We wait

July 27, 2010 at 6:04 am 9 comments

     For years I’ve been struggling with when to tell C of his diagnosis. All this time, watching for signs that he’s ready to hear about this thing that makes him so special in so many ways. I’ve waited for the questions about why he struggles making friends, keeping friends, conversing with friends, and basically anything else having to do with friends. I’ve wondered when he would ask why he is pulled out of class for speech, physical, occupational and friendship group therapy.

     Those questions have never come.

     There are books about autism and asperger’s next to my bed. C has heard mention of the words, I am sure of that. This child, who is curious about everything, reads everything, asks who is calling when the phone rings, and asks if I like the book I’m reading (but not what it’s about), does not seem to have one smidgen of interest in autism.

     Perhaps, I think, he already knows. Perhaps he senses that he struggles with things other kids don’t and simply hasn’t said anything or can’t figure out how to ask the question. And then I realize: C doesn’t think he struggles with anything. Thus far, he seems to view himself as the same as everyone else instead of outstandingly different. So I wait.

     Perhaps, I think, I need to plant a seed. Maybe if I introduce him to the concept in a more roundabout way, his awareness will grow, bringing with it some level of introspection. So I ask a crucial question.

     “C, do you think you are the same as other kids or different?”

     I wait.

     “Well,” he says quietly, “since my class this year was mostly boys, I’m mostly the same. But if it had been mostly girls, I would have been different.”

Entry filed under: autism. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

Where is the line? It’s a love-hate thing

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. pixiemama  |  July 27, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I have asked the very same question of Foster. His answer, simply, was “the same.” I wonder if the need for him to know is more about me. I don’t know.

  • 2. T$  |  July 27, 2010 at 10:41 am

    He definitely knows. He’s like his uncle T$ in this regard. Way too observant to not know. It’s the understanding that isn’t there yet. In C’s unique way of understanding things, he’s looking at it in a way that’s comfortable.

  • 3. FraggleMom  |  July 27, 2010 at 11:05 am

    I know my baby girl was about 9 when i told her and it was only because we were in a situation where she was having tests ran on her because she had fragile x and i had to explain to her why they were running those tests. (holy cow…that is one long sentence lol) I also think she “knew” but didn’t know how to articulate it. Now she is just like..yeah i have fxs…i’m so cool…LOL.

  • 4. lynnes  |  July 27, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    We pushed the conversation with G because we had to write a letter to the parents of his classmates explaining some of G’s behavior problems. Not willingly, we were trying to forestall a parental mob. We didn’t want one of his classmates to tell him before we could. So we started with ‘all cats have asperger syndrome’ at bedtime (this might be too young for C) and asked G to identify how he was the same as or different from the kittens. From there we moved onto ‘can I tell you about asperger syndrome’ which was told from the point of view of an 8 – 10 year old boy. G seemed to really identify with the boy and now will factually tell people he has asperger syndrome. I’m not sure he recognizes the difficulties he has that area also part of AS, right now he knows it makes him smart, he takes things very literally and has to try harder to understand when people aren’t expressing their feelings verbally.

  • 5. statia  |  July 29, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I don’t want my son to grow up feeling different and not understanding why. I want him to know what he has, but it’s tough, because it may not even be on his radar. *sigh*

  • 6. kaztronomic  |  July 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    You face a difficult situation, trying to decide whether or not to tell him. I think, on a certain degree, he probably knows that he is different, somehow; yet, at the same time, that difference doesn’t seem bother him. He seems to have sort of a wise acceptance of himself. At least, that’s how I’m interpreting it. =)

    His answer is wonderful, though! He sounds so bright. =)

  • 7. springingtiger  |  August 11, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    I didn’t get my diagnosis until I was in my 50s. Personally in some ways I am glad as – although I knew I was different and many things were difficult – I had no option but to somehow muddle through. I have a tendency to laziness and had I been given my Asperger diagnosis as a child I would have used it as an excuse.

    The most important thing is that you know and can use the awareness of his diagnosis to provide the support he needs. The right support at first is more important but later he will need to understand.

  • 8. Elizabeth Channel  |  August 13, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    We just went through this and I just wrote a post all about it.

  • 9. Springingtiger  |  August 13, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I just read Elizabeth Channel’s post on this -“Do You Have Aspergers Like Me?” – and think it’s well worth the look. I particularly resonated with, “What was before so confusing, now has a name. That name gives meaning to his own feelings and experiences”

    There will be a right time to tell him and I think Ms. Channel is right he will tell you when that is. Good luck!


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