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The Aspie Family

I have just gotten home after my oldest daughters appointment with the psychiatrist, and I'm still processing the information I received there. After all of the tests conducted, and the interviews and such, she has finally received her official diagnosis (which did not take as long to receive as I originally imagined) of ASD level 2. He was quick to mention however, that had Aspergers still been a diagnosis under the DSM she would have received that.

While I think of the events that transpired my mind keeps fixating one question that we were asked during the line of questioning we received, "what problems have you had with her". To be honest none, in fact she has been a piece of cake, easiest most awesome kid ever, no problem to speak of. I told him in truth the only reason we brought her here is because we see ourselves in her, (being my wife and I) and we want her to have an easier life than we did, we want her to have the tools to succeed. And as I said that a singular thought entered my mind, all I ever hear from parents of autistic children is the struggles they have with their child. Suddenly it dawned on me, the difficulties in raising a child aren't because they are autistic, it's because their parents are NT. My wife and I have found raising her to be fulfilling and frankly quite easy, and all of this is because we understand why she acts the way she acts, we understand why she thinks the way she does.

Then the Doctor asks, when were you diagnosed? We immediately replied we haven't, actually all arrows point to it as something overlooked during our time with psychiatric medicine, but we didn't know of the possibility until more recently. He explained briefly about how often adults arrive as people that could have been diagnosed in their younger years but weren't for any number of reasons (and in our case my wife and I were diagnosed with other things in the neighborhood by people that weren't comfortable with Autism as it was such a new thing). We told him we were considering pursuing a diagnosis but haven't been in a serious rush as we pretty much have our lives figured out by this point. To which he replied "Then why bother? If it isn't broke there is no sense in fixing it", During the ride home my wife and I discussed the topic further and decided he is right. While my wife has already started the process and may receive a diagnosis anyways, for me there isn't much sense in getting diagnosed (unless for the ada aspect). I have reached a point in my life were I more or less function fine, and I have successfully turned my focus into a career, realistically nothing is broke.

It will take me a little while to contemplate the long term gravity of the events of today, but for now I am at peace with it. The only question now is, what will it be like for two autistic parents to raise a NT child if my newborn turns out to be "normal"? When I asked the question my wife and I both shuttered at the thought, I mean would this be the equivalent of a NT raising a child with ASD? Only time will tell...

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And as I said that a singular thought entered my mind, all I ever hear from parents of autistic children is the struggles they have with their child. Suddenly it dawned on me, the difficulties in raising a child aren't because they are autistic, it's because their parents are NT...

Exactly the point made by Jim Sinclair in "Don't Mourn for Us." (Link to YouTube video in which Sinclair visually quotes Hans Asperger's own position during Fascist Germany's search for Superman genetics. May be considered dated or offensive by those who revere Godwin. The same essay in Loud Hands reads well for today's reader.)

...what will it be like for two autistic parents to raise a NT child if my newborn turns out to be "normal"? When I asked the question my wife and I both shuttered at the thought, I mean would this be the equivalent of a NT raising a child with ASD? Only time will tell...

Writing as an aspie parent, the child figured out that Mom and Dad, as he puts it today, "didn't know how to carry themselves." He says the best thing we did for him was to put him in private school for as long as possible, where money smooths over many anxieties, and the contrast between his parents and other parents lent him perspective. People are also a little more tolerant of quirks when you hang out with the socially successful.

Day care was a brilliant idea--socialize while still preverbal!

He now copes easily with both types, and his friends in the teenage years were very envious of his good luck...we accepted him as we ourselves wanted to be accepted. And despite the fact that we had so little money by then, our house was still OK to hang out in.

Could he have been embarrassed by us? Yes, but we found that all kids seem a little embarrassed by their parents.
 

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A BROUHAHA
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