Saturday, July 27, 2013

Asperger's: To Tell or Not to Tell

After you get an Asperger's diagnosis for your child, you have to decide how and when to tell your child.  After that, you must decide who else to tell.  Of course, telling his teacher is usually a good idea, and most family and close friends should know.  But should you tell everyone else?  Should you tell people who may not be familiar with Asperger's or autism?

We aren't shy about my son's diagnosis.  We moved to a new area, and since he's been wearing the label for a few years, it just doesn't come up in conversation like it used to.  This is also a rural area where there are many stereotypes about autism.

Autism here means nonverbal or Rain Man.

Asperger's means brainiac who talks like a little professor.

People don't see the meltdowns and social problems associated with Asperger's, so they don't get it.

My kids were invited to vacation bible school at a new church.  We only knew one family, so no one knew about his diagnosis.  I did put it on his medical form because if there had been an accident or injury, the medical staff needed to know that in order to treat him.  I also made the decision that I would stay for the entire duration of VBS just in case.

My son doesn't like to talk to strangers because it is so uncomfortable for him.  Getting him to stand up in front of a crowd is next to impossible.

On the last night of VBS, the kids had a program for the parents.  Since the leader had no idea about his Asperger's or anxiety, he expected my son to get up there and speak his part.

He did it!

Since he was expected to be typical, he behaved as a typical child.

He started stimming, and I knew he was nervous.

But he did it!

Afterwards, I told the leader what an accomplishment that was, and I was so happy that he got him to stand up there and talk.

This is one time I am glad I didn't tell anyone about his diagnosis.  My son got pushed out of his comfort zone.

And he did it!