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Introducing Myself - Dad of 11-year old Amazing Aspergers kid (undiagnosed), looking to chat

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by James Nicodemus, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. James Nicodemus

    James Nicodemus New Member

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    I am the father of an amazing 11 year old boy who I believe has Asperger's, and am looking to chat with people who have their own kids in similar situations, or people with Aspergers who can give me some measure of guidance, insight, and information about his wild, wonderful world of an incredibly smart boy like my son.
     
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  2. Giraffes

    Giraffes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    My daughter has Aspergers and i wish i'd known that when she was growing up, i now now how tricky aspects of life are for her and am happy each day to have a wonderful child who has a family of her own now, explore 'social stories' to help him see societies expectations, celebrate he's interests and use them as a foundation to build self confidence, learning and confidence, join a support group for kids so he doesn't feel alone, accept his difference and show him love, hope some of these ideas help.
     
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  3. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    Hello & welcome.
    If you are in the USA, see Autlanders, Thriving Outside of the Box: Finding Support Resources in the USA...
     
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  4. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Hi and welcome. Plenty of useful information and threads here, and people are friendly and supportive. It's great that you are working on ideas to help and support your son. For many of us there is confusion and gaps around how to manage social interaction, despite our academic or other abilities. If you or others around him find those areas straightforward, it may be helpful to ask him anything he'd like help with.

    I remember asking my dad how to make friends, but he couldn't seem to help, I realise now he had high autistic traits or Aspergers too and was equally challenged. Although I was clever, and keen to know strategies, I think someone who could explain some things that seem obvious to neurotypical people would have been helpful. I hope you enjoy it here.

    :blossom::hatchingchick::hatchedchick::blossom::hatchingchick::hatchedchick::blossom:
     
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  5. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  6. Nitro

    Nitro Admin/Immoral Turpitude Staff Member Admin V.I.P Member

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    Hi James

    welcome to af.png
     
  7. Storm Hess

    Storm Hess Permanent Spaceman

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    Hi, James.
     
  8. Wolf Prince

    Wolf Prince My future job title.

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  9. James Nicodemus

    James Nicodemus New Member

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    You hit the nail on the head with my son. He's stratospheric in his computer capabilities, and has social interaction problems, but he gets such great support from his "team" at school, and from my wife and I, that he doesn't yet recognize the "friendship" deficits he has. He has never had a birthday party where anyone outside of family members were invited), and he has never been invited to a birthday party. But he has never mentioned that, and he is a genuinely happy, joyful and expressive kid.

    I know that every child is different, but I have been reading a lot about various therapies that are available (he gets speech and other therapies at school), mainly focused on socialization. Have you found, or heard, of any that are more effective than others (like maybe Cognitive Behavior Therapy). Another question I have is that as a very naive and almost child-like 11 year-old, we have never spoken to him about his ASD. When did your parents (if at all) bring up your issues with you, and was it helpful to know early on?
     
  10. AngelaS267

    AngelaS267 Well-Known Member

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    Bring it up ASAP. A lot of people get diagnosed way too late in life and that is more painful than having that clarity early on. He probably is more aware of his differences than you think he is, and it's going to bother him the older he gets having all of these ailment and he can't quite figure out whats wrong with himself. My parents knew that there was something wrong with my older sister as she was significantly further along on the spectrum than me, and nobody helped her, and she still struggles to this day. Tell him NOW and create an environment of openness, and acceptance. NOT pity. Don't create shame around his ASD. It is much better if he knows all the way around.
     
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  11. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    Typically, CBT attempts to train auties to behave more like NTs; that is, to mask their autism. It is repressive. We still need to know how to communicate with NTs and mask/compromise in that process, but we need to be at peace with who we are, too.

    For instance, I have been collecting GI Joes & Barbies (for drawing references) for the last 30 years. I am not ashamed of them, but I don't bring them up outside of autism, drawing & miniaturist* circles. My 21yo son (in college) maintains a collection of superhero Legos, too.
    Many here didn't get diagnosed until middle age.

    You may want to ease him into it. Emphasize how he thinks differently. That concept is known as "neuro-diversity." If he qualifies for "gifted" class, get him involved in that, too. (Neuro-diverse people are usually at more ease, socially, with other neuro-diverse people.)

    A counselor or school counselor may have other ideas on how to break it to him in a positive way, but the sooner, the better.

    *I am on many forums with other adult collectors. ;)
     
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  12. James Nicodemus

    James Nicodemus New Member

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    He has been formally diagnosed on the spectrum, but just not with a clear diagnosis of Asperger's. The problem is that, for an 11-year old, although he interacts with computer coders and programmers at a college and post-college level, and has an amazing vocabulary and speaks extremely well, he is so child-like in so many other ways. My wife seems to think that he is in some kind of charmed bubble now, and sitting down and having such a conversation with him would destroy this pure kind of joy he has. The problem is, in most other environments, this "pure joy" element of his personality would lead to bullying and other even more serious consequences with peers.

    I know that these hard conversations are necessary, but the problem is that he gets such amazing support at home and at school (he has someone with him at all times at school, in addition to his "team", that its hard to rock this boat. But you seem to be saying that the boat must be rocked, because he will pay for it later.
     
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  13. SDRSpark

    SDRSpark Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome!!!!!

    I'm glad you're here. Kudos for reaching out to other autistic people for help understanding and supporting your son - I wish more parents did that!!!
     
