American Asperger's Association Support Group

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questions and answers

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1 questions and answers on Tue May 19, 2009 2:59 am

bmiley a

1. How did you hear about the American Asperger's Association (i.e. internet search engine, school, library, doctors office, existing member, etc) and what benefits are you looking to gain from our family?

I found you online but can't remember how. My son has Asperger's and I'm always looking for info that could help.

2. Do you or any adult relative, friend, etc. have or suspect you/they have an autism spectrum disorder, for example Asperger's Syndrome? If yes, please share your/their story with us. It will help us to get to know you better, and many of our members will be able to easily relate and bond with you.
3. Do you have or care for a child that has or you suspect that they have an autism spectrum disorder, for example Asperger's Syndrome? If yes, please share your/their story with us. It will help us to get to know you better, and many of our members will be able to easily relate with and bond with you.

I'm combining these 2 questions as my son is an adult but was once a child. I'll call him by his favourite nickname, "Casper".
When he was small, Casper was right on schedule or early physically. He walked early but had trouble going through doorways, he'd line himself up then bump into the edge. Later we found he had a problem with spatial awareness.
His speech was delayed until age 3, he made some sounds but nothing you could understand and when he did start speeking he was very difficult to understand. We got embarrassed because he made an "f" sound for "tr" and in a store he was yelling that he wanted a TRUCK, but that's not what came out. Asking his DR. about it I was told "he'd grow out of it".
When he started Junior Kindergarten he lasted 3 days then said he didn't want to go back, it turns out he had asked to use the bathroom but the teacher didn't understand what he wanted. Arrangements were made for me to become a "class helper" so things went well with me gradually working in the library for longer periods until I only went to his class if the teacher wanted to take them for a walk. After that year he was ok staying in school. At the urging of the principal I again approached his Dr. and he was sent for speech therapy and learning assessment. He was diagnosed with learning disabilities plus dislexia, and continued with speech therapy. For Grade 1 he went to a special class for learning disabled until Grade 3.
Casper was very shy, often "melting" slowly into a puddle on the floor. He went to Beavers and Cubs (Boy Scouts) and coped well there but my husband and I helped out with the groups. When he was older he always wore a baseball cap so he could hide under the brim.
When we moved, he had to leave his special class and since the new school board didn't have a similar program they put him in a regular class with a teaching assistant to help. While there they found out he could read a lot better than he let anyone know so started giving him more advanced work.
At 10 he went for surgery to help his speech, there was problem btween the nose and the throat, if it had been worse it would have been cleft pallette. After that his speech improved so now you wouldn't know he had a problem. The learning disabilities continued though, and acting inappropriately, taking toys to school, etc.
This continued through into high school and finally he got into big trouble for taking a realistic looking toy gun to school. When the panic subsided and we got things straightened out the school phycologist recommended he see her husband who specialized in Asperger's Syndrome. He was finally diagnosed and we were able to know better what to do for him. However, except for taking him to the Dr there wasn't much info available then in the mid-eighties.
Casper had taken an interest in drawing, especially space craft, he loved the military and could tell a convincing story. One time he had his hgh school teachers (he was in his late teens) convinced that he had spent the weekend flying a jet plane in the arctic. He joined Air Cadets, a group for young people sponsored by the Canadian Armed Forces. There he learned more about discipline and dressing neatly, went on weekend camps where he broadened his love of survival tactics outdoors. Since he was older when he joined he wasn't there for too long but it dd help.
Casper has continued his love of drawing, just has been asked to do a cartoon strip in the newsletter for a support group he's in and had an online community ask him to post it there too.
He lives on his own, with his pet rabbits, doesn't do well with his money or cleaning but has found some groups to join that have art programs and writing groups. He has become a volunteer with a major theatre here, participating in various activities there. A few years ago the theatre decided to have a ghost tour in October and Casper took charge of the special effects. He has researched and built numerous ghostly effects, working with a friend and generally taking charge.
Our lives haven't been easy dealing with Asperger's and 2 other children, Casper's older brother (by 5 years) and younger sister (by 8 years) plus a Dad that didn't really understand. We have endured with the help of humour.

4. Do you work in any field with people on the autism spectrum disorder? If so, what do you do? How long have you been in the field? Examples would be a doctor, therapist, teacher, aide, ym/wca employee, caregiver etc... Also, if you are local to the Tampa Bay Area, would you be interested in speaking at any of our informational support group meetings in Pinellas Park?


5. Are you local to the Tampa Bay Area? More specifically the Pinellas County area? If so, would you be interested in attending our twice monthly informational support group meetings in Pinellas Park? After approved, be sure to mark in your profile that you are local so that you will be able to receive emails regarding local information and events.

No I'm in Canada.

2 Re: questions and answers on Tue May 19, 2009 12:17 pm


What an interesting and delightful son you have. I can't imagine having worked through the issues you did in the 80's. That is quite a feat. It was challenging enough for me in the 90's when my children were being diagnosed. But, I guess we as parents find a way to get by pretty well. We too have endured with a heavy dose of humor. Both my sons became quite the comedians. It has been very rewarding and life changing to be a part of their lives.

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