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How to Be the Mother of a Child with Asperger’s – Part Two


::If you haven’t yet, read How to Be the Mother of a Child with Asperger’s – Part One::

asperger's mom Go back to the same bookstore where you ate the chocolate cake while you were pregnant. Buy every single book on Asperger’s Syndrome. Read incessantly. Learn that aside from being like any other child; he’s highly intelligent and has an abnormality in social interaction, which will affect his functioning.

Social interaction? Functioning? Too many variables.

Realize that you need to read some more books. Learn that he’s limited by recurring interests and behaviors, and that regardless of your repeating certain rules to him, he won’t understand them. Aren’t we all like that? You ask yourself. Continue to read for several weeks. Learn that he has a difficult time controlling his thoughts, and will often blurt out comments. Now you feel close to an expert on the topic.

Get interrupted by another phone call from school saying “Madam? Yes, your child told a teacher that she was wrong and had no idea what she was talking about?” Go pick your child up from school; he’s getting suspended, again. You’re glad you read that book; now you won’t be as mad. While driving to school you remind yourself that you have to go back to the bookstore where you purchased all those books. Finally get to buy that chocolate cake. Maybe you can come back with your child. Quickly scratch that thought from your brain. You cannot reward his bad behavior, even if it’s not his fault.

After a year of blurt statements, social embarrassments, and massive repetition, you wake up to all your silverware and plates perfectly aligned on the kitchen floor. Look puzzled. Although you don’t remember reading about it in the books, you imagine it might have something to do with the Asperger’s; perhaps another foible.

Go to your child’s room to inquire about the event. When you walk in, you find all of his toys aligned on his bedroom floor. He’s not there – another puzzled face. You hear the dog barking, you go to the backyard. Find your child tying perfectly symmetrical knots on a rope. Observe quietly for a while. Take mental notes. Crushed, you realize that it’s time to go back to the psychiatrist. Maybe he’ll be able to explain this behavior. Make a mental effort not to freak out.

Spend numerous hours at the psychiatrist’s office. Survey the many doctors that come in and out of the room hauling your child’s very thick and heavy medical chart. They mumble some medical nonsense here and there. Make an even bigger effort not to freak out. When they leave the room again, doze off on the counter.

You are really tired.

Be startled by the psychiatrist slamming the door behind him. Prepare yourself for his words, he looks concerned. “Your child has obsessive compulsive disorder. It’s common in Asperger’s children. He’s also hyperactive. He’ll need medicine so that he can properly function at school,” he says. Now it is safe to freak out. Cry. Say “no” to the doctor offering some tissues, they’ve been sitting on his desk for quite some time and they have collected a good amount of dust. You have allergies. Continue crying. In the absence of tissues, wipe your nose with the sleeve of your sweater – your son does it all the time and it seems to work wonders for him. Continue to cry, you’ve gotten good at this. Pay a visit to the pharmacy and buy the medicine. Give it to your child. Do this for about a week.

Apologize to your boss one more time. Make the false promise that it won’t happen again. Run out the door – your child got into trouble at school yet again.

On the drive there, remind yourself that you need to have a serious conversation with him. Scratch that thought from your brain. He’s not going to understand what you’re trying to explain. Arrive at the school’s office. Notice everyone’s very angry faces. Notice a big white round lady standing at a corner with a folder in her hand. That’s probably the language arts teacher. Your now seven year old son has described her to you as “a really big lady with nothing smart to say.”

You sit down where you are instructed to do so, you take a deep breath. You pay close attention to everyone trying to tell the story of the events at the same time. They seem very upset. One more time, your child has told a teacher she’s wrong. This time, he threw an intense temper tantrum repeating the words “you don’t understand; I know for a fact that you’re wrong!” You ask to speak with your child. He walks in. He looks upset, and you notice that he’s been crying. You become upset at this. You hug him and tell him you want to hear his version of the story.

The big white round lady tries to interrupt. You tell her to let him speak. “I see where he gets the attitude from,” she says. You’re mad at her comment, but disregard it. Your child explains how she “tried to compare the fossilization of two dinosaurs that I know did not live in the same era.” You have absolutely no clue what in the world he’s talking about, but have no doubt that your child is right, after all, he’s a dinosaur expert.

You say that you’ll deal with it at home, and take him with you. He wants to make sure the teacher understands that he wasn’t wrong; must be another Asperger’s thing. After some research and several color photocopies, you take the proof to school, and the big, white, round lady has to apologize to your son. He seems content with the outcome, and you are pleased with this. You go through similar events for about five years.

May 6, 2009 10:55 am

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