold his tongue for a minute while someone else talked, and he did - hold his tongue.

Unfortunately many Aspergers Syndrome children get hit with a double whammy of having ADHD as well. This makes life very difficult for all concerned - the child, the parents and siblings, teachers and others in the class. It then becomes a very hard decision for the parents as to whether they put their child on medication or not.

The purely autistic child however, will often not have any verbal skills at all. He is completely withdrawn into his own world and doesn't perceive people as any different to pets who also move or furniture which just doesn't move. There is also very little eye contact. Often autistic children will spend hours rocking - it seems to soothe them. Some parents are trying to enter their child's world by joining him in his self stimulating activity - rocking, flapping arms, and running around. This ‘joining' is another method of bonding with someone who is totally withdrawn.

Autistic children need a lot of intense, specialized, preferably one-on-one care and training whereas Asperger sufferers may show improvement by working in very small groups. The training is still intense and specialised but by working in small groups, the trainers are helping them to socialize.

Regrettably there is no cure for autism or Aspergers Syndrome but great advances have been made in the teaching and ‘bringing out' of these children. A final cruel irony is that neither condition is visibly noticeable, so the unsuspecting public has no visual clues regarding their disability.

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Comments 43 comments

David 8 years ago

Amazing contribution Kathy....Wow!!

I have never heard of this condition before but have certaintly learned something about this subject from your hub.

You have certainly been through more than many. And I am sure your patience has had to go through lots of adjustments dealing with someone you love so much.

I so enjoyed it. Well written and I read every word.

Cheers

David


Sonji profile image

Sonji 8 years ago

Kathy what a powerful story.

My son has ADHD so I know what it's like to have a child who is misunderstood and doesn't seem to quite fit in.

Keep on writing and help others who may share the same experience.


roger one profile image

roger one 8 years ago

Kathy that is quite a story and a ton of great info, thank you.


want2know 8 years ago

Thanks for shareing what Aspergers is, as now maybe people will know that maybe that kid at the zoo, store etc. is not being difficult to their parent or situation but maybe..... there could be something else going on, so to hold judgement as you never know say a little blessing for the parent & child.


GaryN 8 years ago

Thank you Kathy to take the time to put your story down in words.

I have a brother who shows all the signs of Aspergers but has never been diagnosed but my wife has pointed out that she thinks he has the condition.

Its great to hear inspiring stories and thank you so much for taking the time to share it with the world.


Ariane 8 years ago

What a wonderful site :) I look forward to reading more...


Julie A. Johnson profile image

Julie A. Johnson 8 years ago from Duluth, MN

My son Jake has aspergers, and school is difficult. I'm dreading the junior high years. It sounds like you lived through the school experience, and I hope all is well. These children are gifts, but they can be hard to handle, too!


micamyx` profile image

micamyx` 8 years ago

I can really feel where you are coming from. I have a brother who has autism and I even made a blog about him. He left for England last February to study there because we want him to improve for the better. Unfortunately, the best SPED schools here in the Philippines are too expensive. My mom is now working there as a caregiver even if she's a chief nurse here in the Philippines. She did it because of my brother. Now, my brother had a lot of improvements. Hope to read more articles from you. God Bless and regard to your family


tammy 8 years ago

at what point do you let this control your life but yet teach your child how to understand and cope with things? my husband and i were going to go through a divorce and we still do not fell as one but how will it affect the child at this point/


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 8 years ago Author

Tammy - each child is different and a lot depends on the age. I hope you and your husband are able to work things out.

Jane


Denise Kline 6 years ago

Wonderful !! Are you sure you were not writing about my son. Thank you !!


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 6 years ago Author

Denise I'm glad it struck a chord and if it helps you somehow, that will be fantastic. I hope you receive the love I receive from John.


rebekah dieso 6 years ago

wow thats so how we feel and we been throu its so encouaging to know as parents and our children are not alone


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 6 years ago Author

Hi Rebekah,

I have just finished an amazing book called House Rules by Jodi Picoult. It is about a boy with Aspergers and is written from his perspective, as well as from his brother and his mother. There are other people involved as well but Jodi has researched this subject extensively and I thought she was writing about John and us. My daughter was moved to tears as it captured exactly how she felt having an asperger brother. I have provided a link (above) to the book at Amazon and I thoroughly recommend reading it.

