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Old 03-17-2008, 12:26 PM   #1
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Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

Hello,

I have a 3 yr old with high functioning autism and there are close people in my family with asperger syndrome. I never thought about actually having asperger's myself, but now that my son has been diagnosed and I have had plenty of time to read about these matters, I have really started believing that is the source of my problems. Are there any adult parents out there who have been diagnosed with asperger's or are wondering if they should be?

 
Old 03-18-2008, 02:20 AM   #2
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

Hi, I'm the mom of a 25 year old son, we both have Aspergers, however, we didn't discover it until 2005. I always thought he was a perfectly normal little boy, and never understood why the teachers complained so much. They complained so much I finally pulled him out of school and home-schooled him, because I couldn't stand their constant complaints and failure to take my advice on how to teach him. They insisted on "their way", which didn't work, and never had worked. Wouldn't work for me, wouldn't work for him. Still don't understand why they didn't get it. Obviously they didn't understand Asperger's at all, and weren't willing to listen to me explain his needs. They kept insisting he "could do this", he wasn't trying, he was lazy, etc. I knew better, but totally failed at convincing the teachers.

I hope you get good teachers, who are trained in how to deal with the unique learning style of these kids. They can be a genius in one area, and totally lost in something that seems simple to everyone else. The faster he gets in an Aspergers program, the fewer problems he will experience later. You will be your son's best advocate for now. I always knew what was good or bad for my son by putting myself in his position, and imagining how it would affect me. Just never knew how to get people to listen. That seems to have changed, and I'm hearing good reports from all over of how teachers are starting to get on board.

Don't ever think of him as disabled or as a problem, any more than you've thought of yourself that way. Others can think how they want, but to me and my son, WE'RE the normal ones, and they're just very slow learners. Sometimes we have to exert 3-4 times the effort of other people to accomplish the same thing, but sometimes we find that they can't do what we do with 100% of their effort. Good sides, bad sides. Skills, challenges. We're all different. Encourage him to excel at what he can, and find work arounds or alternate routes for the rest.

Last edited by roses4lace; 03-18-2008 at 02:21 AM.

 
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:42 AM   #3
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

Thanks for your reply. I needed to find a female with aspergers to get an idea of whether or not that is what I am dealing with. My son's speech and OT think it is, but there are not many doctors who will diagnose adults with AS in my area. Also, I researched AS in adults online and found that many doctors don't believe that females can even have AS and refuse to dx females at all. What signs did you show that made you believe you had AS? How did you get diagnosed?

When I was little, I was (according to others) too bossy, always right about everything, and never shut up and let someone else speak. I was called names like hateful, bossy, rude, selfish, etc. I never had friends (except teachers). In high school, I was extremely shy and I could not look at anyone or talk to them. Kids got in my face and dared and bribed me to talk. I could move, so I just sat there. Teachers did nothing and actually made fun of me as well. I let kids copy off my paper because I thought they would like me, but it didn't work. They got what they wanted and were gone. As I got older, I started getting in trouble at work and got fired constantly. Still don't understand why. I got numerous lectures from managers about my poor social skills and about not being a good team player. I have been told many times that I am an insecure baby and that all of the problems I am having are in my head. I have also been told many times that I am an adult and I should be able to handle my own problems. Other people at work break the rules all the time and never get in trouble. They steal company property, dirty the bathroom, make fun of other people, etc. I never do any of these things. I do what I am told to do and I still get in trouble. It's not fair.

I don't want my son to suffer like I am. We get along well together because we both like maps and we play school together. I feel like I'm not a good mom because I can't get along with adults my age and this is keeping me from making friends who might have kids my son could play with. My son has impressed numerous people with his ability to name any country on a map and by being able to read. This gives people the impression that he cannot have autism, although he doesn't speak well and can't approach children his age appropriately. When we go out in public, he gets excited and runs up to other kids and pushes/hits them while laughing excitedly. I hate this because kids always run and tell their parents and then I have to deal with ignorant people my own age who don't understand. I'm guessing you know what I mean?

Last edited by jennpape; 03-18-2008 at 10:51 AM.

