Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


Parents With Asperger Syndrome

Parents with Aspergers exhibit either minor and/or significant problems in their parenting. Problems experienced by moms and dads who meet most or all of the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers are significant and yet little understood in the child welfare community. This is in part because the able autistic parent community is invisibly disabled.

Problems in parenting are linked directly to the core neuro-cognitive clinical features of Aspergers itself, namely weak central coherence, poor cognitive shifting & lack of a theory of mind.

In this way, the problems experienced by these moms and dads may be described as being organic in origin. Elsewhere these problems have been described as occasionally presenting as either organic neglect or organic abuse. [2]

Some of these moms and dads exhibit what I refer to herein as a parenting-disability. [3] That is, they suffer from significant neurological deficits that show up as deficits in their parenting tool kit. These deficits in turn impact on their global parenting capacity.

The question of degree of affectedness vis-a-vis capacity to parent is spectrum dependant. Always in addressing parenting problems with this population parent capacity assessors and custody and access assessors need to ask themselves the primary question:

Where is this parent’s placement along the spectrum?

The presence of neurocognitive features of ASPERGERS may not be as problematic in other spheres of the parent’s life [4] but ASPERGERS cognitive phenomenon impact significantly on parenting capacity in a unique and highly specific manner. The fact that a parent may be relatively high functioning in the work place is not an indicator that parenting is not affected in the manner described herein.

There are many aspects that accrue to the optimal parenting of kids that includes nurturing, care taking, relating, understanding, teaching, short and long term planning and the provision of support to the youngster (emotional, relational and financial) as well as guidance. Parenting then necessarily involves an intense interplay between parent and child cognition and between parent and child emotional reciprocity.

Many moms and dads with Aspergers are eager to parent in their kid’s best interests and clearly work hard to understand their kids. However, they suffer from the affecting neurological problems noted herein.

This fact is illustrated by reports of parents [5] with Aspergers themselves. In her autobiographical text Dr. Holliday Willey states:

"we cannot help but tell people what we think the moment we think it. I never for instance leave my kids to wonder what I am thinking& I routinely vocalize my thought processes, often to their dismay ....things are often skewed in our family, turned so that Mom ends up relying on the kids for their judgment and guidance...&. I look to then as confidants and best friends...and I ask them to help me find my way out of malls & to hold my hand when my anxiety mounts, to tell me if I am saying things that no one wants to hear." (Holliday Willey 1999). [6]

Unfortunately, due to the very nature of the disorder, this population rarely avails itself of parent education seminars or workshops where there is evident need for use of such resources. The result is that even very young kids are routinely parentified by these moms and dads.

This is because as a group, autistic parents lack insight into their own autistic condition and into the impact of it in their role as parent. Those few affected moms and dads who do see that their parenting needs to be shored up often fail to see the overall impact of their parenting problems on their kids as being significant.

If they did, being the committed moms and dads they so often are, they might be more willing to seek out autism-appropriate parent supports & resources.

The need for use of such services is even more essential when one acknowledges that many moms and dads with Aspergers have kids with similar profiles to their own (special needs kids on the autistic spectrum) and who are an enormous challenge to parent. This is true even for those parents who do not share similar spectrum-sitting profiles to Aspergers parents.

A description of one problematic parent profile may be seen in The Ontario Association of Children's Aid Society Journal 2003 referenced below.

There are many neurological aspects of Aspergers that impact on the ability to parent. There are three that I present here as being The Big Three. They are as follows:

1. Poor Cognitive Shifting—

Studies in the area of cognition have noted that those on the autistic spectrum have problems with updating the scope and focus of their attention. (Berger et al 2003). It has been suggested that this particular attentional difference may stem from an innate inability to reorient attention rapidly (also Berger et al., 2003). The latter is itself an attentional deficit of significance when the parent has care and control of young kids.

Moms and dads need to be able to reorient their attention frequently and often need to be able to do so under pressure.

It has also been noted in the research that many individuals on the spectrum share a deficit in the shifting and sifting of attention between sensory schemas as well (see reference 2 below).

This significant feature also plays out in parenting. These deficits tie in with other neurological differences of Aspergers such as sensory hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity. Together they impact directly on the core tasks of parenting.

For example: The appearance of a sudden very strong odor may prevent the parent from noticing what the youngster is (also suddenly) doing.

Further on the matter of sensory issues, these moms and dads frequently attest that they find it difficult to tolerate the normal noise, mess and chaos of childhood and especially the high pressure needs of special needs kids for any length of time.

Moms and dads on the spectrum cope with what are essentially neurological insults by any of a number of means: by leaving the situation, by shutting down, melting down or through withdrawing from the toxic stimuli. This fact leaves kids to fend for themselves. [7]

This problem needs to be addressed by child psychologists so that this may be addressed in custody access assessments, by child welfare social workers and importantly, by these moms and dads themselves so that kids in these families can be better cared for when Aspergers parent thresholds have been exceeded.

Related to problems of attention deficit are features of impairment in the employment of visual attention, and, problems in attending to both auditory and visual information as well as apparent problems in attending to many visual items simultaneously.[8] Where the latter is a cognitive feature one might ask how twins for example, could be managed.

Moms and dads with Aspergers with three or four kids may admit to struggling with information and sensory input at play grounds and fair grounds and parks for example. In this way they are no different from kids with Aspergers (on whom most of the research has been conducted to date, and about whom we remain most comfortable discussing in almost every forum).

During parenting time, spectrum-sitting parents may claim they are over stimulated & overwhelmed neurologically [9] or they may blame others around them for their distress. The former is seen in the Holliday Willey book where the authors own sensory issues and other clinical features of her Aspergers present as central to her parenting.

A question that needs to be asked by involved child experts about an individual parent is:

When this parent is neurologically over whelmed, how well does he or she function with this youngster?

2. Theory of Mind—

The second of The Big Three neurological features that these moms and dads lack is a theory of mind (ToM). ToM is one ability we have to make sense of the world we live in (it is not the only one).

This theory purports that an individual's thoughts, knowledge, beliefs and desires make up his or her own unique theory of mind.

Lack of ToM, or mind blindness is a term of art coined by neurocognitive theorist Simon Baron Cohen. Baron Cohen proposes that a core feature of autism is the inability to know (deduce) what others know and what others do not know.

Those who are mind blind, he suggests, are unable to ascribe mental states to others as communication is taking place (or thereafter I presume). Assumedly this is not an either/or condition, with some individuals being more and others being less mind blind than non-autistic individuals.

The Mind Blind Parent:

Mind blind parents with Aspergers frequently cannot correctly discern the thoughts, wishes, knowledge or intentions of their own youngster. What is more remarkable than this reality however, is the fact that this reality is not yet seen in the custody and access or child welfare case law.

No one has looked closely at what it means to be parented someone who lacks theory of mind. However, those who were parented by autistic moms and dads are intimately familiar with the experience. This is a matter of concern especially as regards kids who are in the sole care of such a parent as at access (during marital separation), or death of the non-autistic parent, or abandonment by the non-autistic parent.

In the ToM paradigm, it is believed that non-autistic people mind read effortlessly during communication and that mind reading, in the sense that autism theorist Baron Cohen and his colleagues mean is an integral part of communication and of our innate capacity to relate to, for example, our kids.

It is evident then that mind blindness or lack of a ToM cannot but play a central role in global parenting capacity.