Jane


Chari 6 years ago

I had a tearly eye when Im reading your story I hope someday I could also share this kind of story to others, inspired them and help them in my own little ways like what you did to me:) I have a 5 year old daughter just recently diagnosed of Asperger's syndrome. I was devastated at first even my husband is still in the denial stage up to now. Im doing some research about asperger's syndrome that could help me and my daugther to our day to day activity. She will start with her OT and Im hoping I could see some improvements. We love her and we will do anything for her.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 6 years ago Author

Chari - we all shed tears and go into denial for a while when we get this sort of diagnosis.

There is so much online to help you these days. Read, learn and try to understand. As parents, that's all that we can do.

I wish you luck with your daughter. You are lucky in that you have the diagnosis at an early age. This will make a huge difference.

Jane


Deon Louw 6 years ago

Life with an Aspie child, has been rough but with a Aspie teenager is almost unbearable. We have gone from homeschool, to private school, to public school, to home bound for his education. He has been hospitalized and has spend months in institutions far away from home. After years of seeking help and resources to help us, we finally have help, but the damage is done. My son has so many emotional scars that he is now not only battling AS but lots of other mental health issues that came from trying to fit into our world. My faith in God and supporting family and friends give me the strength to face the future and cope with every day's challenges. Without Him I would never have been able to do this.


msburgman profile image

msburgman 6 years ago from Williston, Florida

Thank you for sharing John's Story. As a parent of an autistic child I can appreciate all you went through. You are quite right,these children often teach us things we could not have learned any other way!


Ilka 6 years ago

My Aspie husband found a way to manage his time, it is called "Getting things done". It is a methodology for time management. He says that is something every Aspie should learn. For the first time in his life he is on top of things. Maybe you would like to read about it.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 6 years ago Author

Hi Ilka

I use GTD myself and love it. I use it in conjunction with a software program called Achieve Productivity Suite. I've tried getting my husband to at least write things down and this is an ongoing project. I'll show him your comment - it might prod him.

Jane


CMCastro profile image

CMCastro 6 years ago from Baltimore,MD USA

Hi, Being a Special Needs Nurse where I have worked in the home and in the classroom gives me great interest in learning about your son. I am glad you did so well holding together and accepting the challenges you faced with him. There are even individuals I know personally that may have symptoms of Aspergers and it isn't even diagnosed by a physician. I have always thought that there are people who are Autistic and don't even know it. I look forward to reading more of your hubs.:)


joy 6 years ago

Thankyou for sharing.

I have an almost 5yr old son who is about t start school, and I am undecided over whether or not I should get him tested. I find him seriously challenging at times (a lot more diffciult than his little sister, who has shown me that tantrums are nothing compared to his meltdowns), and a few people have mentioned aspergers to me. I didn't want to get him tested due to the "labelling" and thought that if he is not severe, what help would a label be, but instead cause kids to be cruel to him and people to discriminate against him as he goes through life. I understand the need to know so you can fix it though, and thought that perhaps if I found ways to treat him as if he ha aspergers then that would be enough. However in my net searches, the most info I can find is just the stuff that cements in my mind that he has it, descriptions that suit him perfectly. As his baby sister (21m) grows, she too is showing me that his behaviour is not "normal" and his kidnergarten year has already exposed him to bullying.

Reading your hub has helped to make me rethink my decision and see if I can have him tested (if I can get around my husband who doesn't want it done) as it may be easier for him going through school if teachers are aware of his condition, rather than me keeping things to myself and working out how best to deal with him at home.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 6 years ago Author

Joy, only you can make these decisions if your husband doesn't want to know about it. I can say it will definitely make a difference with his schooling if his teachers know that he is 'different' and not just absent-minded or messy or disruptive. It's not a label, it is essential knowledge for them.

Some husbands recognise themselves in their aspergers children and have trouble dealing with this. Treat him gently too as he might be wondering if he has passed his 'undiagnosed' aspergers to his son.

