Intro--Fresh Asperger's diagnosis

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Registered: 05-18-2005
Intro--Fresh Asperger's diagnosis
4
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 8:02am

Hi All:

My ds7 was just diagnosed this week.  A bit of a surprise despite the fact that we have family history (my brother is an Aspie), because ds presents much differently from other kin with Asperger's.  We were previously operating under a misdiagnosis of ADHD.  Suggestions for explaining to ds?  He's very science/biology oriented in his interests, will definitely have a million questions about the neurology of the whole thing.  Perhaps commonly for AS, he's sort of intellectually 10 or 11, but socially/emotionally about 5.  We're already doing counseling, shopping for a good social skills group, and applying to more appropriate educational settings than his current ms class of 30 kids.  Anything else we should be doing?

I actually see a few usernames that are familiar from other boards, hi ladies!

My younger child is also SN, but differently so--dyspraxic with SPD, age 3.

Gwen

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-09-2003
Wed, 04-17-2013 - 2:20pm
Hi Gwen, the thing about Asperger's is not all the children present the same way, making it difficult. To try & explain it to Nathan I bough him a book that the nurse at the Dr's office suggested, I can't remember the name of it anymore, I just looked on Amazon, &didn't see that one but there were several on there that might work. Nathan never really cared what it was he just wanted to be him. His older sister is more interested in Asperger's than he is. welcome to the board & if you have any further questions please feel free to ask!
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2003
Fri, 03-01-2013 - 10:56am

Hello Gwen,

Welcome.  You are doing all the right things.  I don’t have anything to add; just wanted to say hello. 

Grace.

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-17-2004
Sat, 02-23-2013 - 10:24am

Hey Gwen!

You are so on top of things.  It sounds like you are going in the right direction.

As for what to tell him, we tell DS that everyone has challenges in life and they are all different.  It's part of their life work that God wants people to do.   We know we ask him to do some really hard stuff.  It's how he approaches it and faces the challenge that is most important.  We also highlight all his strengths continuously.  He thinks he's the greatest thing since bread rolls (which he is!). 

As for what to tell him, we use the senses as an example.  Color is defined by wavelength of light.  Each color has a specific range.  When we "see" color, we detect the wavelength and have been taught each range is a color (vocabulary).  That means that when you see red and I see red, it may not be the same thing.  Although we both agree the word for it is red.  That's how you can figure out what colors are on black and white TVs.  The intensity and wavelength differs but you assign that combination a color.  Everyone sees things differently and experiences things differently, but we all use the same vocabulary. 

We haven't told DS that he has Aspergers.  But we do tell him that he is different, just like everyone else.  We also read a lot of people who meet challenges or think differently (Copernicus, Helen Keller, George Washington, etc.).  We used Copernicus to highlight it's ok to think different from the rest of society.  By believing in your own ideas, you can change the paradim of the world (same with Christopher Columbus and Charles Darwin).  Helen Keller we use as someone who faced challenges.  No one thought she was smart because she could not do things the way everyone else did things.  However, Teacher Annie taught Helen a different way to communicate and found out Helen was SUPER smart.  Helen then used her differences to teach others it is ok to do things differently.  You can still be smart and a wonderful contributor to society even if you are different.  Look at what she accomplished without eyesight, hearing, or the ability to talk.  Imagine what you can do!

George Washington is an excellent example as well.  He was not well educated.  BUT he was a good leader.  He was very successful because he knew he did not know all, and knew how to get the best out of those around him.

For the perfectionism, I give him really tough challenges in his strong areas. In particular, math.  He gets so bored in school doing what he already knows.  So at home, I give him problems that make him think about 20 mins.  He gets excited when he figures it out.  I make sure to point out that it was by the mistakes that he learned how to do this new problem.  When he does the same problems in class perfectly, he doesn't really learn anything new.  When you get an unexpected result, THAT is where the true learning begins because you question why and how.

Don't know if any of it will work long term, but it helps with the meltdowns and self esteem short term.

Socially/emotionally, we are like you.  Social group helps.  Playdates one on one help even more.  We also do a lot of roleplay on emotions.  He takes a theater class to help with this too.  There are some books by called SuperFlex.  They are like comic books with super heros and bad guys.  DS likes those a lot too.  After every playdate, we discect what were the good decisions and what were the bad decisions on both parts.  Then we talk about any questions he has.

Karen

Avatar for Cmmelissa
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Registered: 11-13-2008
Fri, 02-22-2013 - 3:16pm

Hi Gwen!  I'm surprised as well, but I hope that by getting the diagnosis you'll be able to better determine the paths you need to take with him.