To look at this issue more closely we need to ask the question:

What is it to be an infant and to be parented by a woman who lacks both central coherence and ToM?

I submit that with the pre-verbal child, ToM is the sina qua non of parenting capacity. It is the core parenting feature relied upon by an adult to effectively parent an infant.

Mothers (and fathers) must and do inherently know the wishes and needs of their infants, for how else can they meet their needs?

For those who posit that this discussion is somehow anti-disability, I note herein that the needs of infants can be well discerned by fully blind parents, provided they have intact ToM. Physically blind non-autistic parents are capable of ostensive-inferential communication and so on. Moreover, as a group, they gladly accept parenting aids when offered.

Clearly moms and dads per se rely greatly on the presence of their own theory of mind in order to parent. Clearly those parents who lack one also lack a core parenting skill.

Taking ToM into consideration, one can see that moms and dads with full blown Aspergers would have enormous problems conceptualizing and understanding the nature of and the context of the thoughts and feelings of those they are parenting.

Having regard to ToM one may pose the question:

Do kids have a need to be (read) understood at a fundamental level by their parents?

I submit they do, and to the degree that a parent lacks this ability and where that parent is the primary attachment figure there will be, as yet unnamed, attachment problems for the youngster.

The most recent child psychology research clearly shows that the major factor leading to a secure attachment is the caregiver's sensitivity and responsively to their youngster's needs and signals. (quote from the paper on Attachment and Child Protection by Dr. Tim Smith, PhD., C. Psych, in Enhancing Your Ability To Represent Your Client. Understanding the Clinical Aspects of the Child Protection Case as published by the Law Society of Upper Canada in 2004 at the Continuing Legal Education Program Conduct of the Child Protection File in February and March 2004).

Moms and dads who lack a theory of mind may claim they have only a little mind blindness. In my view this is like being a little bit pregnant. Being able to only figure out first order intentions but not the second order meta intentions is still going to result in severe parent-child miscommunication. Kids are intuitive and perceptive and will know that there are perceptual gaps at play in their relationships with their ASPERGERS parents. This issue has been addressed in part by the Failure of Relevance Theory (see Happes work). A great deal more research is still needed, especially around parenting, and more so of parenting young kids.

How do kids address it?

Again, no one has studied the impact of ASPERGERS on parent child development, but anecdotal evidence suggests these kids need counseling around some of the Aspergers behaviors they grow up with.

If we look at an example of one pattern of parental ASPERGERS behavior one can see how this impacts: Mind blind parents have difficulty distinguishing whether their youngster's actions are intentional or accidental. This is huge for a youngster over the course of years. Non-autistic parents face this dilemma at times, but not in the manner or degree of the Aspergers parent. This one small piece adds enormous dysfunction to these families.

Determining intentionality per se requires ToM. (Francesca Happe offers a sophisticated discussion of this issue in the Frith text). Lack of a ToM in the example above leads to very evident problems around child discipline, criticism, resentment, blame, and correcting behavior (punishment) with obvious related issues for child mental health.

Discussions with kids of ASPERGERS parents almost uniformly reveal child concerns with being scape goated, with the wrongful attribution of guilt or innocence amongst kids in times of familial dispute.

Some moms and dads with ASPERGERS suffer from poor or extremely poor impulse control and from autistic rage and may react strongly to a miss-perceived child behavior. Clearly this is an issue that needs further exploration by child psychologists and social workers.

Face blindness or Agnosia a neurological inability to recognize and read faces. Individuals with a variety of neurological conditions suffer from Agnosia, including moms and dads with Aspergers.

Agnosia is a problem that adds to the overall problem of reading ones kids for these moms and dads. In this context it may be seen as a subset of mind blindness. Digby Tantam's work addresses some of the problems that those on the spectrum experience with their inability to read facial expressions. Face blindness in addition to mind blindness handicaps the parent attempting to reach and relate to their youngster. If the youngster also suffers from face blindness it is easy to see how safety concerns might arise (all inadvertent).

As much as the autistic community argues that autism is a difference as opposed to a disorder, one cannot help but wonder how the youngster of a mother with Aspergers is being helped by this difference in terms of all that we have learned about evolution from Charles Darwin & all that we have learned about the psyche from Dr. Sigmund Freud. Surely it is problematic for a youngster when its primary attachment figure cannot discern the nature of its emotional state either through mind reading or looking at its facial expression.

I suggest that misreading one's child's facial expressions could prove very dangerous for that youngster. (Is he drowning or playing? Is she choking or coughing?).

I submit that mind blindness in a mother is the very opposite of what we know to be mothers instinct (Elizabeth Tinburgen, married to Nobel Prize winner Niko Tinburgen has interestingly done important work in both the areas of Mother's Instinct and autism), namely the uncanny ability that many mothers have to know and sense the state of their youngster's condition (whatever it may be) even if the youngster is in denial, unaware or pre-verbal. Parents rely on reading their youngster's face to understand and respond to signs in the youngster of alarm, distress, fatigue, nausea and signs of sadness, loneliness, joy, and fear.

If we take the example of childhood illnesses, long before clinical signs show up, non-autistic mothers can tell that something is amiss with their youngster. Pediatric literature now advises pediatricians to listen to the parents of their patient’s sixth sense or intuition. I suggest what is taking place is heightened mind reading in the sense that Baron Cohen means is. Pediatrically Mothers instinct then is a noted added & valuable clinical sign.[1] It is a parenting feature that supports child well being. Its absence I argue has the opposite effect. This is an important child welfare issue additionally because autistic offspring have high pain thresholds and have been known not to self report even very serious illness and so signs and signals MUST be seen by the moms and dads of these kids. On this, pediatricians may need to become aware that the parent who brings the youngster to see him or her may not in fact be fully able to correctly describe that youngster's condition or illness or its severity.

When it comes to kids, moms and dads are normally very highly tuned & read very well to signals of all kinds that their kids give to them. Unless of course they are signal blind, mind blind, or face blind.

Aspergers moms and dads are, to borrow Daniel Goleman's term, mis-atuned (dyssemic). There is a nice little discussion of this issue in his book Emotional Intelligence Why it May Matter More than I.Q. This is not a judgment, it just is. Once we better understand the how's and whys of this the better we will be able to intervene to help parent and youngster out.

Kids need a parent who can read them. This speaks to issues of security and safety. It also speaks to how kids learn what intimacy means in their family of origin. Lessons about security, attachment and intimacy are key cornerstone emotional sign posts of childhood.

3. Weak Central Coherence—

Central coherence is the ability we have to focus on both details as well as wholes of a given situation and to follow through on plans in a variety of areas. It is also the ability we have to focus on what takes priority and what is important.

Many parents with Aspergers hyper focus in on details rather than wholes, and have odd focusing of attention something that has been noted in the literature as 'weak central coherence'.

This has obvious consequences on performance of the short and long term core tasks of parenting. This feature of ASPERGERS Parenting is seen in the Holliday Willey book where she describes her own parenting problems that are caused by her weak central coherence.

It also shares child safety consequences. Odd focus of attention can prove lethal (in a car, at the sea side, at the cliffs edge). Non-autistic parents with partners with ASPERGERS all seem to have anecdotal stories that illustrate the significant safety issues with weak central coherence).

Any one of the above three neurocognitive features alone would impact on parenting capacity. But together they are significant and may place kids at risk.

