Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


How To Get Other Family Members To Accept Your Child's Diagnosis

"I'm a stay-at-home mom. My husband works out of town and is only home on weekends. My question is how can I get my husband and in-laws to accept our daughter’s diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome? They claim I am just 'making this up' and that it's really a behavior problem with her – not a 'disorder'."

Aspergers (High Functioning Autism) is hard to see if you don’t live with it every day like you do. Also, some family members are simply in denial. Either way, the truth should come out. Accepting the presence of this high functioning form of autism can lead to the best possible support and treatment available for your daughter. It’s crucial that all family members are on the same page. You could survive handling everything on your own, but life will be much easier for the whole family when everyone is working together to care for your daughter.

Some family members will choose to stand on the outside. You can’t do much about that. Nonetheless, you can equip them with information about autism spectrum disorders so they can make a choice regarding the position they plan to take. Here are some tips on how to accomplish this:
  1. Contact your local Autism support groups. Without family support, it is crucial that you find encouragement elsewhere. Tell your husband about community events or group meetings so he has the opportunity to stay informed.
  2. Find books, eBooks, videos, and other media sources that you can share with your family. A great place to start is The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook.
  3. If you haven’t done so already, involve your daughter in therapy with a professional who works with children on the autism spectrum. Hopefully, your daughter’s therapist will offer parent-training sessions. These sessions allow you to ask questions about your daughter’s program and her progress, while also educating you on her new goals and coaching you on how to meet these goals. Invite your husband and in-laws to attend this parent training. They can ask questions that will help them understand your daughter’s disorder.
  4. Network with other parents raising children on the spectrum. Listening to the stories of those parents who are ahead of you in the journey can give you and your husband insight into the disorder.
  5. Maybe your in-laws simply need to hear the truth from a doctor. Official paperwork containing your daughter’s diagnosis is available from your doctor, neurologist, or therapist. You can request copies of any Early Intervention assessments, private therapy evaluations, and school system evaluations. Explain to your in-laws that these individuals are professionals who see Aspergers and High Functioning Autism every day. You can also mention that the assessments and evaluations rely on much more than your input, removing any possibility that you are “making this up.”
  6. Lastly, get the support you need to help yourself and your daughter. Try not to worry about how the other family members are dealing with this. Always encourage their participation, but concentrate on your daughter’s needs.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


Anonymous said…  I think the acknowledgment is there, the trouble is, most people do not know the true difficulties and how it effects everyday life Every day is a struggle and every day brings new challenges. People who are not with your child day in and day out may think it is not a big deal and is easy... it is NOT. Also, that Aspies cannot be disciplined and treated the same as average children to get results.
Anonymous said…  From my personal experience, my son's Aspergers was not as apparent in the home setting in isolation from his peers. Once I saw him at school and noticed the stark difference between him and the other kids and how he did or did not interact with them it was much more obvious. Family members don't always get to see that, so it can be harder to make believers out of them.
Anonymous said…  My sister, who also has a degree in education, babysat my son along with his same aged cousin when they were both 2. She also taught a couple days per week at a Mother's Day Out day care setting. She noticed that my son was very different and often kept him with her because some of the other teachers were less able to handle him. Though my son is good at heart, his bad social judgment often resulted in issues at school each year. It was very frustrating! So when an insightful teacher recommended testing for him in 4th grade, resulting in the diagnosis, we finally had an explanation that made perfect sense to all of us! And I felt better about the future because his teachers could now better understand him instead of writing him off at just "passive aggressive" or simply "difficult." I think if people realize that a diagnosis can yield better understanding and teacher training gives teachers tools for better working with kids, then family can feel better about the child's prognosis and outcome.
* Anonymous said...  Love these articles. A lot of us deal with things similar. This is definitely something that happens with this diagnosis. Even I as the parent of a kiddo that has these tendencies, sometimes would question whether it was just a "behavior problem" or not...whether it was my parenting style or not. If you aren't with the child 24/7, you don't see the whole picture at all. Being education is so important. When one is educated on this particular much falls into place. 
* Anonymous said... i am now a single-mom to one ASD son & one non_ASD daughter. I lived out of state for 3 years. I couldnt wait to get back hom with my kiddos (& then husband). But noone welcomed us....not even my own mother (this was before the autism diagnosis). Even after, no one wanted to learn about it...we were just too much inconvience for their lives. I also kicked my husband out for various reasons....but "failure to understand autism" was a big one. It's a lonely life. Me & my 2 kids usually stay home & do the same routine everyday. I try to avoid public...because no one understands, & i dont want my children hurt :o( i'm from a state who fears "different people"...i've always been alternative myself. But, God, if you can at least help your husband "get free" & love you all like you are..that would be awesome for you guys. Who cares what in-laws (or even your own folks think!) let them learn! Or stay away. The world needs to be more open-minded not in "words at church" or "words on social media"
•    Anonymous said… I had this a lot with some friends & family and what I did was sent them a link to the National Autistic Societies website and asked them out of Respect to please read it, take it in and that the very fact they are choosing not to Learn more and accept our child for the way he/she is - hurts us more than our child's Diagnosis! Some really made the effort to read more and some didn't bother! This is very common and I have to be honest and say I chose to close the door on those that would not accept my son for who he is! You are not alone! Keep your head up and just always put your child before others
•    Anonymous said… Thankfully most people in my life are accepting and understanding, but I have this problem with my sons father... He refuses it completely, and during the long process of getting a diagnosis of Aspergers, he tried to make me stop taking our son to the appointments completely. I would like to say things are getting easier, but since my sons diagnosis, his father and I have actually split up, after 22 years together, and sadly this was one of our major issues that caused it. It's exhausting.. It's all on my shoulders.. I work day after day with my son..And then he goes and spends a weekend with his Dad and comes back to me in turmoil because his Dad refuses to learn how to properly deal with a child with Aspergers. I've tried everything to get him to face reality unsure emoticon I think there are some people who will just never get it..
•    Anonymous said… Unfortunately a lot of the symptoms are typical of "normal" kids but when you add them all together they spell Aspergers. I think this website has a concise list that might help those who don't want to read much. My son pretty much had all the symptoms but most of them were fairly mild. Had we not had him in a daycare setting where his caretakers would notice his interactions, we may have just written him off as quirky. Early intervention is the key. He is now seven and was diagnosed between 2 and 3 and it's made a HUGE difference. He has "outgrown" most of his issues but still has social problems to a degree.