Jane


Karen Medlin 5 years ago

Thank You for sharing your story. We are raising our 16 year old grandson with Aspergers. We have had quite a few up and downs with the transition to Jr High and High School. He has a great school system that accommodates any of his needs. The High School is slowly pulling back to help him make decisions for himself. He is very lucky to have some very close friends. With therapy he has progressed a long way. He just recently earned his Boy Scout Eagle Award.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 5 years ago Author

I wish you luck with your grandson Karen. Finding a supportive school is so important. You will face some extra challenges as he goes through puberty as this seems to be more difficult for aspies to understand. They don't like losing control of their bodies. Congratulations on what you are doing.

Jane


Melissa 5 years ago

My son has Asperger's Syndrome and I have read just about everything about it. However, no where did I read where a child with this disease will swear 4 letter words and tell me to go to hell each morning I would say Good Morning. There are many times he will say FU Bitch.

Can anyone here tell me if your Aspie's kids do this to you too or is there an underlying issue he has that needs to brought forth.

Thanks you from a desparate son.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 5 years ago Author

Melissa I don't know that swearing is a problem caused by Aspergers. You don't say how old your son is but uncontrolled swearing could be Tourettes Syndrome. If Tourettes has been ruled out, it could be that your son is picking up these words from school or from videos/video games/tv.

If your son is young (up to 8 or 9 years old) I would just gently tell him that those words are not used in your home. If he is older, you can tell him to mind his language unless he wants his mouth washed out with soap (or whatever consequence you decide on). However if you threaten any action, you must follow through on it as he will test you. I only had to wash my son's mouth with soap a couple of times before he stopped calling me names. At no time did I make it a punishment, it was more of 'if you say that, this is what will happen'. When he said it again to test me, I just took him to the bathroom and handed him the soap. Once he realized I meant what I'd said, he stopped the unwanted action.

Until he is a young adult you will need to monitor what he watches (tv/movies/videos) and the video games he plays as this is where kids pick up a lot of unwanted behaviors.

I hope this helps.

Jane


Barb 5 years ago

My son is having trouble with Algebra, after always excelling in math. What works?


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 5 years ago Author

Hi Barb,

This is very common with aspies. Math is 'concrete' - he can see the logic there and even use aids such as counters or similar to get the answer. Algebra is 'conceptual' - he cannot 'see' the logic. Therefore he has trouble.

Jane


Teresa Tassone 4 years ago

Your story has brought a tear to my eyes. My 9 year old son has aspergers along with ADHD & ODD. Your story has given me strength in knowing we arnt alone. I am finding the biggest challenge at the moment is all the social issues. He just doesn't fit in im not sure if he ever will. He loves being with older people because he tells me its easy. My biggest fear is highschool. Thankyou


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

Theresa, just keep loving him and accepting him. That is the most important thing. Learn how to help him to make his life as easy as possible. I'm not saying do things for him, learn how to help him so he can learn what to do.

Yes high school is difficult as they start working with abstract concepts such as algebra and Aspies cannot understand abstracts. High school also brings puberty, another set of challenges.

Children with Aspergers seem to relate well to adults as adults have the breadth of knowledge to understand the child. Aspies seem to soak up knowledge like a sponge and most other children won't understand what a child with Aspergers is talking about.

John is now an adult and the most wonderful son a mother could wish for. He is gentle, loving, trusting, loves to help others and generous to a fault. He would happily give you his last cent. He is also unbelievably untidy, disorganized and prone to leaving his wallet in shops. He is my beautiful son and I love him dearly. I couldn't imagine life without him.


susan 4 years ago

I am a mother to 12 naturally born children of the same parents.people would often say to me' how do you do it",a phrase i hated hearing,as obviously we do what we have to, in order to get buy and do what our instincts tell us - and that is to nurture and care for our precious offspring, no matter how straining the situation is until we feel we can rest and the job is done but of course its life long.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

Hi Susan,

I totally agree with you, mothers do what has to be done for our children. This includes loving, feeding, teaching, training, sheltering, nurturing, being a referee, a taxi driver, a nurse, a lending institution and a companion. There are so many other things we mothers just 'do' without even thinking about it. And we do this, without complaint, until the day we are no longer here.

