Parents have a gargantuan effect on how an Aspie turns out. There are parents that are unsupportive and there are parents that are supportive. This situation reminds me of the X-Men series. Like the mutants, Aspies are different and gifted. Like the mutants, Aspies aren’t always understood and, at times, do not understand. In the X-Men movies, some humans were kind and tried to help, but there were also humans that wanted to either destroy the mutants or “cure” them. The other two types of parents don’t connect to the X-Men series at all. Some parents aren’t aware of the fact that their child has Asperger Syndrome and are very confused and very frustrated. Some parents are aware that their child has AS, but simply don’t know what to do or how to treat their “special” child.
Mutants and Aspies, however, do not need to be “fixed” or “cured.” It has not been my experience, but I’ve heard of parents that want to “fix” their Aspie. There is nothing wrong with having AS. I’ve heard of parents that aren’t supportive, and I can’t imagine the amount of stress that would cause for an Aspie. I imagine that an Aspie would feel that the parents were ashamed of them and wanted them to be “normal.” This may create an angry and resentful Aspie. It may create an Aspie that has a grudge against “normal” people. I do not feel I have the right to drone on about unsupportive parents because I don’t have any experience in the matter, but I have compassion on those that do. Because of this, I will be cutting this paragraph short.
My parents have been the supportive kind. They help me to adhere to social rules. When I’m royally messing up, they pull me aside and explain what I don’t seem to comprehend. They are patient while I ask a million questions about “why is it that way” or “it just doesn’t make sense.” They wait patiently for me to find the words to explain how I feel about certain things. They give me the patience to deal with “normal” people that just don’t get me. My parents expect me to obey social rules. They expect this of me not because they want to “fix” me, not because they wish I was “normal”, but because they know it will make my life significantly easier. It will make my life easier to obey social rules and to not offend people left and right unintentionally. I will keep so many more friends if I don’t say things that are offensive to them, even though I never thought what I was going to say would be offensive. Because my parents are the supportive parents, I think I’ve turned out pretty well. I’m not pretending to be a person that I’m not, but I am socially obedient to my best ability.
In the matter of parents that don’t know their child has AS and are confused and frustrated, I have very little experience. Like I said in my post, Break the Awkward Ice, my parents were confused and frustrated. They didn’t know why I just didn’t seem to understand basic, simple social things. They didn’t understand why I made faces while I was being lectured. I was punished for things I said that weren’t appropriate or acceptable. I was told time and time again, “Think before you speak.” And I would think before I spoke. It’s just that what I was saying, in my mind, was acceptable. What I was saying, however, was not acceptable in pretty much everyone else’s mind. It caused a great deal of confusion. I was confused because I didn’t know what I was doing wrong. My parents were confused because it seemed like I didn’t even understand the simplest things. Aspies that aren’t aware of their AS will grow up. They will have a life; a hard life, to be sure, but a life. They will be confused. They will be frustrated. They will learn the hard way that some things will socially ostracize them. Their lessons will be learned the hard way.
As for the parents that just have no clue as to what to do with their Aspie, I don’t know. I can give advice that comes from my experience in life, but not all Aspies are the same. Your child will face different difficulties than I have. Your child may have a harder time grasping social concepts than I have. A child with parents that have no clue how to deal with their child’s AS may end up being an adult that has no clue how to deal with their own AS. I can say this, we have feelings and we will find a way to express them. Sometimes we don’t exactly have the right words to describe how we feel, but if you wait patiently, we may be able to tell you in our own special way. We don’t get social cues and will need help learning them. You can help us. The way my parents raised me may not work perfectly for other Aspies, but the best advice I can give you is to take it one step at a time. Be patient because we will find a way to express ourselves.
Depending on how an Aspie is raised, they can end up with a positive outlook on life and their AS or they can end up with a negative outlook. They can end up confused and frustrated with life. They can end up not knowing exactly how to live with their AS. I’m glad that I was able to be raised in a positive way. I have compassion for those that didn’t. I want to help those that are still confused and not aware of their AS. I hope that those parents that don’t know what to do will figure it out. I hope that reading my words will help non-Aspies to understand more. I dearly wish that reading my words will help encourage those who feel alone, because there are others out there that are like you. I’m like you. Maybe my gift of articulation was given to me so that I can reach out to you. To let you know that you have a friend, as well as a fellow Aspie, in me.