Do I tell my son?
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02-01-2015, 12:36 PM (This post was last modified: 02-01-2015 03:25 PM by gofish!.)
Do I tell my son?
OK, well I've been dipping my toe in here for a little while and been mightily impressed by the quality of people here. So you get to be the first people in the world to hear this.

My 14 year old son has Asperger's Syndrome. However, he doesn't know it.

He was diagnosed while we were living out in the US at an early stage (3 yrs), by dint of a sudden onset of Apraxia. By luck as much as anything else, he was diagnosed by one of the world's leading specialists (apparently). Early intervention got him talking and since then he's been functional.

Despite our move back to UK, he has adapted really fast and indeed is top of his class in a lot of things: yes, Math(s) is one of them. Indeed, being largely functional, we took the decision not to get an assessment of special needs (or SEN, in the UK).

So far, so good. But there's a little catch. He knows he's different. I've been coaching him to "be himself" and so far, he's got his circle of good friends and great confidence.

So why am I worried? Well, here's the kicker: my research into his condition, as well as a strange familiarity about some of his experiences is leading me to the conclusion that I may well be an undiagnosed Asperger case.

It's an interesting question now: in my own case, I have actually found this dawning revelation somewhat liberating. I have never held any thoughts about such "conditions" carrying any stigma, and indeed understanding this has given me some closure to unanswered questions about my past. But I am a grown man, who has learned the hard way the value of being true to myself and of having self respect. I can take this news and even celebrate it.

The question that is vexing my wife and I is whether we should tell my son. So, I was wondering whether anyone else here has had any similar experience or personal feeling they would like to share on this.

Thank you all for listening and for whatever thoughts you can share.

P.S: as a atheist, I respectfully ask anyone considering bringing theist themes into this discussion to refrain, no matter how well-intentioned. Thanks.

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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02-01-2015, 12:53 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
Yes, tell him.

I'm assuming that your child's issues are mainly social?

I have a 15 year on the autism spectrum -- he knows and it took some pressure off him. He has some learning issues but technically aspergers. The social issues affect his classroom performance.

Now he more or less gets why he's in "special needs" class -- and for the most part he really thrives in there.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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02-01-2015, 12:54 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
if he is asking about his medical history, I would tell him. He is 14 and I feel people have the right to know, and he is at an age that he can probably handle it.

I would make it a time when you can have a lengthy discussion about it. Talk about who it might be safe to share that info with, who it may not be and why. Share your thoughts and ideas that you mentioned above about being your own person. Share the clinical info that its a spectrum, so people fall at different points in the scale, etc.

Discuss how this might be good or bad in a school setting re testing. Give him the history of how the diagnosis came about in the first place.

I don't think it would be fair to him to drop the bomb but not have all of these other side conversations.

and as always, leave the door wide open for more questions, etc after he has had time to mull things over.


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02-01-2015, 12:55 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
Why are you concerned about telling him? From the little info you've posted it sounds like knowing would only help him. What's the potential downside?

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02-01-2015, 12:57 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
(02-01-2015 12:53 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Yes, tell him.

I'm assuming that your child's issues are mainly social?

I have a 15 year on the autism spectrum -- he knows and it took some pressure off him. He has some learning issues but technically aspergers. The social issues affect his classroom performance.

Now he more or less gets why he's in "special needs" class -- and for the most part he really thrives in there.

First of all, thanks for sharing and for your insight.

Well he's not in special needs, so that's not an issue. And it is mild (he's very socially functional). It is at quite a subtle level, but down to the classic issues: not reading social cues very well.

Can I ask: how old was he when you told him?

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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02-01-2015, 12:59 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
(02-01-2015 12:54 PM)Bows and Arrows Wrote:  if he is asking about his medical history, I would tell him. He is 14 and I feel people have the right to know, and he is at an age that he can probably handle it.

I would make it a time when you can have a lengthy discussion about it. Talk about who it might be safe to share that info with, who it may not be and why. Share your thoughts and ideas that you mentioned above about being your own person. Share the clinical info that its a spectrum, so people fall at different points in the scale, etc.

