... I hope it's ok to lurk and learn here from time to time.

I'm 42 and was unofficially diagnosed with Asperger's at 39. As a child, the dx hardly existed. Like some here have said, even today it's very easy to dismiss signs of Asperger's as stubborn, obstinate, lazy, rude, angry. Especially since Asperger's isn't nearly so obviously debilitating as low-functioning Autism. We Aspies end up doing a lot of our own self-treatment which easily lends the rest to "He's just stubborn, she's just lazy, etc."

Imagine my childhood identity crisis; being told over and over until I start to believe it that every other action I performed or word I spoke was a conscious, calculated effort to piss off my parents. Even as I was really trying not to piss off my parents.

Getting the dx much later in life not only answered a lot of questions ("No wonder that job worked out for me and that other one didn't!"), but has had me wondering how things might have been different if Mom and Dad had known and tried to do something about it? I say 'and' because I'd also find out much later that they did indeed get a there's-something-there-but-we're-not-sure-what diagnosis, but blew it off, much preferring that it be something I'm consciously doing therefore can be talked/shamed into not doing it.

Anyway, all the props in the world to you parents dealing with this stuff. Where do you find the balance between realistic treatment and the paranoid, over-diagnosis and over-treatment Western society pushes us towards?

There are about as many definitions of Asperger's as there are parents of Aspie kids (and with good reason; every one is an individual and not everyone is going to deal with the same crossed wires in exactly the same way). It takes a lot of patience I imagine to suss out what's going on in your kid's mind versus the mind of the kid dragged onto Larry King Live to be poster-boy for all things Autism.

Would I have wanted to go to an Aspie-specific school? I kind of did going to private school the first 6 years - one that stressed independence and individuality. On the one hand I would not have wanted to be labeled as 'special needs,' but in some cases, it does translate that way (one teaching style I get Cs and Ds. Another teaching style and I'm an A student). How does one tell their kid they're 'different' without labeling them as, well, 'different?' Again, I feel a little cheated that my parents completely ignored it. But on the other end of the extreme I've seen kids outright trained to walk up to a deli counter and say I'm handicapped - give me special treatment. *Shudder*

There's a reason I don't have kids. Cleaning the cat box pretty much hits the limit of my maternal responsibility. So again, all the props in the world for those of you who do take on the challenge.

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Incidentally, there's an Asperger Atheist group here. And I know there's one for ADD as well. If any of you parents wanted to get an inside scoop from the crossed wires themselves, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would welcome questions and wouldn't mind you lurking and learning.

;-)

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