Being able to see the whole picture or the big picture is part of what moms and dads need to be able to do in order to teach a variety of childhood learning tasks over the course of childhood as well as to be a reliable stable presence.


1. Anxiety is another problem. Author and Asperger 's Syndrome parent Liane Holiday Willey's book Pretending to Be Normal Living with Aspergers[10] offers a snap shot of a diagnosed mothers problems with the core and other instrumental tasks of parenting. Dr. Holliday Willey's own anxiety is a feature of her Aspergers that takes center stage in her compelling book.

2. Emotional disorders are a problem. Kids are forced to accommodate parental rage, some of which is directed at them and which (see theory of mind above) has nothing at all to do with the youngster.

3. Executive function deficits cause problems especially where there is a separation or divorce and the parent with Aspergers finds him or herself in the position of having to exercise these kinds of skills for his or her youngster alone. Kids in these settings are exposed to an endless series of things lost, things forgotten, appointments missed, late pick-ups, and late drop-offs and so on. In some cases these kids are also caught in the middle as the non autistic parent struggles to keep some kind of order to the youngster's life in the face of disability (which itself masquerades as conflict).[11]

4. When autistic obsessive behavior and or preservations are added to the problems posed above, moms and dads with Aspergers will find it overtly difficult to put their youngster's needs first.

Children Raised by Aspergers Parents—

Reports received by people raised by parents with Aspergers are somewhat disturbing. Many children of Aspergers parents report that they developed severe self-esteem problems because their mother or father could not give them the warmth, empathy and caring they needed growing up. These same people reported bouts with severe depression from what they perceived as rejection from their Aspergers parent on an emotional level. The child’s physical needs were well taken care of, but they had no emotional support. For people raised by parents with Aspergers, the lack of emotional support seemed to have hurt them very much.

Because of the symptoms, it might seem from a child’s perspective that their Aspergers parent does not love them. That is not the case at all. The Aspergers parent loves their child very much. It is the lack of social and communicative skills from the disorder that just makes it look that way to the child. In these cases it would seem very important for the children raised by parents with Aspergers to have support from a specialist.

Your partner may have Aspergers if he or she has most of the following traits:

1. Becomes withdrawn and seems to be uninterested in others, appearing aloof
2. Has an intense and all-consuming special interest or hobby
3. Has difficulty interpreting body language and facial expressions
4. Has difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm because he takes everything in a very literal way
5. Has poor social awareness and finds it hard to imagine how his behavior impacts on other people
6. Has sensory difficulties …oversensitive to touch or smell or noise or to a particular taste …has a very limited diet)
7. Loves routines and gets very upset if these are broken
8. Struggles to maintain friendships

Characteristics of an Aspergers Parent—

• Perfectionism
• Regimentation
• Anger
• Abuse

Child’s Perception—

• Criticism not compliments
• Desire to leave home
• Disagreements between parents
• Egocentric priorities
• Embarrassment in public
• Favoritism
• Fear of the ‘cold’ touch of affection
• Fear of the parent’s mood and not to antagonize
• Feeling a nuisance
• Intolerance of noise and friendships
• Lack of affection, understanding and support
• Parent has a monologue on their own problems

Child’s Reaction—

• Escape using imagination, solitude, alternative family
• Hatred
• Seeking affection and approval


• Explaining the person to other family members
• Recognizing the disorder in a parent
• Resolving past issues


Recent research has raised awareness of adult Aspergers. We now have a more sophisticated understanding of the various neuropsychological and cognitive features of this condition.

This awareness has not yet been addressed in the context of its existence as a parenting-disability, which I have suggested herein it is. Aspergers, whether in a youngster or a parent or both, is an important child welfare issue. While the issue seems to make us very uncomfortable, we owe it to kids to take it seriously.

Moms and dads with Aspergers require a great deal of support with their parenting. To date there is no autism-specific parenting capacity test that can be used to look at these parents in order to find ways to better support them in their role as parent.


[1] Nicole Hackett and Lynn Henderson Asperger's Syndrome in Child Contact Cases Fam Law, Feb. 2002, Dr. Venetia Young Encounters With Asperger's Syndrome in the Solicitors Office in Fam Law September 2001, Jennings Linehan and Schloss Parents with Neurological Disorder Are their Children At-Risk? Sept 2003 OACAS Journal, Jennings Linehan and Schloss Who's Minding the Children? Child Contact and The Parent with Neurological Disorder, International Family Law 2003, District Judge John Mitchell The Unusual Parent and Child Contact Fam Law 2003.

[2] The Parent with Neurological Disorder. Are Their Children At-Risk? Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies Journal September 2003

[3] I call it this for several reasons. Importantly, it is not a disability that simply affects parenting. The broader implications of these three neuro-cognitive features on parenting is beyond the scope of this commentary but are more fully explored on the ASpar website.

[4] There are parents on the spectrum practicing medicine, conducting symphonies, practicing law and working as actuaries. These are the very same parents whose children are especially invisible as needing parenting interventions and supports.

[5] The question of whether or not AS parents are aware of their own problems or not is contentious. I have written examples from mothers with AS noting where they need their parenting to be shored up, and in one case desperately asking for help, but I have seen none from fathers.

[6] Dr. Holliday Willey hold a doctorate in education and describes what she herself refers to as her parenting problems in a chapter of her autobiographical book Pretending to Be Normal Living with Asperger's Syndrome.

[7] Custody & Access Assessor and Child Welfare Mediator Jan Schloss, (my co-author on this issue in 2 journals) has noted that the children of AS parents face the issue of FENDING on their own as part of their global childhood experience. Jan Schloss MSW came up with this term as it applies to children in these settings. Having to Fend in this way has been described by she and I as being Organic Neglect elsewhere. There is no intention to neglect.

[8] Functional Anatomy of Impaired Selective Attention and Compensatory Processing in Autism Matthew Belmonte and Deborah Yurgelun-Todd Cognitive Brain Research 17(3) Oct 2003

[9] No one suggests they should not take their kids to the circus. What is suggested is that interventions be put in to place to support this activity so that it may have a positive outcome. AS parent meltdown at the end of the fair is not a positive outcome for a child or a parent.

[10] Jessica Kingsley 1997

[11] S Jennings Linehan High Conflict and Asperger's Syndrome Dec 2003


Adler Robert E. Time Sharing Guidelines from Sharing the Children: How to Resolve Custody Problems and Get on With Your Life 1988 Adler & Adler Publishers

Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology
2003, Vol.25, No.4, pp. 502-511

Central Coherence and Cognitive Shifting in Relation to Social Improvement in High-Functioning Young Adults with Autism

Hans J.C. Berger 1, 3 , Francisca H.T.M. Aerts 2 , Karel P.M. van Spaendonck 1 , Alexander R. Cools 1 and Jan-Pieter Teunisse 1, 2

1 University of Nijmegen, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Bogdashina, O. (2003). Sensory Perceptual Issues in Autism and Asperger Syndrome:

Ball, Sunni M.A., DAPA Children With Special Needs in Divorce published in Parenting Possibilities Dec 2002 Fourth Judicial District Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Mitchell Baris and Carla Garrity Children of Divorce: A Developmental Approach to Residence and Visitation 1988 Psytech.

