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How should I explain Aspergers Syndrome to my 12-year-old son who was recently diagnosed with the disorder?


How should I explain Aspergers Syndrome to my 12-year-old son who was recently diagnosed with  the disorder?


More than likely, there is little need to explain Aspergers (high functioning autism) to your child. If you read accounts by others with Aspergers, they usually say that they knew they were different long before they knew they had an official diagnosis. Most report being relieved to learn about their diagnosis because it explained so much about the differences.

Some moms and dads choose to explain Aspergers as soon as the diagnosis is received, keeping the kid involved from the start. Even though the youngster may not be able to comprehend the full definition, there is that feeling of being different. Other parents choose to explain Aspergers much later, after the kid has grown and is able to understand exactly what it means. Either way is acceptable, depending on how you wish to do things in your home.

When it comes time to explain Aspergers to a child with the disorder, be mindful that he may become overwhelmed or even angry when he learns that his differences have a name, and that name is part of the Autism spectrum.

Here are a few suggestions to help you explain the diagnosis:
  • Explain Aspergers as a difference in manner of thinking versus a true disability. While it is true that some people with Aspergers qualify for government disability services, there are so many positives within the diagnosis on which you can choose to focus.
  • Be prepared to list the characteristics of Aspergers. Some of these characteristics are definitely strengths. Aspergers is definitely not all negative!
  • Autism is a spectrum disorder and Aspergers is on the higher end of ability. Most children will know someone at school who has classic Autism and may become distraught over the idea that they share that condition. Make special note of the specific differences.

After you explain Aspergers to your child, you should be prepared for any questions and concerns he may have. Encourage him to talk to you about his feelings. Books, websites, and other publications are available to help you through this process.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns


Anonymous said...

all cats have aspergers .... If anyone of u has it it has been great for my daughter. Its a simple childrens book but its great!

Anonymous said...

This is great. If we were going to make it an open discussion, what age would be appropriate? My son is 7 although he was diagnosed 3 years ago we never made a point of saying anything to him.

Anonymous said...

I was going to get that book for my son to explain Aspergers to him. I didn't because I knew that he knew that I wasn't a cat fan and I didn't want him to think I wouldn't like him. We told our son he had Aspergers when he was diagnosed at the age of 7. We told him that his brain is wired differently then his Mom and Dad's and that perfectly alright - everyone is different.

Anonymous said...

I think you really just have to tell them that everyone's brain works diffrently and emphasize his strengths as things that his brain does that are unique.

Anonymous said...

Our son wasn't officially diagnosed until 10 (we had a pretty good idea before then). We haven't hidden anything from him because he is so smart that he already understood the ways that he was different from the other kids. I really think that a lot of it depends on the individual child and their ability to understand the condition. It really helped him when we found a list of famous inventors that were believed to have Aspergers since that is what he wants to be.

Anonymous said...

We started talking to our son about a year ago when he started asking questions. So, at 8, he describes himself as having "aspergers, which means I'm really smart and I am a unique and creative thinker".

Anonymous said...

i told my daughter she just learns differently from her peers. She sees her classmates crushing on boys and painting nails and fixing hair. She wants to plan her future and sees them as nice but silly. she enjoys marching to the beat of a different drummer by taking pride in those differences. Her classmates are accepting of her differences as well and one in particular has helped her get over fears of going in front of her class. the book helped too though.

Anonymous said...

There are some fantastic books available just now. My son is 9 and only recently been diagnosed (even though I knew for years) we got can I tell you about aspergers (ained for 9 upwards) and another book. Both were great and it showed somany of my sons traits but also how to help. He thinks transformer took a part of his brain out and turned it round and put it back in. That's how he's a bit different but know less than anyone else. That's how he sees it now.

Anonymous said...

My situation is a bit difficult. At age 6 they were claiming he was autistic and we didn't "see it" he had some hearing difficulties and we thought that once he got ear tubes that he had simply fallen behind socially. He is now eight and I see so many symptoms that I simply avoided thinking about before. He hasn't made many close friends at school and has meltdowns which we thought he would simply grow out of. Hoping he will get some social help soon.
My son is convinced that he isn't autistic now and that is going to be a bit of a battle when they start giving him some social help at school. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Be honest...and yes there are excellent books available. Also finding other Apsies both past and present that share common interests...always helps my son. He couldn't believe Albert Einstein had aspergers...and he loves watching American Idol contestant James Durbin. We plan to attend a concert in the future.

Anonymous said...

school tried to tell us for two years that my son was autistic and I simply didn't see it. he was somewhat social but has had occasional meltdowns. He is now eight and I see so many symptoms of it. Hoping he gets some social help at school now.
4 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

My son (11) created a power point to share with his class.....His behavior began to improve because he worked on it every night and the information stuck! He was able to include things that worked for him and why he reacts the way HE does. He began to advocate for himself! School is better! Check it out on YouTube.... Ben's View of Asperger's Syndrome.

Anonymous said...

my son is asperger but we focus on his strengths rather than his weaknesses, and he is always tell us that he is clever (and he is) and we just told him that we need different people in this world To be honest i do think if they were more aspergers in this world the world will be a better place to live in
3 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

We have always made it a part of our natural conversation, such as "sister has blonde hair, you have Asperger's, Nana has freckles..." All of these things make us unique, makes us more precious, and it is not a "dirty little secret" or a "name" but simply a trait that references our uniqueness... we celebrate his/her ability to see/feel things as we cannot and try to learn from his/her observations and actions. My Garndson has made us more sensitive instead of exasperated. Take control of his/her journey growing up in this loud, crazy world by not just relying on schools or doctors, but by actually getting games, books, to help you interact with him/her and work to design his home environment where he feels that his accomplishments in more acceptable processing are rewarded - reward when the good deed is noticed and the child blooms.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 12 and learning about this diagnosis has made her feel so much more at ease with herself. Knowledge is power, after all. She also has a couple forms of synesthesia (more often found in the Autistic community). She did a PowerPoint presentation on it for her gifted class. It was very well received. The students were very curious and she LOVED teaching them!

Anonymous said...

Hi can anyone help my son is 12 his. Doctors have said he has anxcitey and showing sgins of asd they also sent him to the orchard medical for center for test he a lovely bright boy he never has (unless brother sister family close friend of family are there ) gone out to play he dosent like crowds his temper tantrums are more like a 6 year old he hurt brother or sisters or start a fight with me he wouldn't go to school so while waiting for test school have said he needs extra help he forgets simple task straight away he likes to be with adults more then children his age or younger I have to tell him to bath change clothes he been brought up in a happy house lots of surport & love but he getting worse within himself he also said to me he feel different to kids his age I really don't no what to do x

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...

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content