Attention Parents! You are vital….

I ran across the headline: “For LGBT teens, acceptance is critical“. I have always been interested in the struggle of LGBT teens because I see many parallels with Aspies. They are differentiated by something that they are born with and yet many people see as a personal choice or failure – something they can control.

The basic message of the article was that regardless of how much bullying a LGBT teen might be subjected to the way the adults in there world respond to their sexuality has a greater affect on their mental health and self esteem. Family acceptance of LGBT youth predicts positive outcomes in mental health, self esteem

This does not surprise me. As much as teens put up a front of not caring about or needing the approval of adults, individually, they still look to adult world to get their bearings.

All Aspie parents, the story you are giving your Aspie teen is vital to how they will make it through the struggles of transitioning from child to adult.

Are you embarrassed of your child?

Are they “Too much to handle?”

Are they “broken”?

I have been learning that changing my story, my perspective has a huge impact on how my son views himself.  Here are my personal keys:

  • Daniel isn’t flawed. His inability to fit into “norms” is neither good nor bad. It has benefits (a different view on the world) and challenges (communicating those views effectively). My job is to help him overcome the challenges and promote the benefits. I don’t want to change him I want to teach him to be bi-lingual – speaking both his native language and NT language.
  • Daniel doesn’t need to be normal. He needs to learn to self-advocate effectively through learning to communicate with people who are different then him – don’t we all.
  • Different is good.
  • Daniel’s shadow side is no different then all of our shadow side and like all of us, Daniel must learn healthy ways to address his shadow side. Asperger’s doesn’t give him a free pass for hurtful behavior – it just makes it easier for all of us to see and help him address.
  • Authenticity is a treasure – even if it presents in a package we didn’t expect.

I realize, that Daniel’s high functioning makes bridging the gap with the NT world easier. However, I believe that no matter what level of functioning a child/person can obtain, who they are individually is a good thing and they have something to offer – even if the challenges are great. I also believe that one of the many challenges as a special needs parent is sometimes my own perspective.

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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.
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4 Responses to Attention Parents! You are vital….

  1. Rachel says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I don’t have a child on the spectrum, but my older son is very passionate and intense. I find your thoughts on Daniel so beautiful & helpful!

    • aspergersmom says:

      Thank you so much! Each of our children are unique. The lessons I have learned with Daniel are almost always helpful in raising my other children more thoughtfully and consciously. I tell him often that his siblings are lucky he was born first!

  2. John says:

    Its much tougher being Aspie than LGBT-they have vocal rights groups and a community with bars,clubs,nightlife etc.We Aspies are isolated individuals with less rights and when we are murdered for being Aspie we don`t get acres of newsprint and media outrage.In fact hate crimes against us go unreported and unpunished.Two recent murders or Aspies by NT bullies went unreported in the UK national media,if they had been gay it would be in every news bulletin and on the front page.

    • aspergersmom says:

      It is great to hear the opinion of a person dealing with Asperger’s and Asperger’s related struggles daily. I think that there are similarities, but obviously they are not exactly the same. Like you said, Aspies tend to be more isolated in part because of the inherit nature of Asperger’s syndrome but also in part because of the prejudice they face. I have seen my Aspie son and others I know find the internet as a great forum for community. Also, the LGBT community has been lobbying for recognition for decades and as such they are further along in the process of obtaining recognition then the Aspie community. I read about the murders you referred to and they are horrible. Being the focus of violence and prejudice is very hard no matter the motivation for that prejudice. I hope that as time goes by more and more we will find ways to bridge the gaps between each of us. As a parent of a pre-teen Aspie, this article reminded me that even if my son seems to be less inclined to value my opinion on clothes, activities and trends, my opinion of him as communicated through my speech and action will carry a lot of weight.

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