Monday, January 31, 2011
There are more and more families being touched by Aspergers and we felt it would be interesting to reach out and actually speak with some of those families. Our first meet and greet this Monday is with Mr. Bollard from his blog Life with Aspergers.
Please join us in learning more about his life with Aspergers.
1. Who is the Aspie in your life? What is his or her age?
Actually the correct question is "who is the neurotypical in my life". My wife is the only neurotypical in our family. I'm an Aspie, my eldest son Kaelan who is 10 is an aspie and my other son, Tristan who is 7 has a diagnois of high functioning autism but leans much more towards Aspergers syndrome.
2. When did this person get diagnosed?
Kaelan was diagnosed with aspergers in about September 2006, I followed less than a year later and Tristan was a couple of years after that.
3. What was different about this person that lead to getting a diagnosis?
The main thing that I noticed about Kaelan was that he was having a lot of trouble paying attention. This obviously isn't a typical Aspergers trait so he was eventually diagnosed with ADHD-Inattentive (ADD). His teachers and my wife noticed considerably more but I didn't pick up on their observations. First there was the "sensory things" for example he became obsessed with water and would stop all water activities at preschool to simply run it over his fingers instead.
There were other things too, odd speech, strange tilts of the head, an unusual gait, deep obsessions and unusual mannerisms. He would "space out" at times and we had a lot of difficulty getting his attention when this happened. Personally though, I didn't see many of those things as "different" and would often tell my wife that I was exactly the same as his age.
We had a lot of arguments about it and it was a tough time for the family because I simply couldn't understand the difference.
4. Does your Aspie have any obsessions, if so, what?
Kaelan went through a "wheels" obsession as a child where he would simply spin wheels and watch them for hours. He had a lot of cars but they spent most of their time lined up in rows or upside down. He later developed a Transformers obsession which lasted about a year and a Lego obsession which has been going for at least six years. He's also obsessed with Star Wars.
It was very different with his younger brother Tristan and for a long time I thought that he didn't have an obsession. It's only recently that I've recognized his love of animals for what it truly is. As for myself, I developed an obsession with Doctor Who when I was four and I am still obsessed today.
5. What is one of the funniest experiences you have had with your Aspie?
Every day that I spend with my sons is funny and our minds are often so close that we have jokes between us that others simply don't understand. I feel bad for my wife sometimes because this can mean that she is left out of the fun. It's funny because she'll often use a trite expression which would go down perfectly in a room full of neruotypicals. In our family though, she understands the true meaning of the phrase but the rest of us take things literally. It can have some very funny consequences.
One time we were driving and the boys were bombarding her with questions. She reached her limit, held up her hand and said, "talk to the hand". After a few minutes of puzzled silence, there was a voice from the back seat that said tentatively but friendly; "Hello Hand...".
6. What advice do you have for others that also have an Aspie in their life?
The greatest gift that you can give your aspie is acceptance. You need to let your aspie know that there is one place where they will always be welcome and accepted; home.
7. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The best kind of therapy for your aspergers child is early intervention. This includes physiotherapy for balance, control and co-ordination, speech therapy for more emotive vocalisation and occupational therapy to develop a whole lot of other critical skills. Of course, it doesn't stop there, you should be looking to get an IEP at school which specifically addresses the known weaknesses of aspergers and is truly individualised to your child. Other things which can help are private tutors for academic development and scouts for social development.
Thank you for sharing your Aspergian Tale with us! We hope you enjoyed letting the world at large see a little into your life!