There is really no other way to begin other than immersing yourself in your youngster's treatment. While it may be painful to say goodbye to the youngster you thought you had (i.e., a “typical” child with “quirks” rather than some “disorder”), you can say hello now to the youngster who needs you just as much - if not more - as you get to know his unique personality and development, and you can fall in love with your newly-diagnosed youngster with Aspergers (high functioning autism) all over again in ways you could have never imagined.
In the beginning, be sure to look at your grief. It doesn't help to pretend to be positive when underneath you may be lonely, afraid or sad. The longing for the typical youngster or a typical existence may endure. You have to learn to live with that yearning.
Take some breaks for yourself. Your child’s treatment is important – but it isn't everything! As you get involved in the Aspergers community, your isolation will lessen. Granted, it is not what you were expecting, but just like your youngster, it can be very rewarding and meaningful.
The initial period of learning about Aspergers and all of the necessary therapies and treatments can be isolating. We, as parents, are also often sad at first, or angry that our life with a youngster who has Aspergers is different than the one we dreamed of and different than the lives of most of those we see around us. Our ideal world is often very different from the world we actually live in. Still, there are many ways to work towards making your life more of how you want it to be.
Depending upon the functioning level of your Aspie, there are many parent groups to join, special sports teams to coach, and class activities that you can be a part of. Sometime the issue reflects difficulty in accepting who your youngster is with his specific challenges and abilities. It may not feel normal or coincide with the dream you had for how your life would turn out.
As you begin to get more involved in the Aspergers community, there will be more activity and company of others. This involvement often helps to make moms and dads feel more normal as it ironically provides more chances for typical activity and interaction with others. Over time, life and ideals change, and you will begin to dream new dreams for your real world.
It seems we always want the ones we love the most to understand us …our feelings, our life choices, our kids. Sometimes this is way more difficult than we would wish. Keep in mind that you are the expert on your youngster, and you know the best ways to deal with him. The truth is, if you are doing the best you can, you really don't have to prove anything to other family members or to anybody else.
In time, other family members will develop their own relationship with your Aspergers child and will hopefully follow your lead on some of the important learning and relationship issues. If you find that other family members and friends are negative around your child, or act in ways that negate his growth or self-esteem, then you may want to limit their interaction while you gently model more helpful ways to deal with your child and continue to share new or interesting articles/information on Aspergers. This heartfelt process often takes longer than we think it should – steady persistence is paramount.
Note: Acceptance-levels vary among parents. When their child is recently diagnosed with Aspergers, some parents come to acceptance almost immediately -- and even feel a sense of relief that there is a name for what has been going on. Other parents need more time to arrive at acceptance, and that's O.K. Then there are a few parents who seem to never accept the fact that their child has special needs and struggle with the diagnosis for a life-time.