Baron Cohen, S Mind Blindness An Essay on Autism and Theory of Mind, MIT Press/Bradford Books 1995

Frith, Uta Autism and Asperger's Syndrome Cambridge University Press 1991

Goleman, Daniel Emotional Intelligence

Hamilton, Lynn. M Facing Autism: Giving Parents Reasons for Hope and Guidelines for Help Water Brook Press, 2000

Heller, S. Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight. What to do if you are Sensory Defensive in an Overstimulating World. Harper Collins, 2002.

Jennings Linehan, S. Parenting Mediation in the Family with Disability Resolve Magazine, Family Mediation Canada, Winter 2003 and

Jennings Linehan, S. Special Needs Practice Issues for Ontario Mediators Solutions, Ontario Association of Family Mediation, Spring 2003

Jennings Linehan, S & Schloss, J. Who's Minding the Children? Child Contact and the Parent with Neurological Impairment. International Family Law, Nov. 2003 Issue No 4.

Jennings Linehan, S & Schloss, J The Parent with Neurological Disorder: Are Their Children At-Risk? Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies Journal, Sept. 2003.

Jennings Linehan. S. High Conflict and Asperger's Syndrome Mediate.Com U.S.A. (in press). Also published as Disability Masquerading as Conflict in Newsletter of the Colorado Council of Mediators Feb 2004.


I have not been formally diagnosed as I don't particularly like doctors but I meet almost all the criteria for Aspergers Syndrome. My neice was diagnosed autistic two years ago and during my research I heard about Aspergers and all of a sudden it just clicked. I have had trouble my whole life with all of the issues of Aspergers. Are there any other parents with Aspergers or parents of kids with aspergers?


My child, age 3, is being *tentatively* diagnosed AS. Being that he is very young(most kids are not diagnosed until school-age) it is difficult to say whether the suspicions will pan out. Have you thought about having an evaluation done?
If you have any direct questions, feel free to pm me.


I'm currently checking Aspergers out as well. My DS has Sensory Integration and he clicks with the Aspergers theme as well. I'll know more when we can get him in for more evals. But there are some of us in your boat it sounds like and hopefully more will chime in as I as well will be lookign to this board for more info. :-) Goodluck!

ETA 4 years later sicne this was bumped:
He is officially DX'd as Autism.
As far as parent's with Aspergers... lots of those around here too. I'm most likely Aspergers although we don't know which for sure. I chose not to go further into the eval process to pinpoint which one because it really didn't matter to me at the time which it was. *shrug*


I'm a self-diagnosed Aspie. My official dx, years ago, was ADHD, but in comparing the 2, while there are a lot of similarites, the Aspergers symptoms fit me better. Sometimes it's doesn't take much to amuse me, give me some kind of toy with a texture to it, and I'm busy for awhile. Somtimes it sucks......the clumsiness and social problems drive me nuts. Dh also has most of the symptoms. Which is probably why we get along so well, we understand each other. Not surprisingly, our youngest son, the only one that is genetically related to both of us, is autistic. It can make for entertaining conversations with his therapists. "What do you mean there is something "wrong" with smelling every object he picks up? Seems normal to me!" LOL


I was dx'd when I was almost 40. Now 41. I, too, have a kid with Autism.

I was dx'd as "hyperactive" as a kid and put on Ritalin. clumsy - oh my, YES!
Social problems out the kazoo! I don't remember faces after about 2 weeks. I have freinds who will come up and talk to me and I have absolutley no idea who they are until their voice registers.

I didn't smell things as a kid but licked everything. Sticks, stones, cars... my mom kept gingin violet for me because of constant trench mouth! Lineing cars - ain't that normal? is to me.

flourescent lights drive me crazy. The dishwasher turns me into a monster! The sound causes me not to think and I really become strange. On edge, jumpy.


Stacie, I hate the dishwasher too. Why does it have to be so LOUD? (and really, it's not, it doesn't bother anyone else in the house). The smelling is not something that stopped.......I still do it! I love candle stores, and bath product stores. Nobody looks at you funny if you are sniffing everything, because everyone else is too! LOL

Isn't it strange, you find all these things perfectly normal........then someone tells you they are NOT. But you've been doing them your whole life, so now what?


Oh candle stores are awesome. I smell there and use a fingernail to scrape the wax on the candles I like the smell off. (gotta get my licks in!) ick, I know. I just can't help myself.

I don't know abuot the dishwasher and what to do with it. You are right, it bothers no one else.

do you have truoble with lighter colored walls? And the light bouncing off them? As a kid, I used to watch walls because of the colors the sunlight and lights in general make on them. I still find myself doing that.

I have a personal question... I hope you don't mind my asking. Do you S.I.B? If so, what? And do know why?

The sensitivies or lack of in my arms and legs has always caused me to brush with a hairbrush. Hard - untill I would "burn" them. I like the feel of the burn and of the scab healing. I don't even realize I'm doing it most of the time... don't leave a stray hairbrush around me! Other times I know I am and can't help it. It is like my ankle comes alive. Hard to describe.

oh well. I know other aspies who do the same sort of thing. Just curious.


LOL! I've never tried licking candle wax, but it doesn't sound that odd to me. Kind of interesting, really. I'm not trying it though, the last thing I need is another stim. LOL

I'm sorry, but I'm not familiar with the abbreviation S.I.B. If you want to fill me in, I'll probably answer. I'm finding it so cool to find another mom like me to talk to, I'm willing to share.


S.I.B. - self injurious behaviour.

headbanging, scratching, etc.

Did you you love to swing as a kid? I still do. Go to the park with the huge swings. And swing so hard.

have you ever tried some of the now common therapies? Like vitamins and suppliments, etc.


Oh, ok, SIB. I'm familiar with the term, my brain just wasn't translating the abbreviation for some reason. I went through a phase of it as a teen, but I rarely, if ever, do it any more. I'm sorry, but that's probably the only phase of my life that I really do not feel comfortable sharing all the details about, so that's all I have to say right now. I did a LOT of crazy stuff, I learned from it, I've moved on. Currently, the closest I come is the compulsion I have to pick at any clogged pores, or little scabs I have. I know it's gross, but it's somehow satisfying.

Swinging, ohhhhhhhh I love it. My child has one of those big therapy net swings, right in the living room. One of my goals is to lose enough weight to use it myself, it looks SO fun! (it has a weight limit about 20lbs below where I am right now)


I can understand that. I try not to consciously sib. I stop when I catch myself. And, yes, the teen years were worse for me. About 15-19 was terrible.

Those therapy swings are great! So are the therapy balls to bounce on. I like bouncing too! At age 9 I could bounce on a pogo-stick over 2,000 times without stopping. People used to count me bounce on the street! lol.

What type, if any, fabric or clothing bother you? Synthetics burn. I only wear cottons. Most other fabric really irrates me or smells bad. I can smell oil in some fabrics.

Do you have trouble with the textures of some foods? I have a very hard time with the pulp in fresh fruits. I can't eat it. But, I can drink juice with no pulp or eat fruit that has been cooked.

I wrote something on a board several years on tactile defensiveness, that a freind put on her web site. I'll copy to here if anyone is interested. ? It is about different tactile problems and how I have learned to adapt to the problems.

It is great chatting with other people who are going thru the same thing. It's nice not to be alone.


I would love, love, love more info on tactile defensiveness. Aidan's not so bad about it, but Nick also has SID, which my mother (his legal guardian) has chosen not to do anything about, since it's on the mild side. He could probably use some at-home work though.