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  14. AngelaS267

    AngelaS267 Well-Known Member

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    He is still 11, so I would expect that he still is very child-like as you describe. Why would that change if he knew he was on the spectrum? If you phrase it as though he has lost something, then he might feel bad. But there's a way you can have that conversation and not shatter his confidence, if that's what you're concerned about. When I found out at the unfortunate age of 24, I had a worry that it somehow changed who I was or who I wanted to be. But your son is no different from how he's always been, except now he knows he is autistic. There's a comfort in knowing that this doesn't change the amazing person he is right now. Be careful of projecting your fears onto him in this way. He will absolutely suffer if he doesn't know sooner. There's nothing worse than being out of high school or college, half past your young life, and not knowing WHY you struggle so bad socially, only to find out years later that you were on the spectrum. There is a lot more loss in that scenario, you can ask half the people on this forum. I feel absolutely robbed for not knowing sooner, and neglected. It's amazing you, and your wife are getting him extensive help, that's more than a lot of people can say for their kids. But you both need to learn to find acceptance for this part of him fully, and tell him his truth. Don't create shame around his ASD. It's better in the long run. It's freeing.
     
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  15. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    In my generation schools didn't recognise these issues in girls much, or often in boys either. From that, I did at least learn that mostly we can get by, and if your son is happy and not concerned, I am not sure it's right to try to get him to fit in with something he doesn't worry about. I probably worried more because as a girl, I was socialised to be more relational, and I could see Having Friends was important. Social and relational skills are emphasised less for boys, and being poor at them, as he probably somewhat will be in neurotypical terms whatever you try, is arguably less important.

    I think it's crucial to distinguish between what's important to you or the neurotypical world and what matters to him, though that's maybe difficult til he's older. As maybe socialising is never going to be high on his list of skills or priorities. We are all uneven, and he sounds great. Typically we may often be simple and without agendas, and seem younger than our age.

    Jessica Kingsley publishers have some interesting informative texts, but I also agree with your wife, if it's not broken, don't try to fix it, he's different, not wrong. His path will be unusual probably, and if he can make a good living from his skills there's likely to be acceptance out there for him.
     
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  16. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

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    Welcome to Autism Forums!
     
  17. James Nicodemus

    James Nicodemus New Member

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    The curious thing is, it's really hard to believe that he doesn't know already. As I said, he has an aid with him all of the time at school (who is great), and he has a special group of girls in his class (it's a regular 5th grade class) who are willing to bend over backwards and help him out.

    I think the problem holding my wife back is that it's easy to stay where you are, when so many positive things are happening - he's getting great support at school (from his "team"), we moved into this school district and city (Glenview, Illinois) becuase it has such a great reputation for attention to kids on the spectrum, he's so happy most of the time, and of course he is just a plowing forward construction vehicle when it comes to self-education, and education with me, about coding and programming.

    But the next hurdle that will be so telltale is the jump from 5th to 6th grade. I just thank our lucky stars every day that in the last 3 years he hasn't had a major bullying incident, which trust me he is well positioned to have. I guess it comes down to this, in part - how do you take away the child-like nature aspect from someone, and should you, who will need much more than childlike confidence in order to weather the storms that will come in the next 7 years?
     
  18. James Nicodemus

    James Nicodemus New Member

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    But the interesting thing is that I am the one who wants to embrace his ASD, not just in conversations (delicate ones) with him, but in a larger sense - getting a formal diagnosis, looking at treatment outside of the amazing "team" at school that he gets.

    Other people have told me that we really need to have that conversation with him, to make him know and understand his ASD status, and its challenges, even if he doesn't feel any loss or lack at not having typical friends among his peers.

    He has amazing computer chats with faceless computer professionals 1000 miles away, about things that I cannot comprehend, so he has "socialization" skills within the context of communicating with others that have a similar fascination with coding and programming.

    And if he can't have an extended conversation with someone his own age, someone he knows at school, beyond an exchange of names and a passiing hello, he doesn't seem to care, smiles, and tells the other person to look on the bright side (he has a favorite stuffed pillow at home - one side days "look on the bright side", and the other has a smiling face).

    But unfortunately, I am just waiting for the day when my wife gets a call from school, and says that someone who he kissed on the shoulder on the playground turned around and slugged him.
     
  19. James Nicodemus

    James Nicodemus New Member

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    So if you don't think that CBT is a very good regimen, is there another therapy design that you think is effective, or is the diversity of individuality among Asperger's too varied to make that kind of recommendation. Our biggest fears have always been those problems that you see so amply represented in the media - instances of bullying, things that can crush the spirit. We know that our son has a list of "vulnerabilities" of that type that can be seen a mile away, particularly for what we know will be a much less giving, and understanding 6th grade peer group than his uber-supportive 5th grade class.
     
  20. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝️ V.I.P Member

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    A formal diagnosis is sobering, but the (positive) childlike features are here to stay.

    If he is gifted (as you describe him), there are parts that are growing faster than expected and other parts that are growing slower than expected. That phenomenon is called Asynchronous Development. If the slower development is past a certain threshold in social skills, that is the autism. Both ASD1 & gifted retain access to their beneficial child-like qualities long after everyone else has outgrown theirs, but it creates a cultural disconnect, too, as everyone else ages in NT fashion.

    ASD1s & gifteds grow in those other areas, too, [we] just don't lose said childlike traits (like wonder) along the way.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2020
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