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Old 06-07-2010, 11:12 AM
 
Location: In my skin
9,045 posts, read 14,280,409 times
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The topic of Aspergers has been discussed in the relationships forum, and there are several examples there of people who know little to nothing about it, but will presume to tell you all about it and how to deal with it.

Those of you who have children with Aspergers know how difficult can be, to varying degrees, for them. And the focus should remain on them and helping them through it. But how do you handle situations where you find yourself being challenged?

My son is an adult and about to start college. I am finding that his issues are far more challenging now that he is an adult, mainly because of what is expected of him and what he expects of himself as a grown man. I do my best not to interfere or jump in to help him right off. However, we are sometimes in situations where there isn't enough time to wait for him to get it right. The world is not required to accomodate him on the day to day, moment to moment.

For example, registering for college was a real challenge. He was pretty overwhelmed and he tends to shut down when that happens. Heck, I was overwhelmed. Still, I stood back as much as I could and helped when I thought I should.

There were times when the people behind the desk looked at me like the overprotective mom who wanted to control him. One woman suggested that I go get a number to get in line for admissions while she worked with him on a problem with orientation. As I walked away, she told him "We'll just let her get a number while I work with you on this. This is YOUR education, not hers.". I looked back at her, furious, but I bit my tongue. I grabbed a number and went back to them. I stood there silently and watched her become more and more impatient as she asked him the same question 3 times. He couldn't understand what she was asking for. She turned to me and said, "Mom, can we get some help here?" I told her it wasn't my education, it was his, but I would be happy to assist her supervisor in getting it taken care of.

If I'm not getting the look of being the controlling/overprotective mom, I'm being told to stop treating him like he is disabled. He is pretty self sufficient, but he has real challenges on the day to day as it applies to processing info. I'm not going to ignore his issues because it makes other people uncomfortable. At the same time, I have to be careful with how I do help him, especially when there are other people around, because I don't want to embarrass him.

College is going to be difficult for him, but he wants it badly and I have re-arranged my life and plans to be there for him. It's just a greater struggle these days trying to approach these situations in a way that helps him and doesn't compromise his dignity at the same time. It was different when he was a kid and in high school. I was responsible for him, so I could speak for him. Now, he'd be the momma's boy and he is far from that. For me, it's not about image or pleasing the public but how to deal with them and keeping his self esteem in tact.

Any input, suggestions? I found a support group when I was looking for help for a kid in my neighborhood. I think I may go with my son and see what they have to offer.
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Old 06-07-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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How is your son about having AS? Will he talk about it? Will he tell people that it's a processing disorder and he needs them to go slowly and maybe explain things a bit slowly?

If he won't speak up, you will have to.

Can you find out if the school has a special needs support center or some other place where students can get help?

AS is fairly widespread and well known so I would think his college may have some counselor or support group or something on campus.

In addition, yes, try to find a group for adults (or young adults) with AS.

My son is only 12 but I also get 'bossy overbearing mom' looks when we go somewhere like the doctor or dentist and my son gets uncomfortable and I have to say "He has AS and needs you to explain what you are doing."

It's gotten harder as he gets older.

But even as a young kid, people (family) kept telling me to back off but he looks to me to help him out.

Good luck with your son.
Maybe you can give us pointers how you dealt with adolescence and dating with an Aspie teen!
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:12 PM
 
Location: In a house
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I've never been diagnosed with Asperger's, nor have I ever even considered getting tested for it. However, I do have that tendency to "shut down" when I'm feeling overwhelmed - when there's too much "data input" coming my way. Whether that's just being in a crowd of people, or two people trying to talk to me at the same time, or multiple instant messages, or needing to focus on anything other than the task at hand. So regardless of my lack of diagnosis, I can -totally- empathize with your son.

What I've done when I've been in the situation, if I really HAD to be in the situation (such as at college registration), was to yield. If I was next, and felt overwhelmed...I would simply, let the person behind me, get ahead of me, and prepare to be next. Prepare mentally, emotionally. The shock of being "up" is always the hardest part. And sometimes, it really does help to simply yield, and be "up" next, instead of now. Just that one little bit of "giving up control" is such a powerful feeling, because I'm actually TAKING control of myself when I do that. I'm making a conscious choice to say "I will wait, and to heck with whoever tries to demand that I'm next."

At parties, it's not that different. When there are too many people to deal with, I retreat, physically. I'll seek out space between "here and there" and go to that space. I'm not removing my mind from my surroundings. I'm simply shifting perspective. It makes it SO much easier to wend my way back into the crowd in a way that feels comfortable, instead of scary.

In summary, sometimes, it might be helpful for your son to accept that it's OKAY to back up, and re-approach after taking a deep breath.
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Old 06-07-2010, 07:54 PM
 
Location: In my skin
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Gypsy, thank you. He is accepting of having AS, but he hasn't really gotten to where he will tell people he has it. He will ask them to repeat what they said, ask them to explain further or he'll shut down when he is really struggling. Since he is an adult, I feel he should be the one to tell them. I have explained to to people I know, but in situations like school registration, I feel it may embarrass him since he is not telling them himself.

