Asperger Syndrome: It's a family matter
I am the mother of two boys and a girl. My six-year-old son has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS), and my 13-year-old-son with AS and Tourette Syndrome. This chapter will discuss our road to diagnosis for the boys, my family's reactions, and how parents and professionals can work together to create what we know to be the best way to support an individual with AS. My thanks go to the hundreds of families over the past four years to whom I have spoken in my role with the Aspergers Society of Ontario. The insight I have gained comes not only from my children, but also from these families. It is comforting to know that we are not alone in our quest to support our children with AS. My hope is that family members of a child with AS will relate to some of what I have to say, as I find that many family stories are surprisingly similar.
I first became concerned about Zack when he displayed several traits that were unlike those that my older child had experienced during her development. Zack was an odd kid in that he said only three words. Those were “juice”, “milk”, and “water”. All these words were said in Spanish, even though we spoke Spanish at home very little at the time. One day, aged 18 months, he started speaking in sentences, whole phrases, and long descriptive narratives. Needless to say, this took us aback. I started to look at him carefully and noticed that he always seemed to be on the outside looking in on everyone else. He would “play” with his sister, just 18 months older, but always played the same role. He would ride his little bike in circles for hours if I let him, appearing to be in some unending spiral. Zack also obsessed over the vacuum cleaner, floor polisher, and leaf blower. He would take them apart and try to turn everything into one. He had a great desire