 
Old 03-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #4
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

hi
well im 24, and was diagnosed with Aspergers just over a year ago, before then i knew(and my family knew) i was different but we never knew anything about aspergers until about 4 years ago my mom heard something about it and we realised i fitted it exactly, so we went through the process of finding someone to diagnose me, and now at last i have my diagnosis.
My youngest daughter who is 3 in May was diagnosed with high functioning autism, a couple of weeks ago, there are so many similarities between her and how i was when i was her age, the only difference is that she doesnt have much speech and i could talk really well before the age of 18 months
I will be willing to answer anything you want to know(obviously i cant diagnose as im not a proffesional) but i can tell you that alot of what you have wrote about your childhood sounds like mine

 
Old 03-18-2008, 08:05 PM   #5
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

Is it hard to get diagnosed with Asperger's as a female? I've heard that many professionals don't believe it's possible for females to have AS. What kinds of questions or tests did you have to go through?

 
Old 03-19-2008, 02:37 AM   #6
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

None of the doctors gave me any written tests. The first thing to do is find a psychologist who specializes in Aspergers. They can talk with you for one session and know it, because the symptoms are so consistent. We all look different, but deal with the same underlying problems, and a short series of questions will confirm it for them. Finding a skilled doctor may be hard to do, your state's Autism Society may have doctor lists. It is very important to find a doctor who knows about Aspergers. The psychologist I went to for many years never caught it, but two specialists I saw caught it within the first 15 minutes. Women fall through the cracks because we can hide many of our differences, and some of our behaviors just make us look like some kind of ditzy blonde I'm not sure how I navigated childhood, I was known as bossy and demanding, and too smart for my own britches. But I'm not obnoxious, like some I've seen, and I was usually teachers pet, so that definitely helped!

My social skills were really bad, and I was quiet most of the time, didn't really know how to carry on conversations. So I dated and married a man who was a non-stop talker, so I didn't have to talk. Many, many times, people would get defensive or angry at something I said, and I never understood why. When I got divorced, I started 12 step programs (ACA, AL-Anon, Co-DA) and started learning about feelings and emotions. Learning what makes people angry, learning about my own self mostly, by listening to other people describe the situations in their lives. Learning alternate ways to do things, think about things, and explain things. That helped me more than anything I could have ever done, gave me my voice, and taught me how to talk about things without putting other people on the defensive, and without being rude. Now at least, when I say something awful, after a while I usually recognize it, and can go apologize. Sometimes my counselor has to explain to me what went wrong, because I just don't get it.

Co-DA is for people who have poor relationship skills, and I certainly did. For me it was a combination of being raised in a dysfunctional family, and my own problems with Aspergers. I would highly recommend that you find one of these groups. Pretty much everyone there has social problems, and they are all trying to learn better ways to communicate. Lots to be learned there, and friends to be made, or at the very least, socializing with some nice people.

Once we know we have Aspergers, it is up to us to find ways of minimizing the negative impact on ourselves and on others.

You son would benefit from a special program for Aspergers. There is so much he can be taught at an early age to lessen the impact of the problems. He needs specialized training because so many of the things typical people pick up by osmosis, we have to be told specifically, or we may never figure it out. As a parent with Aspergers, there are many things that I did not teach my son, because I didn't know them myself. But I could help him in other areas - when he would have problems, I could teach him the work arounds I had discovered, since other people didn't seem to have the same difficulty. No one taught me, so from some standpoints, his life has been easier than mine was. He was bullied often in school. My parents were not able to give me the emotional support like I was able to give my son. We're both in contact with other Aspergers people here in our area, there are support groups for parents, and dinners out for the young adults to practice their social skills, and I'm working with a couple of other people to start a new Adult Support Group.

 
Old 03-21-2008, 11:47 AM   #7
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roses4lace View Post
They can be a genius in one area, and totally lost in something that seems simple to everyone else.
What roses4lace said above is extremely accurate. Sadly, most teachers DON'T understand the cognitive deficits and strengths of Asperger's Syndrome. With AS individuals, we tend to be extremely advanced in areas that are considered "advanced," such as science or mathematics or some other section of academia. The areas where we tend to be very inept in are basic self-help skills, among other things. As roses4lace said, these are things a "neurotypical" can typically do by the age of 10, some things by the age of 3. I still have great, great difficulty telling my left from my right, when it comes to knowing counterclockwise from clockwise, I cannot drive (mostly from my inability to know left from right), and I cannot make simple phone calls, due to anxiety.

