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Should I talk to him about the AS diagnosis ?

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Gordon, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. Gordon

    Gordon New Member

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    Hi, I am a new member, and this is my first post. First of all, I have to say that I’m really happy to have found this forum, since in my country there exist no such initiatives where people who face Asperger’s Syndrome can communicate to each other.

    I am a father of a 13-year-old boy with an official Asperger diagnosis since he was 9 yo. He is a very smart kid, very pleasant, and always trying to find friends, but often facing rejection from his peers. His “special interest” is primarily video games and writing his own stories – he can work with them all day long. He really likes staying at home, alone in his room, and playing with video games. He enjoys very much the visit from other kids of his age, but they usually are bored with his “special interests” and leave pretty soon, which makes him really unhappy. I have talked to psychologists, arranged many sessions with him, but honestly, there was no progress at all.

    Since the diagnosis, I have tried to gather any information regarding the needs of a teenager with Asperger, read a lot of books, and visiting any site I could find referring to AS. I understand that I must discover new activities outside the house, that would help him socialize and communicate with other people. I have tried many such alternatives, but soon he seems bored, not enjoying them and quits. Lately, I tried to get him to play tennis, which (for now) he seems to enjoy very much, likes his coach and looks like I’ve found one way to get him out of the house and enrich his interests.

    My questions for any friends who could assist, are:

    1. Should I talk to him about the diagnosis? if yes, are there any tips that could be useful to me in such a discussion (e.g. words and terms to use or not to use, what reactions to expect and how to handle them etc). In Attwood’s book I have found some helpful tips, but they come from a professional – I was wondering about the experiences of a parent who has actually made such a discussion…

    2. Are there any tips on how to attract his interest on activities outside the house or any ideas for such activities that are suitable for AS kids with similar profile like my boy?

    3. Are there any ideas on how to make school more interesting to him? He has many problems with his lessons and his grades. I have arranged an assisting teacher to be dedicated to him during all school hours, and a teacher helping him with his homework in the afternoons, I myself help him as much as I can, but he “hates school”, so the results are really poor…

    My ex-wife cannot understand much about the needs of a teenager boy with AS, and actually, there is no one to discuss these issues, so any help would be extremely useful to me. Thank you in advance.
     
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  2. BrokenBoy

    BrokenBoy 戯言使い(Nonsense User)

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    1. Yes tell him.

    2. I dunno

    3. Tell him to suck it up and git gud at school or else he'll be homeless and have no place in this world.
     
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  3. wonderingmom

    wonderingmom Active Member

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    Hello!

    I’m new on the forum too, and I’m here for similar reasons. I have son, 15, who sounds a lot like yours. He has an ADHD diagnosis, but I’m sure he’s on the spectrum, and I’m trying to figure out whether pursuing a diagnosis would be worthwhile. We live in the US - Washington DC area. Living in a big metropolitan area, you would think we’d have no trouble finding an excellent pediatric/adolescent psychologist, but our experiences have been really disappointing. We’ve worked with psychologists at practices that cater to kids with ADHD and ASD (or probably rather to their parents, honestly), but even in those settings, it’s rare to find anyone who really “gets” outside-the-box kids.

    So I’m afraid I can’t offer any answers; but I can tell you that you are not alone. I hope to see you around the forum!
     
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  4. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    Hello & welcome.
    Which country is that? (See if there is a national autism society there.)
    Here is USA info, but the online links & info should be helpful to others, too.

    Autlanders, Thriving Outside of the Box: Finding Support Resources in the USA...
    Your description sounds like he is ASD1; that he doesn't have too many complications. If that is true, start off by emphasizing that he thinks differently without using the word "autism" right away. (Most people, children & adults, don't hear that word correctly at first.) As he gets comfortable about the idea (and you come to terms about what autism is & isn't), then you can bring him up to speed.
    In his particular case, I would look at some of the things that he likes to write about. Maybe there is some real-world activities that could improve his writing...?
    Find out what he wants to be/do when he grows up and show him how his various classes are important toward reaching those goals.

    Also, have him tested for intellectual giftedness, too (make sure that they use a non-verbal IQ test). If he is gifted, too, a gifted class (if you have them) will help with both his giftedness AND his autism. (It's okay if he is not gifted, though.)
     
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  5. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    Think first you need to step back a min and think about how you made friends growing up. It's hard for everybody to make friends, not just your son.

    I spent a lot of high school in my room doing creative things. See if there are any interesting volunteer slots for teens, they have this in US. This will help him develop soft skills set, and this can go on resume, application for college. Nonprofit organizations are great to volunteer for. My daughter didn't have much of a social life as a tween, but once she got driver's license, she suddenly became motivated to work p/t as cashier. Never even talked to her about jobs. She also didn't want to get her driver's license. So what am l really saying??? Don't concentrate on what you think is a deficiency, he may really enjoy his downtime. At some point, he will mature and surprise you.!
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  6. clg114

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

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    Welcome to Autism Forums!
     