 More comments below…


jj said...

Sharing these blogs with my family through facebook and email has really helped them understand aspergers. It hurts to have family members believe that you are a bad parent because they see poor social skills in your child. Remember not to take comments personal. You know your child best and are doing what you can so you are a great parent.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie Moore I use to think if I heard one more time "don't you think he'll grow out of it" I'd scream. I've realized over the years that sometimes you just need to let people know that it's rough and you need some support. By being willing to speak openly about some of the issues we face, I believe you can raise awareness and help other to understand.
about a minute ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Theresa Van Poucke-Shanahan My family are so old school....they say unbelievable things such as, there is nothing wrong with him that a good beating wouldn't cure, you are just spoiling him, put your foot down and the worst are not a good parent. Their negativity has turned me against them.
17 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Well, I grew up in the stone ages before anybody knew anything about Aspergers. During my son's evaluation process, I realized that I fit the diagnositic criteria for Aspergers as well. But my parents and teachers were clueless about what my deal was. I can attest that my Aspergers traits have caused a great degree of pain and confusion in my life. As a child, though nobody discussed these issues with me, I noticed that I was different. I struggled with handwriting and wondered why I had so much more trouble with it than the other kids. I could read just fine, but when I read aloud in class, I struggled terribly because I could not coorinate those different areas of my brain like the other kids. I never understood why the other kids didn't want to play with me....and it hurt....deeply!!! My son on the other hand has had a tremendous amount of help with social skills and handwriting. He understands that he is highly intelligent in some areas and needs to work harder in others...and that he is a wonderful person with much to offer. He is SO MUCH BETTER OFF because we understand what is going on with him and HE GETS HELP APPROPRIATE TO HIS DIAGNOSIS!!! He has confidence and self-esteem far beyond what I had at his age and he is much better off! Theresa, I pray that your family can grow to understand that one size does not fit all when it comes to dealing with handling behavior of children. Aspergers children do need discipline ( like any child. BUT it is important to understand the intend of behavior and how well that particular child manages it. For example, now that I understand Aspergers better, I know that I have to make sure my son really is hearing me when I ask him to do a chore. If he is absorbed by visual stimuli, he can be oblivious to auditory input. Before he gets in trouble for not doing something, I have to ensure that he really did understand what I was asking of him. So a diagnosis can be crucial in discovering better ways to handle a child.

Anonymous said...

Theresa Van Poucke-Shanahan
Hi Deborah...Brian does have a diagnosis of Aspergers. He just turned 8....we got the diagnosis when he was 6. It has been a difficult road but I focus on my son strong points. My child amazes me everyday. I am so proud of him. We do continue to work on areas that are very difficult for him.....but continue we do. I see so much potential in Brian, it is there, but anger, behavior and anxiety are every present. We have strategies and sometimes it works, but we keep moving ahead. Brian will start grade 3 and I am very impressed with the team that will be working with him. I am hoping and praying for the best. Regarding the comments I made about my family, it hurts, they know he has Aspergers but the don't believe me. My mother states "those doctors don't know what they are talking about" So...I give up when it comes to them, but I am continually advocating for Brian and will never stop. I feel truly sad for your ordeal growing up. I truly feel your pain. Take Care and be well.
3 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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