From despair to hope:
A mother's Asperger story
Fern Lee Quint
– In honour of my parents Bess and Hyman Quint –
If I had been told 15 years ago that I would now be living a peaceful life with my family, I never would have believed it. “Ineffective parenting”, “poor impulse control”, and “unresolved feelings from a divorce” were the three main diagnoses given to my son Nathan over 12 long and draining years. As both a mother and a registered nurse specializing in mental health, I did not understand nor believe these diagnoses. Despite the tortuous years of an ongoing search for help, I am now grateful for my perseverance. Nathan's story was one of despair; now it is one of hope.
My pregnancy with Nathan was normal with a respiratory arrest at birth. He was an irritable baby who remained clingy for years. When he was about two years old, I used to attend a program and leave Nathan in the baby-sitting area with all the other little ones. As I walked away, I could hear his screaming over the other children, but hoped he would settle. However, each time I would retrieve him, his screams drowned out all the others. After about three trials, I had to quit my program.
From the time Nathan was 3½ he would only sleep with me. My family doctor told me that he must learn to sleep on his own. For a few months, the night would consist of Nathan waking up and running into my bed, then me putting him back. My mother told me he needed the security of being with me and would