Stressed out and Probably Shouldn't be!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2009
Stressed out and Probably Shouldn't be!
Fri, 02-04-2011 - 10:40pm

Came in to post about all my stress, then read a couple of posts and am thinking its not so bad.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-03-2004
Sat, 02-05-2011 - 12:12pm


iVillage Member
Registered: 01-07-2008
Wed, 02-09-2011 - 7:48am

I totally get why this would stress you out. I wanted to give you some general support and feedback, rather than specific for your situation, because I haven't had twins and I haven't had a child diagnosed that early, so I don't have that to draw on for you. But I do very much empathise with the feeling of struggling to engage with your child - I think we have all been through that, it is a feature of having a child on the spectrum. So the first thing I want to say is that there is never any problem that seems 'too small' or stupid to post about here: if it matters to you, it matters, and you can pretty much guarantee that you are not alone.

The second thing I wanted to share was my view as a mother of an older Aspie with two younger NT siblings. We did not get the diagnosis until our Aspie was 8 and until then we really struggled with a bright but strange child, who was constantly in trouble at school for strange things no-one could figure out, and for whom we used to tear our hair out trying to work out what was going on with him: how could he be so bright and engaging but not be able to tie his shoelaces, how could he take the lead in the school play and memorise his lines perfectly and break everyone's hearts then try and strangle a boy who cut in line ahead of him, how could he produce beautifully drawn maps of imaginary worlds but hide under the table and cry every time it was PE or the lunch bell rang??. Once we had the diagnosis and worked out why our normal parenting 'tricks' (and the advice we had from well-meaning professionals who did not know about Aspergers and ASD) did not work we found better ways to understand and support him. But it was a very long hard road, and perhaps the hardest thing was the constant nagging feeling that I was failing him completely as a parent because I did not 'get' him at all, and (even worse) I found him so much harder work than his NT siblings.

But, you know, it got better as he got older. He's incredible, in so many ways, and I connect with him now that I understand a lot more about Aspergers and ASD. As he has gotten older he has become very adept at explaining his world to me - and to other people. He recently wrote out his own IEP and a resource pack for his teachers to explain to them how to support him at school, and his teachers wer falling over themselves to tell me how brilliant and helpful it was for them. He has been invited to address the Scottish Children's Commissioner and takes part in a gifted creative writing workshop at Glasgow Unversity. And he ties his shoelaces and takes part in PE, which are no lesser achievements in his world! He would never have been able to do those things had we not been able to break through to his world and understand his take on emotions, feelings, people, his environment, etc. And I can't begin to summarise this for you because it has taken us about 4 years to learn it, but truly, it is a *very* different world from the one you and I inhabit as NTs.

And there is *no way* he could have shared this world with us when he was 34 months old. It's as if he is an alien visiting our planet or, as he would see it, we are aliens living in his planet with grudging tolerance for our imperfections from him. We have to learn each other's language and culture and be very respectful of our differences in order to be able to live together. But, and I am absolutely clear on this and so is he, we love each other deeply, even if he still struggles to know what that really means for NTs. We, the NTs, 'translate the world' for him, we make a potentially terrifying place manageable. That is what you are doing for your twins, and it is even more important for them, because they do not yet have the skills to do that themselves.

My friends who only have NT children do not understand *at all* how difficult it is. But because I have NT children too, I understand that they do not 'get' this - they live in the same world as their children, they are not constantly having to adjust their thinking and see the world from a little alien's perspective. I am priviledged to get a glimpse of that alien world, but it is truly very hard work crossing the divide. Don't underestimate it.

I know this isn't the kind of practical help you need right now, but I hope it is useful support nonetheless.

Kirsty, mum to Euan (12, Aspergers Syndrome) Rohan (7, NT) and Maeve (5, NT)

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