I get so frustrated sometimes! I understand that a great portion of the population just do not understand ASD (hate the term “disorder”) and either think it’s a scapegoat for poor behavior (for the young Aspergians) or just an excuse for the adults on the spectrum, because “after all, don’t we all struggle with something?” (eye roll and a little gag reflex)
To compound things, females on the spectrum present with unique attributes that aren’t necessarily common among males. Females have only recently received attention and while I always knew that my child was “more,” nobody wanted to listen. I can’t tell you how many people have told me, “oh, just be patient. She’ll grow out of it.” Or, I actually mention Aspberger’s and they tell me that my child is much too social to even be considered! Yes, she got along wonderfully with a select few at school who appreciated her world of fascination and discovery, but once home – it was a different story. She shut herself in (now, I understand it was to recharge her batteries), and they (doctors, teachers, psychologists) weren’t there to observe her incredibly desperate meltdowns. I was just a stressed out, overprotective mom trying to make excuses for her child’s “behavior”!
When we finally got her diagnosis, it was only because I wrote the story of her life – outlining her near-death birth, her intense sensory sensitivity, her intense reactions to transitions, her unique perspective on life, her never ending desire for more information in order to understand, her developed sense of hopelessness because nobody seemed to understand her and her, then, desire to end her life because she just felt she didn’t belong!
All of a sudden it became clear to a particular psychologist that my child was most likely on the spectrum. I remember the doctor approaching me and actually asking me if I ever considered that my child might be on the spectrum?!!! I was both elated and intensely angry at the same time! My “child” was now 16 years old! SIXTEEN! Sixteen years of being made to feel “less than” by those who were supposed to be helping to mold her life! Sixteen years of emotional abuse by the school system that broke her intensely beautiful and unique view of the world!
Somehow, after receiving the official diagnosis, everything seemed to change for her. She came into her (or I should say, his own). He understood himself. He felt comfortable enough to publicly come out as identifying as male. The intense depression that threatened to take his life vanished!
I think it helped that we also took him out of the school he was in, that even after his official diagnosis, refused to accommodate his needs and all but admitted they didn’t believe a word of it!
This past year has been interesting. He is now going to an alternative school so that he can graduate on time. His teachers there adore him!!! They actually fight over him and they all want him in their class. 💖🎉💃🏽 And, while he still complains that he has no friends, anytime I accompany him to school, there are a ton of kids screaming hello and trying to get his attention.
I sometimes forget how amazing his life is going to be, because I don’t know what it’s going to look like, and fear creeps in. But then I remember just how talented he is and resilient and a sense of “knowing” comes over me that even though I don’t know what his life will look like, I do know that it’s going to be brilliant! 💖💖💖💖