There are no particular fabrics that I don't like, but I do have to feel everything before I buy it. It just depends on each garment whether or not it's going to irritate me.

Food textures---the one that's coming to mind now is rice. If it has a really good flavor to it, I'll manage to eat it anyway, but plain white or brown rice? No way! Aidan is the same way with yogurt-- he doesn't like the texture, but if it's got a flavor he likes (particularly banana or cherry) he'll go for it. It's funny to watch him. He takes a bite, makes a horrible face, then begs for more. OTOH, I absolutely love the texture of pears, but I'm not that fond of the flavor. But I'll eat them, just for that slightly gritty texture! I know there are other foods I've sworn off because of the texture, but I can't think of any more examples right now.


Sensory Experiences -- A personal story

I'm going to begin this with talking about "frustrations" and the physical bombardment which can manifest them. I know that you know about different senstivities, but I'm going to try and explain how this sensitivies effect the body and the mind.

Let pretend you are in a kitchen. You probably have a window, lighter colored walls and floors and a white fridge. All these lightly colored things reflect light. They create a beautiful array of colors as they "dance" off of your walls. Since most kids with autism have dialated pupils, which means they gather more light than what is considered "normal". Frustrations #1 "Don't you see the prism of colors and aren't you blinded?"

Now, you may have a dishwasher, microwave and a fridge. Did you know that standing beside a fridge is like being really close to a freight train? Microwaves are worse. And dishwashers sound like your in a war zone! Frustration #2: "Why doesn't all that noise bother you, it hurts me?"

Tactile: Did you know synthetic fibrac burns the skin? Did you relize that seems feel like razors? Frustration #3: "Get these closthes of me, I'm on fire!"

Internal: Can you hear the blood whooshing thru your head? Do your ears always ring? Can you feel your heart beat? Does everything you eat feel like a brick? Does milk make you feel drunk or goofy? Does your stomach itch and burn? Can you hear gunshots in your head? Do your arms and legs feel like jello?

Sometimes, you can block all of this out. By "stimming". I dislike that term. It is NOT a stimulatory activity but a very, very, very calming one on nerves that are totally frazled all of the time. "Please let me swing, or rock back and forth, flap my arms". "I can 'feel' my arms then." Please let me spin plates and car tires" Please let me line up my cars. There is no sensible order out there. I can't control anything. Please give me this". "Join me in this. I can see that I don't belong. Make me feel as if I do."

I really do not beleive "SIB's" are that at all. We don't want to hurt ourselves. "BUT DAMMIT-MY BODY HURTS". "CAN'T YOU MAKE THE LIGHTS NOT FLASH". "I'M TOTALLY CONFUSED BY ALL THE SWIRLS OF COLOR!" "WHY ARE YOU TELLING ME NO WHEN I HIT MY HEAD ON THE WALL, THE F...ING PAIN MOVES". You think you have a "temper tantrum". With the screaming and yelling , but you don't. You have a plea in the only way I can tell you. Please put me somewhere quiet, and somewhat dark!" "I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE OF THIS CRAP! WHY DOESN'T THIS BOTHER YOU?" I wanna tell you what's going on with me, but somewhere between my brain and mouth it gets lost in the noise and color. "DAMMIT, I HATE THIS!"

Picture this bombardment constantly on your body and in it. It never stops, even at night when sleep is susposed to bring a peace to the body. What is peace?

Coping... This a hard one. This is a continual coping process. At 38, I reckon I have found a few ways. As, a teenager, once the initial surge of puberty hormones was over, I discovered that I had a bit more freedom to eat what I could handle. By this I mean no one would force me to eat fruit, fruit pulp gags me. I also learned that milk set in my stomach as a ton of bricks. So, I didn't eat those.

I learned as an adult to scatter brightly colored rugs around a light room. It really helps in obsorbing some of the brightness and reflections from the lighter walls and such.

I have discovered that my stomach/intestines feels better if I take a small amount of Vitamin A dialy. Along with my vitamins. I also have a lot less bowell trouble.

I have a great Psychiatrist who I have been going to since 1985! Sometimes I go more than at other times. He has helped me to learn about emotions other than happy/sad/angry sort of thing.

I also take St. Johns Wort herbal blend with Kava Kava, Gotu Kola, Ginsing, Ginger, Kelp. This helps me to remain more relaxed. If things get really bad, I keep a supply of Inderal (beta blocker) for heart palpitations and panic attacks. Which I do have on a regular basis.

I am also hypo-glycemic. And crave sugar to keep my blood sugars up. But, I do have a yeast problem with frequent yeast infections. Did you know that yeast infections burn in your entire gut? And make you silly?

As for the "SIB's" I still feel the need to sometimes just bang my head...but I don't. So I do allow myself to put on steel toed shoes and go outside and kick a tree. Other times I just jump up down or swing...

With my child if he stimms. That's ok. If he head bangs. That is ok too. I look at it as something the body needs to do. I just provide a way in which he will not injure himself. For example - if he does head bang I put a large over stuffed pillow between him and floor. He head will get the sensations of jarring but it won't get bruised. Sometimes, he used to poke his fingers into his eyes. I would give him a hand towell and show him how to put an even pressure on the eyes. Beleive this or not, it callms the eyes. I will also put him in a darker area.

He does from time to time throw raging fits. OK. these are fine too. I pick him and put him in his room. I turn of light. Put on some low "relaxation" cd's. He likes the ocean sounding one. I close his windows and curtains. He usually will not allow me comfort him. So, I allow him time to begin calming down. Once they begin to callm down from the bombardments they are more able to handle intervention by comforting, holding etc.

I hope some of this helps.


I have an 8 yr old diagnosed with Aspergers. I am what Tony Atwood refers to as "adult recovered" aspie (I believe that i the term he uses- something like that, anyway). As a kid, I could have been diagnosed with Aspergers, but now I don't think I even could be diagnosed- even though some of the issues are still hanging about to a certain degree. One reason to consider diagnosis is services. You may be eligible for things like SSDI income or Medi-care coverage with a diagnosis.

My 9-year-old DS has Aspergers. My DH has it too (although never formally diagnosed). My FIL does as well, we are sure of it. I am about as neurotypical as you can get. I find the "issues" of my DH and son so hard to deal with sometimes, but I try to be compassionate and kind. Our marriage has been really, really tough. We're doing much better now but almost broke up 5 yrs ago). I've found that I need to do my own thing socially or I can't stand it. Namely, if DH wants to be a hermit and not leave the house, then I go places myself.

I can't use my dishwasher - they both can't stand it. DH needs to buy his own clothes because he only wants certain fabrics and brands. Neither of them can stand tags in their clothes - DH would rather destroy a garment removing a tag than wear it with the tag. I can't play my violin or viola when they're home either. My DS is so very clumsy, he can't even catch a ball or dribble a basketball.

If any of you have suggestions to help me, as a non-Aspie, deal with issues in a kind and constructive way, I'd love to hear it. It seems as if the Aspies in my house are wired to be so self-absorbed, and I give and give until there is nothing left of me. Hope that makes sense?