I, too, am a female with AS, and it is completely and utterly wrong that females cannot have AS. Yes, it does seem to be more prevalent in males, but the prevalence rate may not be what they seem. Presently, it is thought that the male: female ratio of individuals with Asperger's is 4:1, but it may only be 2:1. Quite simply, females just aren't getting diagnosed enough, because females often have different manifestations of the AS symptoms. I am one example of this. I am not horribly socially deficit. I have always been a loner, have never cared about having friends, and I am just generally eccentric, but I know enough "social conventions" to get through. I'm often just perceived as the "quirky one." That is, in people who don't know about AS. Those who DO know a great deal about AS can pick up on my diagnosis right away.

It seems that females with Asperger's do tend to have the ability to "blend in" more. They are still socially awkward, but they often can "mold" themselves to appear somewhat "normal." I never hide my eccentricities, but I do "tone down" my "Aspie-ness" with people who I don't know very well. Only my family members and a few select closest friends know the "true" 'me. My Asperger's is defined by my "special interests" and sensory issues, so, unless you get me talking about one of my "special interests," I can hide it very well. I only go on my monologues with my family and close friends (and counselors/therapists), and therefore, that is why only those people know what I'm truly like and get the full extent of my AS.

World-renowned AS author Tony Atwood believes that girl Aspies just present themselves differently than males, the majority of the time. A true expert in AS should be able to see the different manifestations or be able to pick up on the more subtle symptoms. But, trust me, they are there in some way, shape, and form.
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Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 03-21-2008 at 11:49 AM.

 
Old 03-21-2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

GatsbyLuvr1920,

My son's speech therapist knows a neuropsychologist who works at the hospital where my son was diagnosed. I was told that this doctor diagnoses adults with AS and other problems like bipolar. He agreed to evaluate me, but I have to wait and get details from the speech therapist.

What kinds of things are important to tell this doctor? I am almost 30 and feel like I have learned a lot of social skills simply from working and going to school around other people. I feel like I may not get diagnosed if I know too much. Does this make sense? I know people with AS are not supposed to understand metaphors, figures of speech, etc. However, I took a creative writing class in middle school and one in college. These classes force you to learn these types of language so you can write stories and poems. In other words, I do understand that not everything is meant to be taken literally.

Even though my IQ is 127, I can't remember how to do simple things I have done many times before. People tell me I'm stupid all the time. This is killing me because these people seem dumb to me.

 
Old 03-21-2008, 10:07 PM   #9
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

jennpape, your description certainly sounds like AS to me!

Yes, we can learn social skills, yes we can fit in for a few minutes, or even several hours if we have to (like at a conference where we can just sit quietly and listen). A good AS psychologist will figure it out in spite of all those things we learned so we can "look normal". We have some underlying beliefs and reactions and inabilities that are almost impossible to eradicate. So far I've only been able to modify my behavior, or "learn" the "right thing" to do. It didn't change me and what I REALLY wanted to do, it just gets overridden. When I'm stressed or tired, I don't have the ability to "remember" the "right thing", and my real self comes out.