Discuss how this might be good or bad in a school setting re testing. Give him the history of how the diagnosis came about in the first place.

I don't think it would be fair to him to drop the bomb but not have all of these other side conversations.

and as always, leave the door wide open for more questions, etc after he has had time to mull things over.

All sounds like sound things and it's good to have another pair of eyes on this, so thanks.

Actually, he's not asking, otherwise it would be simple: I would tell him.

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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02-01-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
(02-01-2015 12:55 PM)unfogged Wrote:  Why are you concerned about telling him? From the little info you've posted it sounds like knowing would only help him. What's the potential downside?

Good question. The short answer is that he's 14 and that's an intersting phase in anyone's life. He's doing well both at school and even socially (although, despite his soccer skills, he'll never be a "Jock"....thank goodness). Sure, he complains he doesn't quite understand girls... Smile

The point is that he's fine and coping well. I worry purely as to whether it will tip him into self-doubt. Like I said, my getting the news is fine: my professional experience has given me a lot of positive insight into people on the spectrum and I view it now as just a different set of fantastic capabilities.

But for a boy going through the awkwardness of mid teens, I'm keen to understand other people's experience before risking this move. Hopefully that makes sense?

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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02-01-2015, 01:12 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
(02-01-2015 12:57 PM)gofish! Wrote:  
(02-01-2015 12:53 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Yes, tell him.

I'm assuming that your child's issues are mainly social?

I have a 15 year on the autism spectrum -- he knows and it took some pressure off him. He has some learning issues but technically aspergers. The social issues affect his classroom performance.

Now he more or less gets why he's in "special needs" class -- and for the most part he really thrives in there.

First of all, thanks for sharing and for your insight.

Well he's not in special needs, so that's not an issue. And it is mild (he's very socially functional). It is at quite a subtle level, but down to the classic issues: not reading social cues very well.

Can I ask: how old was he when you told him?

We didn't hide it from him, we used the word "autism". But he never honestly connected that he was on the spectrum until we told him.

I suppose he was around 13.

It's not just about learning academics -- it's about learning everything.

Social cues are the hardest, because they're so subtle at times.

My son doesn't get nuance, you must be very direct with him.


But as if to knock me down, reality came around
And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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02-01-2015, 01:17 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
(02-01-2015 01:12 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(02-01-2015 12:57 PM)gofish! Wrote:  First of all, thanks for sharing and for your insight.

Well he's not in special needs, so that's not an issue. And it is mild (he's very socially functional). It is at quite a subtle level, but down to the classic issues: not reading social cues very well.

Can I ask: how old was he when you told him?

We didn't hide it from him, we used the word "autism". But he never honestly connected that he was on the spectrum until we told him.

I suppose he was around 13.

It's not just about learning academics -- it's about learning everything.

Social cues are the hardest, because they're so subtle at times.

My son doesn't get nuance, you must be very direct with him.

Sounds very familiar. Smile

Again, thanks for sharing. And yes it is purely the social aspect we're concerned with. So I'm guessing telling him went smoothly and no major issues? I know, we're talking about completely different people here, but just keen to learn as much as I can.

"I don't mind being wrong...it's a time I get to learn something new..."
Me.
N.B: I routinely make edits to posts to correct grammar or spelling, or to restate a point more clearly. I only notify edits if they materially change meaning.
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02-01-2015, 01:23 PM
RE: Do I tell my son?
(02-01-2015 01:04 PM)gofish! Wrote:  The point is that he's fine and coping well. I worry purely as to whether it will tip him into self-doubt. ... But for a boy going through the awkwardness of mid teens...

Early to mid teens is a royal mess for most people; if his condition makes it harder for him to read social cues then it'll be harder on him than it is for most. I'd think knowing can only help him cope better as long as you make him understand that it is just a difference that he'll need to compensate for.

Since he likes soccer maybe point out that for some kids it comes easy while others have to really practice and work at it to be good. They're still a valuable part of the team. Social interaction will just take a bit more effort on his part than is required from others. When you tell him, be sure to have current, accurate information available for him.

Then again, I'm not in that situation and never have been. Take advice from a random stranger on the internet and you get what you pay for!
Consider

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