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  7. VictorR

    VictorR Random Member

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    Welcome @Gordon and @wonderingmom!

    I agree with @BrokenBoy and @Crossbreed that it would probably be best to tell him, and from there, let him decide what he wishes to do with that knowledge. For many people, the spectrum itself can become a special interest.

    I have to commend you for constantly trying different things and that he's found a physical activity / sport that he seems to enjoy - it's something I wish I found sooner myself as participating in and going to events, even if one is not particularly social, and is participating solo, can still be very rewarding.

    At the risk of veering into helicopter parent territory, have you considered the possibility, depending on population, of starting a club/association in your area around one of your son's interests?

    As for school, my own description of high school was "damnatio memoriae" and I too had mediocre grades, but I ultimately finished two undergraduate degrees on the Dean's List.
     
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  8. Gordon

    Gordon New Member

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    Hi again. I want to thank you for your support and for your great tips and ideas !

    Just to sum up:

    1. I should talk to him about the diagnosis, avoiding “medical” terms that could confuse or scare him - just tell him that “he sees things differently”, and that “this explains situations, such as the relative lack of friends, different interests, or the need for solitude for long periods of time”.

    2. Activities suitable for him could include: real-world activities related to his stories (I took him once to a conference about writing comic stories and he really loved it), search for volunteering groups where he could participate, try to start a club or association related to special interests. I will also continue taking him to the tennis club for as long as he enjoys it - I have noticed that, among others, it helps him very much in overcoming a slight clumsiness he has...

    3. As for school, associate his goals for his future (btw, he dreams of being a youtuber for videogames…) with his various classes and explain why they are important toward implementing them (btw, that’s a great idea Crossbreed !).

    4. His “issues” with socialization and social interaction do not necessarily mean that he is unhappy all the time, and there is always the possibility that, over time, they may be reduced. I surely hope so, I really want to see this kid grow up happy – he deserves it, as any other kid !

    Once again, thank you all for your support and valuable tips !
     
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  9. SusanLR

    SusanLR Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gorden and Welcome to the forums.

    I think you should talk with him about the ASD. I think it would help him understand a lot
    about life and how he reacts to it.

    As far as getting him outside of the house, well, I've always enjoyed nature, animals and had/have
    an interest in insects. If you could find something outdoors that he takes an interest in it would get him
    out into the world at least.
    I learned to like tennis too when I was older.

    The friends part I don't know what to say on that subject because I never developed the desire for friends
    as I grew up. I didn't mind school, but, I just didn't get into the friends thing.
    It was like the old saying: "You can take the horse to water, but...."
    Talking is usually accepted if done on an intellectual level. Not scolding, shaming or punishment.
    Those won't work with Aspies.
     
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  10. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Yes I agree that giving reasons for things is important. I had no idea why I was being taught most of the academic subjects in the curriculum, I concluded many were pointless.

    I m still not sure though, that it would have been possible to link the content of the curriculum, in some areas, to any career aspirations I had, but I think if someone had said clearly, bottom line is, you do have to get maths O level to get to university, that would have made me try harder. And perhaps some of the reason we were being taught the specific content could have been explained? I m still not sure on that one...

    Anyway, despite not trying, feeling disinterested and even giving up and reading a book toward the end of the course, I still passed. Luckily. And because it was a good school.

    It's great that you are making these efforts for him, and he's old enough to discuss this more with you now and make plans for himself with you.
     
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  11. Crossbreed

    Crossbreed Neur-D Missionary ☝

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    At the end of my Algebra 2 (high school) class, we were introduced to "matrix" math. Before that (and after), I had always been a quick study in math, but that math completely confounded me because I had (and still have) no clue what real-world problems it was useful for.

    Every other math that I encountered, I did not have that problem.
     
  12. Dadamen

    Dadamen Well-Known Member

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    Math... Sometimes the best in my class, sometimes completely fail the test and sometimes something between. Had an A at the end of the last school year, but barely got it and wrote an extra test in June to get it, also the teacher was not strict because of pandemic and online school.

    When I was 13 years old my father pulled me into basketball, didn't get me into club, but tried to teach it himself because he played it when he was young. I was bored with it, but at the age of 15 I started enjoying cycling and started cycling every day. After I started cycling he dosen't push me to basketball anymore. Also, in high school I have easier P.E, so no more bad P.E. marks that worried him.

    I feel like at the 12-13 years, father tried to change me to be like he likes. Now with 16 he accepted me to be what I am and dosen't pressure me to do any activities. I advice the thread author to accept his son the way he is as long his behaviour is appropirate.
     
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