I wish you joy with your family.


Jennie 4 years ago

I read the book House Rules and it's a GREAT book. My son has ADHD and I always felt there was something more. His behavior didn't just match ADHD behavior. Such as...when giving him a shower the water was barley warm and he would say it hurts and that it's still to hot....when I brush his hair it hurts his head...tags need to be cut off of clothing....food has to look the same every time....very picky eater....he loves only plain hamburgers from mcdonalds but if the bun had any indents or smushed he wouldn't eat it...he loves little Debbie chocolate donuts in the four pack...he will not eat any other brand of donuts and it has to be in the packet of four not the bag....he use to et yogurt but now the packaging is different so no more yogurt. To me this didn't seem like ADHD behavior. Then I read the book house rules and that's when I realized I needed to ask his psychiatrist that maybe he has high functioning autism. She said he doesn't that it's just ADHD. Then I went to his phsycologist and she said the same thing just ADHD. I didn't think they were correct and I changed drs and found a child psychiatrist and school did an evaluation and the conclusion and diagnoses is aspergers.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

Hi Jennie,

Good for you to keep going and not take the "expert's" non-diagnosis. Mothers always know when something is not right with their children.

You don't say how old your son is but it sounds as though he (and you) need some help. Speak to your GP about support groups in your area and research Aspergers online.

We didn't have internet when our son was diagnosed and not many people knew what it was. Thankfully there is now a lot of information out there.

The earlier you are able to help your son the better. Simple strategies can include changing his routine by taking him (and your family) on a surprise outing, even if it's just a picnic in the park.

Tony Atwood (http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/) has some excellent advice online as well as many books/articles/dvds you can read or purchase. Tony is one of the leading authorities on Aspergers.

Please, make sure you have time for yourself. You can get so caught up in helping your son that you forget to take care of yourself. If you get burned out or ill you can't help him. Even a warm bath with some candles and soft music can rejuvenate you.


Jennie-Z 4 years ago

Hi Jane

My son is 9 years old and he's in third grade. I've read a lot of books about autism/aspergers. I have learned soo much and I'm still learning. At school he gets speech therapy. He talks so fast and it's sort of hard to understand plus he will start a sentence a few times it takes patience to listen it seems like he has so many ideas in his head and doesn't know which one to say. He's such a wonderful little boy and I find him so interesting. He thinks so different and I can see his view. I am so blessed to have him as a son. Times do get tough for sure but with love we get through it. God won't give us anything we can't handle.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

Hi Jennie,

When my son was diagnosed there was a piece of paper on the wall talking about special children and special parents that touched my heart. I've often regretted not getting a copy of it. The one at http://www.oafccd.com/lanark/poems/god.htm could well be it and I believe it should be essential reading for all mothers.

You will have so much joy with your son. He talks so fast because he has so much to say and it's all very important to him. Gently encourage him to slow down so you can hear what he is saying. Tell him that if he doesn't slow down you will miss out on his important news.

John used to embellish everything so he felt like he was not telling us his news, he was giving us the book version. We started by asking only for the chapters, not the whole book, then we gradually got him down to the 'page' of important news only.

If he keeps restarting his sentences because he can't formulate them, tell him to take a big breath and decide which word he wants to say first. Keep him taking those big breaths each time he stumbles so he can learn to work it out in his head first. This process will continue for years as he is still young.

If you haven't had a formal diagnosis made yet I'd suggest you do so as early as possible. This will give you access to more professional advice and help plus materials to assist you both. The earlier you can get him started on some training the better it will be for him in the long run.

You will learn so much from your son, talk to him and as he grows ask him to tell you about his thought processes. It will give you an insight into the way his mind works. If possible, have him keep some sort of a journal and you do the same. You can share the one journal and both write about how a particular episode seemed to affect you or just what your day has been like. It will become a wonderful reminder of how far you have both come.

Remember that each day is a new learning experience for you both. Cherish him as you do. Our son is now one of our best friends and we're lucky enough to have him feel the same way about us.