Well, Aspies *are* sort of wired to be self absorbed. They don't naturally think about how things affect someone else, and it can be difficult for them to do that. Understanding that may help you, but it's not an excuse for them to just do what they want. They also need to learn to think about the others in their environment. Have you ever had a family meeting? Maybe a weekly family meeting would be a good way to deal with some of the ongoing issues? I think you need to talk about these issues that involve more than one person, and to come up with compromises that everyone can live with. If the dishwasher bothers them, maybe you can run it at night as you're going to bed? Maybe DH can take the kids to the park an afternoon a week so that you can play your music, etc.


Well, yes, Aspies ARE wired to be self-absorbed.

Something to consider-- your dh and ds probably have a hard time reading your facial expressions and body language. I know that's a tough area for me. So you are thinking "well, they should know that I'm angry/sad/frustrated, just by the way I look and act!" But they very well might NOT! You need to tell them "I'm feeling X and I need you to do Y to help me" People with Aspergers are even LESS "mind readers" than neurotypical people. Even if they know what you are feeling, it may not occur to them what it is that YOU need to feel better. They may try what would work best for them........which may very well mean leaving you alone, which probably isn't what you want.

I think Khrisday has a great idea about the family meetings. Get it out in the open, spell out what your issues are, and brainstorm on what you all can do to resolve these issues. And it goes both ways. Get them communicating on what their issues are, and how you can resolve them.

And by all means, get out into social situations alone if you have to. I'm a lot more social than my husband, even though we are both Aspies. I don’t' necessarily know the right way to handle a social situation, but dangit, I want to get out there and try! So I do. And it's handy, really, if you think about it. You don't have to worry about getting a sitter, because your hubby is perfectly happy to sit at home and be a hermit with the kids!

And on some level, you've just got to accept that they are different. Pick your battles. Yes, the dishes MUST be cleaned. So offer a choice-- they can wash the dishes by hand, or they can go outside, or to the store, or as far away from the dishwasher as possible while you run it. But is it REALLY a big deal if they have to take the tags out of their clothes?


I don't beat around the bush when talking to the guys in this house - I just say it directly. It's been hard making that transition. I am going to try a family meeting, but doubt my DH will meaningfully participate.

Of course, I have to accept that they are different. I know that. But you know what, this might sound heartless, but where is any acceptance for me and my needs? My child goes to his social skills group and to his counselor every single week - that involves dragging my 2 year old along, and DH won't leave the house to take him EVER - he just wants to be alone and do what HE wants to do. My DH not only did not mention Mother's Day yesterday, my family went out to dinner and he stayed home to change the oil in his truck.

I was just using the tags issue to illustrate the bigger picture - they have so many issues with textures from food to clothes, to everything, it is so hard to keep them happy and I'm getting weary of it. We don't have the money to buy the Aspies in this house every single thing their heart desires either. My DH and son have special interests in computers, and DH will buy stuff before I pay the bills and leave me short of money.


My 6 yo DS was just recently academically diagnosed with AS (in July there will have testing done which will probably result in a medical diagnosis of AS).

Right now I'm going through the grieving process --- that I don't have a typical son. And I worry that my 10 month old DS has autism. I'm thinking about the road ahead.

If anyone has any recommended resources to share (books, websites), I'd greatly appreciate it as I am wanting to get more information.


Saganaga, these will help:
The OASIS website:

Here's a site with many links:

Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the US:

You can also do a search for Yahoo Groups or Delphi Forums on Aspergers - there is a very good forum connected with the OASIS website listed above.



Thank you guys for this! My child was dx ADHD this school year after last year dx'd with depression. So much of what you guys are talking about SING at me! I never thought anything about it could be anythign else till DS's IEP meeting today and they were ready to say there is nothing we can do till we started compairing notes and putting some peices together and 3 of them said 'Aspergers' at the same time. Not saying he has it, but it makes so much sense. The website links are also helping give me some other ideas for how to deal with DS. Everything we have tried in the past hasn't worked and it does make sense based on what I have read today. LOL- I have read so much my head is spinning. He is meeting with the new psychiatrist tomorrow- I will definately bring it up.
Now, to get DH tested... lol.


I was wondering if any of you have tried any diet changes to help alliviate AS syptoms. Any positive results?
We've just started the Feingold diet & I'm looking into a wheat or dairy free diet.


I just want to jump in here if that's ok, I have two cousins with autism and aspergers and I think I have some pretty bad sensory issues. Smells and sounds bother me that don't bother anyone else. Tags, jewelry and my hair bother me immensly. My mom use to get highly annoyed that I had to have the creases in my socks straight or I wouldn't let her put my shoes on, this at 3 years old.

My dh wears 2 different socks or one inside out and it drives me NUTS!!! One night in bed I asked him to get me socks because my feet were cold and I heard him at the drawer giggling. I yelled, YOU BETTER GEt ME MATCHING SOCKS, he was laughing contemplating getting me two diff socks.

I had an extremely difficult time nursing because people touching me bothers me sometimes. I could go on and on. I know I don't have aspergers, but could I join this thread for support?


just poking in....

maybe some of you moms can help this mom....sort of an allied question to your thread...



I'm 29. I haven't been formally diagnosed but doing all the research into my child's AS I kept finding how it described *me*. I'd always wondered what was "wrong" with me and now I know. :)

I cannot hold a conversation. I never know what to say. And when I do say something it's so far off tangent of whatever we may have been talking about.. I get lots of strange looks. lol I will never understand small talk, or skirting around the truth. Phrasing things tactfully. Waaaay beyond me!!

I also have the hardest time recognizing faces! It's so embarrassing and stressful. I can talk to someone for twenty minutes, and ten minutes later I wouldn't recognize them in passing. I have to remember clothes or hairstyle or a purse they are carrying or something..

I'm so glad to have found some Aspies!!

Mama to Ethan 7 AS
and Willow 4


I'm a self-diagnosed Aspie. My official dx, years ago, was ADHD, but in comparing the 2, while there are a lot of similarites, the Aspergers symptoms fit me better. Sometimes it's doesn't take much to amuse me, give me some kind of toy with a texture to it, and I'm busy for awhile. Somtimes it sucks......the clumsiness and social problems drive me nuts. Dh also has most of the symptoms. Which is probably why we get along so well, we understand each other. Not surprisingly, our youngest son, the only one that is genetically related to both of us, is autistic. It can make for entertaining conversations with his therapists. "What do you mean there is something "wrong" with smelling every object he picks up? Seems normal to me!" LOL
LOL I know! I drive my husband crazy when I find some little knick knack I have to have because I crave the color or the texture or just *something*.


Eep! I totally forgot about this thread! Anyways I've been doing more research and I firmly believe that I do in fact have Aspergers. Actually I really have no doubt. It really explains alot about my kidhood and who I am today.

Does anyone else have a problem with empathy? I was telling my DH last night that I don't 'get' other people's problems. When someone is upset about something I am usually thinking about how it will affect me. It makes it very hard in parenting because when the kids need something or are upset about something that is infringing on 'my territory' (so to speak) I get really upset and cannot understand their side at all. It really makes DH mad and I can see it is starting to upset my child too. I AM trying but its hard.