I remember my first visit with my current psychologist - she listened to me tell what was going on in my life, asked a few questions to keep the conversation going. Then almost at the end, she fired off about 8-10 questions - can you do xxx, can you do yyyy, can you do..... Every time I said no, no ,no, because I couldn't do any of those things, and I was in tears. I'll always remember her comment. "I know you can't do them, I'm here to teach you how to do those things." We had not even discussed most of these items. She just knew them because she is good with AS people. And because she "knows" the kind of situations that affect me, when I'm relating a problem, or event, or even something I'm planning, she knows where to focus, and helps me find new ways of doing things that work better for me. Like finding private time when I have to go to a meeting, and reminding me to park where I can get to my car if I get overwhelmed, to find the bathrooms first so I can go there if I get too stressed and not have to ask when I'm about to come apart. Like spending a whole day with no contact with another person, and put all my activities on one day, instead of spacing them out and having "social contact" every day. She even helps me figure out what kind of outfit to wear to special events, I can go to her office in my outfit, and she will tell me if it's appropriate, what kind of jewelry to wear, etc. (choosing clothes is a major meltdown creating event for me, and I dread special events for weeks ahead of time.) Or she will listen to me relate a conversation (which went sour), and explain "what happened", what the other person was expecting, what I needed to say to make sure my needs were being expressed, what body language I probably missed, what turns of speech I took one way, but was probably meant another way, etc. The more I work with her, the more aware I am of how poorly I communicate in stressful situations, especially in romantic relationships. I miss so many cues that apparently other people "get". But she's there to help me understand, and learn.

And no, I don't perceive there's anything wrong with me at all ! I have asked my counselor over and over, is the world filled with stupid people, or do I just attract them? And yes, that's another thing I have to keep my mouth shut about, because it's not the "right thing" to say.

 
Old 03-22-2008, 08:12 PM   #10
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

As roses4lace said, Aspies can "learn" social skills, and adults (especially female adults) often are quite good at "hiding" their AS, due to the fact that they've learned how to disguise their social deficits or have learned social skills through repetition. I, too, am very good at sarcasm and metaphors, and I believe that this is because, like you, I learned in English classes. I still am usually the last to get punch lines, though, when the punch line is a double meaning. It takes me a second, because I have to repeat the line in my head and analyze how it fits in with the situation. It still astounds me how, when I hear the joke being told to others, they laugh as soon as they hear the punch line. The important thing is that, even for those Aspies like myself who are able to pass for being somewhat "normal," albeit eccentric, in the social realm, all people with AS use analysis and intellect rather than intuition, to know how to behave in social situations. We rely on what we've known in the past- it's not an inherent thing for us. I know to do/say such-and-such in such-and-such a situation, because I've been taught to do that. I do fairly well socializing with one or two acquaintances (and, obviously, I do wonderfully with close friends, family, and others with Asperger's), but I completely fall apart in unstructured social settings. I have no idea what to do at things like picnics, so I often just stand off to the side, wishing it were over. I also don't do well with more than two people talking to me- I just can't get the conversational flow, and I interrupt them, on accident, all of the time.

I think that it's important to tell the psychologist all of your possible AS-related symptoms. In my opinion, it's important to focus on all aspects of the syndrome, not just the social deficits, as that is only one part of the story. As I mentioned previously, I'm an Aspie through and through, but it doesn't show in my social interactions all that much. If you don't have as severe of social deficits as some individuals with AS, you should be sure and tell the psychologist about the many other symptoms of Asperger's that you do think that you have, whether it be from the "special interests" to the sensory issues to the clumsiness to the different thinking/learning styles.

When my old CBT therapist first suggested to me a few years back that I might have Asperger's, in addition to the OCD that I was getting treated for, I was very, very skeptical. The therapist read out of the DSM, and I did fit the criteria for a diagnosis, but the DSM criteria seemed to focus, again, mostly on the social deficits, and thus, I didn't really think that the diagnosis "fit" me very well. Then I began reading books on the subject, and I realized how utterly Aspie I was. Some of the books could very well have been written about me. But books examine all of the facets of AS, not just the social deficits, so that's when I realized which social deficits I did indeed have and that I seem to have some symptoms of AS much more intensely than others.

The most important thing to remember is that, just as autism is now considered to be a spectrum, Asperger's is also a spectrum, and it really is true that no two individuals with Asperger's are alike. We all share some sort of common ground, but the severity and presence of individual symptoms is as individual as the person themself.
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Last edited by GatsbyLuvr1920; 03-22-2008 at 08:17 PM.

 
Old 03-23-2008, 10:12 AM   #11
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Re: Are there parents out there with autism/asperger's?

Thank you both for helping me. I cannot wait until I get to my appointment to be evaluated. Having a label will not change anything, but I still would like to know whether I am right about myself or not.

I will let you know.

 
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