The school does offer special accommodations for those with learning disabilities, however, since he left to the military right after high school and it's been 4 years, they can't use his high school records. I'd have to have him privately evaluated. He actually decided to hold off on school today and is going to wait until the fall. He may go as soon as Summer II in July. But he is not ready now.

As to dating, he never really had a girlfriend until he left home. And, unfortunately, he was taken advantage of. I met the gal when I went to visit him and knew she was trouble, but that was something he had to learn on his own.

AnonChick, that sounds like a great idea, backing up and re-approaching. It is essentially what he did today, holding off on starting classes.

He doesn't become overwhelmed socially, he loves being around people and isn't shy at all. Surely this varies from one person with AS to another. But it sounds like you're doing well. Thank you for your input.
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Old 06-08-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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Since he is now an adult, can you give me some perspective?

My DSS is ASD, not dx'ed as Aspergers as he was non-vocal until 3/4. He is very high functioning. When I came into his life (he was 5), he attached to me like crazy. I have "pushed" him socially. But only when he was ready. for example, he would never order his own food at a restaurant or even take a chance on picking out his own food. Now he loves the freedom of independence by doing the simple things like running into a gas station and buying a Coke by himself.

We recently enrolled him in a college prep course at his middle school. It was required to apply (with no help from parents), interview and be accepted into this program. It is for NT children. BUT it teaches Cornell Notes and how to organize thoughts into essays. The things he struggles with in school. In Math... the boy is off the charts.

We do not want to push him too hard. He doesn't have meltdowns anymore unless he is getting teased in school.
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Old 06-08-2010, 12:14 PM
 
Location: So Ca
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We have some friends with a son who has Asperger's. He's a senior in high school and he and his parents have decided that he would be better suited to a community college, since handling dorm life might be difficult for him. He's a brilliant kid and is well aware of his social limits; he talks a lot about his loneliness in terms of close friendships. Both parents are very involved, say that their son's school administration, teachers, IEP team, etc, are very supportive. He had an situation where he liked a girl at school, went to a dance with her, but later came on far too strong for her and she backed off, devastating him. His mom said it's a constant challenge trying to determine the proper level of involvement in his life and that they try not to listen to those who don't understand Asperger's.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:15 AM
 
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I don't have an older child, but.... one thing I have learned from adult aspies online is that often online forums can be a place to connect with others. Below are some places to start.

Wrong Planet - Autism Community

Aspies For Freedom

Dorothy
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:32 PM
 
Location: In a house
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This is only semi on topic, but I'm a little confused and put off by the term "Aspie." Asperger's is a medical condition..it's not a breed of adorable puppydog. Why is the term "cutsified?" Why not call it AS, after the initial title of the thread is spelled out as Aspergers (so as not to confuse it with any other parenting issue involving the initials AS, whatever they may be)?

If I had a daughter with Asperger Syndrome, I'd be pretty insulted if someone referred to her as an Aspie. She isn't an Aspie. She's a human being, a child, who is living with a medical condition. If you want to shorten that, call it "your daughter." Or, "the child." Or even, by her name, whatever that may be.
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Old 06-11-2010, 11:43 PM
 
16,034 posts, read 17,817,459 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnonChick View Post
This is only semi on topic, but I'm a little confused and put off by the term "Aspie." Asperger's is a medical condition..it's not a breed of adorable puppydog. Why is the term "cutsified?" Why not call it AS, after the initial title of the thread is spelled out as Aspergers (so as not to confuse it with any other parenting issue involving the initials AS, whatever they may be)?

If I had a daughter with Asperger Syndrome, I'd be pretty insulted if someone referred to her as an Aspie. She isn't an Aspie. She's a human being, a child, who is living with a medical condition. If you want to shorten that, call it "your daughter." Or, "the child." Or even, by her name, whatever that may be.
The adults with asperger's that I have talked with use the term for themselves. They do NOT believe that asperger's syndrome is a disease. They often do not want to be *cured.* I generally try to use terms that people tell me they prefer.
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Old 06-12-2010, 06:39 AM
 
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 36,281,210 times
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I never suggested it's a disease. It -is- however a medical condition. Sort of like having a stubbed toe is a medical condition. And I'm guessing a lot of people would be insulted if you referred to them as Stubby. I just feel that "cutsifying" medical conditions downplays them, and can cause more harm than help in trying to get the public to have some empathy and patience for people who do have to work "differently" in order to accomplish many of the mundane tasks that most people take for granted.

Would you call someone living with dwarfism, who is content with their life, Dwarfie, or Stump? What I'm saying, is that I don't feel "Aspie" is a term that people -should- prefer. It turns a human being into a category.
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