I can so relate to all the stuff you've said. It would take me ages to list all my 'quirks' but a few noteable ones you've mentioned
- Noise. I can't stand little noises. I will lay awake at night panicking if there is water dripping off the eavestrough outside. My husband likes to have music playing all the time and it drives me nuts. I often have to turn it off and it makes him mad but I just can't take little noises. When I was younger we had a fish tank in the living room and I had to have the tv on full blast because all I could hear was the damn fish tank! I have to sleep with white noise because every little noise drives me nuts.
-People touching me. Sometimes I just can't stand to be touched! It makes it really hard with parenting because there are times when I have to forcefully push the kids off me and it makes them cry but I literally cannot stand to be touched sometimes. It makes my skin crawl. Lots of stuff makes my skin crawl.
SIB - From about age 12 to age 20 I was a cutter. I would cut my body with razor blades or knifes. Especially when I was upset about something. I stopped 6 months after my marriage when an incident occurred where my husband and I were in a big fight and I got really upset and went out to the living room (it was about 1 am) and started cutting my arms. He caught me and threatened to take me to the psych ward if I did it again. I still have to struggle not to do it.

There are so many other issues I couldn't discuss them all. Just a couple of other questions. Does anyone else have problems with telling too much personal information? I seem to say totally inappropriate things in social settings and I don't realize it until I really sit and think about it. It is really embarrassing. How do you do with making friends? I don't really have any. I have two - one from highschool and one from college but we don't live near each other, only talk on the phone usually. I have started many friendships since the kids were born, we'd make playdates but after a few times they don't want to get together with me anymore. I really don't understand what I'm doing wrong.


I have the opposite problem with empathy. Sometimes I put myself in someone else's shoes too well. I over empathise. I also lose myself in other people's emotions. Most of the time I don't know what's mine and what is someone else's. But there are oftentimes when I too don't understand other's people's problems. It's not until the conversation is over and they've left that it hits me what they were trying to say and then it's too late.

Noise- noise really bothers me. Especially my child's vocal stims. I cannot concentrate and get completely overwhelmed trying to listen to someone speaking over any sort of noise-especially tv, radio or a/c units. I lose it when there is too much competing noise and it all gets jumbled. My husband can read a book while watching tv and listening to the radio while holding a conversation with me. That drives me absolutely to meltdown. It feels like being in a vaccuum.

People touching me-I have this too. I hate light touches, I have to rub them away. I like firm, hard squeezy touches. They help relax me. A stray hair on my skin somewhere overwhelms me and I MUST get it off. I can't concentrate on anything else but that hair.

SIB- I haven't given in to this urge in a long time. I too was a scraper (scraped until I bled) and a cutter. There was a time a year ago I had a complete meltdown and all I wanted to do was punch this bathroom mirror and use the pieces to cut my wrists. It obsessed me and it took all I had to fight it. I just wanted the emotional pain to stop, and physical pain heals..

I am totally the open book! It drives me very proper and 'hip' neighbor and perfect strangers to distraction. I've tried to learn from her about what is appropriate to share, how to phrase it.. I just don't get it.. How do you do small talk?

What you said about having friends sounds just like what I've gone through. I see people hanging out with GROUPS of friends. They have several friends that they are close to and they hang out. I never had that. I have acquaintances, or people who like that I'm kinda quirky and strange, but they aren't friends. We don't hang out or share our lives together.. I've kinda resolved myself to not ever understanding or having that.. I also sabotage things like that when I do get it. There have been several times that someone has tried to get close and it stressed and worried me so much to have to keep up the "normal" that I eventually just let them wander away to search somewhere else.. I get in my "wanna be alone" zone and it could last a day or weeks and NT's don't get that..

::hug I'm so glad to find I'm not alone!


dropping in on your thread...looking for a little help



my child has as. i suspect i do as well.


I see myself a little in this thread, I always thought I was shy and quirky :LOL. I can't hold a conversation about anything really unless it's the kids. Maybe I am just out of the loop who knows.

My ds does the licking of things, I mean everything. He will lick dirty windows, cars, the floor, rocks, the worst one is when he picks up tossed out gum on the ground and puts it in his mouth :gross. We have tried to tell him it's dirty but it doesn't get through. I personally have always thought he had adhd/odd, we are getting him evaluated soon.

Noise doesn't bother him, he actually seems to crave loud things. If the microwave is on he has to be right infront of it. The tv has to be very loud, the computer volume when he plays a game has to be loud. He talks and yells very loudly. I on the other hand can't stand all the noise! I can handle the dishwasher being on but loud voices, tv etc drive me bonkers. It makes my head hurt and I can't think at all.

If I'm trying to type something important out for dh's work I can't have anyone talking to me, the kids have to be quiet in another room. I freak out and lose my train of thought and I can't even type at all.


The other parent
Hi, I am new to this forum. But with good intention, and wonder. I maybe adopting a kid who could have Autism. The father of the kid has mild Aspergers. Does anyone know how likely the kids chances are of being autistic?


wow, a very old thread with a new question.

It has been proven that Autistic parents have a higher chance of having autistic kids. It is heavily debated, but statistically a kid has a greater chance of being Autistic if 1) he is a boy, and 2) if he has autistic people in his genetic line.

For instance, in my family: Me, my brother, my mother, my father, my child and some of my nephews all have forms of Autism. Only some of the women in my family are affected, but almost all of the boys are. 

This is of course anecdotal, but in general Autism is genetic and it is more frequent in boys.


Since autism is more rare in girls (or is it really? Or does it just present differently?) are your chances for another kid with autism raised if you have a female kid with ASD?


Since autism is more rare in girls (or is it really? Or does it just present differently?) are your chances for another kid with autism raised if you have a female kid with ASD?

good point, I did not specify.. boys are more likely to be diagnosed, not necessarily more often autistic.

The genetic research is very incomplete and there is really only theory at this point. Really anything anyone says is anecdotal at this point.

But to speak to the question to is he going to be autistic... the answer is nobody can really know.


Hi, I am new to this forum. But with good intention, and wonder. I maybe adopting a kid who could have Autism. The father of the kid has mild Aspergers. Does anyone know how likely the kids chances are of being autistic?

Autistics are more likely to have autistic kids, but of course not always. Research is inconclusive. Anecdotally, my father was (undx'ed) autistic; he had a neurotypical son and an autistic daughter (me). I have, of my biological kids, one autistic girl, one very neurotypical boy, and one possible/maybe/likely autistic girl. My neurotypical brother has an autistic daughter as well.

So, you should probably keep in mind the possibility...


From my own observations, experience and research... it really just seems to be much more difficult to diagnose in females. A lot of it seems to be a difference between external and internal expression... if that makes sense. IE, males are more likely to act their frustrations out, while females are more likely to internalize it. Hopefully that doesn't sound offensive, I'm usually the very LAST person to make gender distinctions, but that really seems to be the case.

As far as the original question goes, I just don't think there would be any way to know at this point. How old is the kid?


Brigianna-- You posted while I was typing. :)

I would just like to say... I am in love with your senior title!!!!


From my own observations, experience and research... it really just seems to be much more difficult to diagnose in females. A lot of it seems to be a difference between external and internal expression... if that makes sense. IE, males are more likely to act their frustrations out, while females are more likely to internalize it.

This is certainly anecdotally true in my family.

Brigianna-- You posted while I was typing. :)

I would just like to say... I am in love with your senior title!!!!
:lol thanks... most people don't get it.


