One of the largest problems with having a high functioning Aspergers child is people do not always see a child with a disability, they think they are just acting out or undisciplined. I have even had this discussion with family members who felt it was a discipline issue. Even if discipline was the problem, Aspergers children work differently when it comes to discipline and techniques used on other kids do not always work or work the same with Aspergers children. We look back on all the years and all the different things we tried and now realize we either had absolutely no effect on her, or it went in the wrong direction from where we were trying to get.
It is extremely frustrating to have people misunderstand your child in this way. Since many Aspergers children have a maturity level under their actual age it makes things even worse. I often want to tell my child to grow up or act her age, but I realize she is not there mentally. She still loves to watch the young children cartoons, for example. She still can throw a tantrum (not throwing herself on the floor, but gets very frustrated and shuts off). Her ability to know what is proper and not proper in certain situations can still be at a childs level. This is also frustrating because some situations she is fine and handles herself perfectly, but once in awhile she does not and you just do not know when it will happen. This is where the high functioning Aspergers is in play, when she can function just fine, but then one day she does not. I have often got the “look” from people. Even people I know and family members who know she has a disability. It is the “control your child”, or “what kind of parent are you” or “she has no dicipline” look. If they could only spend one day in my shoes to understand there is a difference with these children. They literally are wired different and have to be deal with different. Just like when you come home with a new baby from the hospital “without an instruction manual” and have to figure it out ……. this is the same. There is no instruction manual because they are all different and you have to find what works and fits for them.
I am so thankful she is high functioning Aspergers because she can lead a fairly normal life. She can learn the social skills and abilities to function in the world. It just takes time. I love that her doctor made the comment that “someday people may actually look at Aspergers as an positive attribute when interviewing for a career”. He made this comment after talking about several scientists that were thought to have been Aspergers. There are some good attributes that many Aspergers children display that could potentially be sent after in certain fields such as science. Since my daughter is a science freak and loves math, our doctor feels she could really excel in school and a career.