Should I Tell My Son He Has Aspergers?

Thanks to my friend and fellow Aspergers mom at Meet Chaz for linking to an article by another Aspie John Robison, When Should You Tell a Child They Have Asperger’s?”.

I like his practical and common sense approach. He focuses on the practical skills your child will need and the best time in life to focus on specific skills. I particularly agreed when he says, “I don’t think there is a hard and fast answer.” Mr. Robison discusses a desire to balance acknowledging your child’s differences without “labeling” them too soon and risking discouraging them and making them feel inferior. Mr. Robison suggests telling your child as the teen years get close.

I have never had a sit down with Daniel when I announced to him that he had Asperger’s. By the time Daniel, at the age of 8 had a diagnosis, he was already very frustrated with school and much of life. Almost immediately, he and I started discussing that he had a “special brain”.

The word “Asperger’s” was not used. Instead there were stories of the great contributors of history who also had beautiful, if quirky minds. The story of Einstein, one of the most brilliant minds of the 20th Century forgetting to wear his pants was a favorite.

The word Asperger’s actually surfaced when Daniel’s younger brother, Robert asked why Daniel’s brain was special. I explained Asperger’s Syndrome to him. While telling Robert about Asperger’s helped Robert to be more compassionate to Daniel, it also made it necessary to introduce the word into the conversation with Daniel. Slowly, I began to substitute “Asperger’s” for “Special Brain. “

Now days, Daniel knows he has Asperger’s. He also knows that Asperger’s is a description, not a definition. More then anything, Daniel believes he has a beautiful mind.

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About aspergersmom

I am a 35 year old woman. I am the wife of an amazing man, who keeps me sane. As a recent California/Florida transplant to the midwest and the mother to a combined family of 6 children; 3 boys, 3 girls, my life is an adventure. I blog and raise our family with my best friend.
This entry was posted in A beautiful mind, Asperger Traits, Blogs I Read, His Story, Hot Button Topic. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Should I Tell My Son He Has Aspergers?

  1. Elaine says:

    Interesting post. We were given a provisional diagnosis before our son was five. I remember friends saying they hadn’t know until their son was seven and I envied them the two years of ignorance. I can’t remember ever not talking to our son about. From the moment we knew DJ did – in a this is what it is now let’s keep dealing. The definition only helped make the reality concrete for us.

  2. Judeth Davis says:

    I have watched the progression with Daniel as you have given him tools to “see his seeing” and understand that different can also mean valuable. I remember the first time he informed me that he had a special brain and he could think about things in unusual ways. I knew then that you were on a great track with him. Bravo!

    • aspergersmom says:

      Thank you! Mom!

      Everyone: This is an example of why it is important for parents on the spectrum to have support. Those who love us help us remember our successes when we are discouraged, encourage us to keep taking it one day at a time and celebrate our successes with us.

  3. David Happ says:

    I hadn’t visited your blog for awhile. I’m glad I did, because I loved reading this. Great job with your blog………and with Daniel.

  4. joe says:

    God. I can’t stand parents or society.

    My own parents attempted to hide all sorts of things from me thinking I wouldn’t understand. It NEVER worked.

    WHY would you do such a thing! You are not protecting your child. Involve your kid in there education, health, and well being. Decisions should be a joint effort when it comes to school and a kid with anything that differentiates them should be informed about anything related to any testing.

    Aspergers is not an illness like a headache. It’s just where someone falls on a spectrum. It is not necessarily disabling. Somebody with Aspergers is just strong, better, etc in certain areas than other areas. It is no different than being gay. It isn’t bad. Unless you are one of the wholly screwed up individuals who thinks being gay is bad.

    People with Aspergers suffer BECAUSE of your idiocy in trying to protect them. You haven’t, you can’t, you won’t. Chances are anything you do will only make things worse. That includes not telling them. Keep out of your childs business. They are more able to deal with it then you. They are the ones who have to develop coping mechanisms of any inefficiencies in certain areas. Not you.

    Keep your kid informed about there health. Even if your kid is 5 he should be told using ADULT language. Explain it. He might not understand it and that is OK. It doesn’t matter. Kids aren’t stupid and your kid will undoubtedly will figure it out quickly enough anyway. At a minimum they know they are lacking in certain social abilities and excel elsewhere. You are just making them feel awkward by hiding the obvious. You don’t have to “talk” with them. There is nothing wrong at times with a one way conversation. Just tell them how it is. If they have any questions they will ask or seek them elsewhere.

    Leave it to the person with Aspergers to tell other people or not. You shouldn’t be telling an older or younger sibling about another without there consent. It is just morally reprehensible.

    I can’t believe parents need this spelled out for them.

    25 with Aspergers.

  5. dave says:

    wow, good reading. Our son has aspergers and is going on 18. He gets sooo angry at the slightest thing, which regarding aspergers is the only thing that concerns us.

    Did you have violent outburst when you were that age? I have been thinking of taking him to the GP to see if counseling would help or possibly mild medication.

    Thoughts Please, Dave

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