Jennie-Z 4 years ago

Thanks Jane for your information. The other post by Jennie was me the one that said that the drs felt it was just ADHD and I changed dr because his behaviors just didn't match ADHD. I felt it was more. I also read the book house rules and wow that opened my eyes and that's when I was trying to get answers but his psycitrist said just ADHD. Well 1 1/2 years later he's been diagnosed with ADHD and aspergers. I take my son to the psycitrist every month. I need to find a place that teaches social skills that his health insurance will cover. He bet speech at school and nothing else. I remember when he was in kindergarten I always asked how his day was and who did he play with and sometimes he couldn't tell me like he didn't remember. Now he's in third grade and they just took state testing in school and I asked him was it math or language arts and he said je thinks it was social studies. I want to find a place in my area to take my son to with other kids that have aspergers. He does feel different and I tell him god made us all different. He has an older sister and a younger sister bhe has an IEP plan at school and his grades are below grade level. He loves science and hates math. He says be just erases math in his head. Divison is hard for him. Thank you so much for replying back your input is helpful.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

My pleasure Jennie. We all need to help each other. Find out from his psychiatrist just what benefits he is eligible for. In Australia John could have had an aid in the classroom but we decided not to do that. He was being teased enough without having an aid.

Have you put an advert in your local paper? Classified ads shouldn't cost more than a few dollars. This could be a way of connecting with other Asperger parents and children. Have a look through the phone book or online for support groups. Start one yourself if necessary, you'd probably be surprised at how many responses you get.

Try taking him to the park or where other children play and just let him watch if that's all he wants to do. If he wants to join in, encourage him but don't push him. Ask his speech therapist at school about other families she works with and if they'd like to make contact.

John also has ADD but thankfully not the hyperactive type. If he hasn't had his medication he is off with the fairies. If your son loves science ask his teachers to incorporate some math into the science lesson. Things like division can be hard for Aspies as it's not 'concrete' like adding or subtracting. Division is more conceptual and he will have trouble. You need to help him with actual examples such as blocks or counters. Help him at home with areas he has trouble with at school. Ask his teacher for some extra work sheets as you'll be able to spend time one-on-one with him while the teacher has a whole class to manage.

Something we did with John was to give him abstract ideas to try to explain. We'd do this while we were driving somewhere. We'd use the old parables such as 'a rolling stone gathers no moss, a stitch in time saves nine, empty vessels make the most noise' etc. (Look for these online if necessary.) We'd help him understand what these meant as abstract concepts are very hard for people with Aspergers.

It will take a lot of patience and love on your part but the rewards are so worth it.


Kim 4 years ago

Does anyone have a daughter with aspergers? My 8 yr old was just diagnosed with it and I wonder how it affects girls.


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

Hi Kim,

Aspergers affects boys much more than girls in a ratio of around 4:1. The effects will be the same. See if there are any support groups in your area and research online for information. Tony Atwood has a lot of information on his site and there is a link further up the page.

The main thing to remember is that this is very confusing for your daughter as well. Give her as much support as you can but don't forget to look after yourself. You need support too as you are dealing with a lot right now.


rachel 4 years ago

hi my name is rachel my son was recently diagnose with asperger i was doing a lot of research but most of them are too scientific for a regular person to understand. thank you for your blog about your son i have related to it a lot and made me understand it more better.

thank you

rachel frm philippines


Jane Adamson profile image

Jane Adamson 4 years ago Author

Hi Rachel,

I'm glad you found my son's story helpful. I suggest you try to find a support group somewhere in your area as you will find that talking to other parents will make you feel less alone. Remember that other people have gone through what you are feeling now and being able to talk about it to them will help.

You will need a lot of love and patience with your son as sometimes his behaviors can be frustrating. Even now I sometimes want to pull my hair out or scream out when I ask my son to do something simple and it takes him a long time as he got distracted by something else.

It does get better over time. My husband was never formally diagnosed but has Aspergers as well. He has run a successful business for many years and is well liked by his clients and members of our community. He has made many friends through his work and community involvement.

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