Hi, I am Sheila, new to this board but not to MDC.... my 12 year old son was Diagnosed with aspergers (sp?) 2 months ago. My 6 year old son is being tested now (thru the school) . My Dh has not been diagnosed I don't think he would go for the testing but I am about 100% sure he has it... I think he has some other issues as well- maybe depression... and anger issues. He totally can't read clues. He is a very challenging man to be with. We alsomost split up last year and in a lot of ways I kind of wish we had gone thru with it.

Anyway- about the dishwasher- we got one with a timer feature and I can set it to go on in the middle of the night when I am sound asleep, it is great! I don't know what I've got but the dishwasher, floresecent lights kill me!!! I especilly hate the lawn mower and the snow blower and the way my Dh starts adn stops them each like a million times. Each start and stop feels like an ice pick tp the head...

I am glad to have found this forum. I have 3 kids, all with differnt things going on... Oldest DS (12)with Aspergers and disgrphia (illegible hand writing at age 12) middle kid (DS age 6) had speach delays and he has something going on, so I am glad they are testing him and my DDd is 2 and she freaks out in stores, has to be carried all the time- at 30 lbs! And she has sensory issues as well as being non verbal. She gets help from Birth-3.


I don't know what I've got but the dishwasher, floresecent lights kill me!!! I especilly hate the lawn mower and the snow blower and the way my Dh starts adn stops them each like a million times. Each start and stop feels like an ice pick tp the head...

Fluorescent lights....the ones with the electronic ballast are MUCH better than the old kind. They are coming out with more of the electronic ballast kind now. The old kind, in addition to the annoying flicker, also emits high levels of electromagnetic radiation...some of us can feel that.

Lawn mower... DH has a cordless electric kind. MUCH quieter, and the sounds are at a somewhat higher frequency, than the loud gas-powered ones, especially w/ the house windows shut. Now if I could only get all the neighbors to use an electric one, too :p When we had a smaller yard, we had a push reel mower. Now THAT was great, it sounded like a librarian... "shhh, shhh, shhh..."


Anonymous said...

My name is Ida, and I'm a Norwegian, 21-year-old aspie.

I also have Cerebral Palsy (extremly mild, diagnosed at age 1), and I was always a bit eccentric as a child. But I'm still very intelligent. I said my first words at 6 months, spoke fluent Norwegian and recited the alphabet (forewards and backwards) by age 1, spoke English at 3, taught myself reading by age 4, and by age 6, I had read and memorized the bible.... I started walking at 5, and had my first day of school at age 7... And most importantly: I was always smiling, and seemed happy.

So, yeah, my parents thought I'd do pretty well in all areas of life, even though I walked funny, had no friends at primary school, and was bullied by everyone, including teachers. I gave up on public schools in highschool, and dropped out. I was also diagnosed with PVL/partial blindness, Asthma, and a wierd stomache decease during teenage-years.

My parents and family thought the bullying was due to my intellect, and that the teachers may have found me threatening, since I was way past curriculum. And they knew that it would all be better as soon as I got into the late teen ages, and that my physical challenges would not stop me from finding the perfect boyfriend or bearing and raising children.

That sort of happened. Nearly three years ago, 18 years old, I moved into my own appartment. Then I met my fiancé (been together for 1 year and 11 months now). Today, I take highschool-level internet-courses. I love school, and I plan to home-study for many years, before ending up with three PhD's. We also agreed that we would have kids someday.

But my familiy quickly changed their opinion regarding me, when I got diagnosed with AS, 1,5 year ago. First thing my mother said to me on the way home was "Now I don't like the idea of you having children anymore, because you don't have feelings..."

I think that's the most hurtfull thing she's ever said to me! I mean, she has always been so positive to everything, and now she turned all negative because of a label, a name? If she thought I could have children before, why is it different now? I am the same person!

I read your article "Parents with Aspergers" and got the impression that you think aspies should not have children. I've also read, that since Aspergers is inheritable, many aspies would be great parents, since the kids are most likely to experience the same kinds of problems as them. And since I am a girl, and grew up without having the diagnosis, I have learnt the importance of showing my affection to people, and even though I struggle sometimes, I surprised the psychologist with my insight in the social protocols.

Anonymous said...

I may have a longer response later to this, but for now( in short) I'd like to say that while this article applies to some on the spectrum, it does not represent us all. I have been given many, many compliments about my parenting from many different people. I parent an NT, child with mild autism, as well as a nonverbal ASD child. I'm not perfect, as no one is, but I do not feel that I am not an effective, loving, attending parent. My teenaged NT daughter concurs.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I both have Aspergers and while we have certain deficits, like all successful couples, our abilities complement each other's. I find your automatic assumption of abuse disturbing. Many autistic people have been bullied, which causes even more reason than non-bullied parents to consider carefully words and actions with children.

Parenting has certainly been difficult, but I have stretched my own abilities considerably. Yes, I may need earplugs and tinted lenses at time, but I understand my children's sensory issues very well due to that and keep stretching their limits by doing things I wasn't able to do myself a few years ago, such as going to sensory gyms and restaurants. I know that I have gained a great insight into myself, and as my children are a special interest to me, I spend a great deal of time journaling about them and thinking about what we can do to help things go smoothly in our household.

mcsleepy said...

Thank you so much for this article. Everything in here perfectly characterizes my father and all he has put me and my family though.

We have reconciled many things since I've left home, but his disorder remains. It is frustrating and heartbreaking, but somewhat comforting and empowering to pinpoint the neurological problem which was not my own yet which shaped my entire life and being.

B Collins said...

How can a parent anticipate their child's needs without theory of mind?! Just because you lack it doesn't mean you lack biological attachment to the person you made. You read books, broaden your response arsenal and respond with trial and error. Baby is crying, this cry sounds this way, solve cry with play. Oh, it was boredom, she needs stimulation. Find out age appropriate stimulation for baby. Solve that specific cry in the future with stimulation. Ditto for affection, hunger, thirst, sleep. Suggesting a parent would just say fuck it and not try because they don't think the same is some offensive Bologna.

mcsleepy said...

@B Collins,

Aspergers parents can fulfill the basic needs of an infant, but they lack a certain nuance and sensitivity in matters of communication. Certainly a baby is much simpler than the blossoming mind of an adolescent. The lack of "normal" interaction can stunt or distort social development.

Aspies also often retreat to their comfort zone, or shut down, when stressed by medium-to-large problems, while on the other hand over-react to very small ones. At best, this stress is sensed by the child and leads to a family mood of insecurity and eggshells. At worst, the child can be neglected for stretches of time.

Aspies have such a difficult time with stress that they can be unreliable emotionally. At times disappointingly joyless, while at other times inappropriately jubilant, they always seem to be out of stride with the rest of the world.

The often limited, skewed world view of an aspie can also harm the child's social life. Aspergers people will often not accept that anything is wrong with them, and even take pride in their introverted ways. This can foster general distrust and shyness in the child.

Aspies can foster inexpressible guilt in the child for any unpredictable outburst or even practical jokes that the aspie themselves have no experience with because they were too busy just trying to get through their own days most of their lives. They will take personally things which normal people will respond to more socially, and in so doing teach the child to repress themselves, or rebel in destructive ways.

I am almost 32 and my Aspergers father is still getting the hang of "acting normal", rolling with the punches so to speak, and he still is a bundle of head-shaking confusion.

Source: Personal experience

Cali said...

Thank you for this. As the child of two Aspergers parents, it hit home. I wrote a reflection on my own 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.

Click here to read the full article…

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article...

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content