Hello. DD2 (11 yrs old) was recently diagnosed with ASD...we were told more similar to Asperger's. While DW and I have found this to be an answer to some of our questions and it has given us some great insight on how to respond to certain behaviors and situations, and insight as to why she blows up when she does (for DD1, too), DD2 is not receptive to the idea. I am not sure how to address this...I had hoped that it would also be an answer to her. She often asks what's wrong with her after she has an explosive episode, and gets really down on herself about it. However, she says she doesn't have Asperger's. I have tried to tell her that just like everyone else in the world, she has certain things she is good at and certain things she needs to work on. The diagnosis is just a way to help us see what these things are, and learn from others who have had similar experiences. Her response was that I am mean. I told her that my little brother (who is a little older than her) has the same diagnosis, and she was surprised and said she "couldn't tell". I told her that the same goes for her. Other people wouldn't know by meeting her that she had this diagnosis. I am wondering if any of you have had similar experiences and how you handled it. I am also wondering if anyone has book suggestions. I am looking for book suggestions for her to read (young adult novels) and also looking for books for DW and I to read to help us as parents find ways to respond to our DD's struggles.
DD Not Receptive to ASD Diagnosis
Cocobird, I was wondering if it is important to you that she accept the diagnosis quickly and if so why?
Yes, there may be books or tv shows she can watch to help her understand herself and ultimately accept herself better but this is going to be a long process of self understanding for her and for you.
You may be connecting some of her behaviors that you misunderstood before to her new diagnosis and reframing this in your mind will change the way you react to her. As you change the way you react and understand her she will also change how she reacts to you. This is a process of change, and in it, there will be feelings that come up for you both. You both will remember how it used to be different between you before the diagnosis and you have to be strong enough to accept the sadness and guilty feelings that come with that.
So, how does a person get strong enough to withstand the discomfort and pain of this kind of situation. You have to forgive yourself.....because your reactions that came before without the diagnosis seem too hard or uncaring. You have to ask her to forgive you too. You may also want to forgive her....as she can't help her reactions.
This is going to take time.
My son got an ASD diagnosis when he was almost 9 so we went through a similar process.
If this is too hard to do alone, or if your daughter can't talk about these things despite your best efforts you may need the help of a therapist. I could speak with my son (I'm a therapist) but I also think it's easier for mothers to talk to their son's. Ultimately, you DO want to settle into new understandings and what this diagnosis means and have compassion and love for each other. You want to help her learn new skills and help her learn about herself. Some times it's easier to get to that place with the help of a trained therapist.
All the best....
For YoungSon, acceptance was a long road. He was diagnosed at 7 (although I knew well before that), but simply didn't want to talk about it. I mean really, he flatly refused to discuss the matter. If the word autism came up, he would shut down, and if it was in reference to him, he would leave the room. If asked directly, he would deny it, even though autism is spoken of pretty positively in this family (my dad was a musical prodigy as a child, spoke 7 languages fluently, and was the absolute caricature of the eccentric inventor; totally lacking in certain social skills, never diagnosed because of the time and culture he lived in [1920's Berlin]).
I anticipated serious issues of identity and self-esteem as YoungSon grew up, but none really surfaced. After a few more years of not talking about it (although I am sure he thought about it), he reached his own peace. Perhaps the biggest turning point was the TV show "The Big Bang Theory". He loves and identifies with Sheldon and his social gaffes. Today at 17, he is proud of his quirkiness, and jokes freely about it. He revels in learning about famous/successful people who share his diagnosis. I cannot claim that I did anything to help him reach this acceptance, other than letting him find his own pace. But like you said in the OP, the diagnosis was helpful to me in understanding some of his issues and needs.
Are there possibly any groups/meet-ups for ASD kids/pre-teens/teens around you? It may help if she can meet people her own age who are going through what she is. Has she been able to see your brother since finding out? Could talking to him help? Teenagers diagnosed with ASD might be a good place to look- kids tend to be more receptive to older kids than to adults. As she gets older- the internet may be a good resource. I've found a lot of ASD communities online (a lot of my friends are on the spectrum, so I learn about it through them), and it seems to help them to have the support of other people who are like them and know what they're going through. Most communities online are only open to 13+ yo, although some will allow younger with parental permission, and I don't know if she'd be ready for them. If you're comfortable with her finding community online already, though, you could look around for some aimed at pre-teens and teens with ASD, but I'd be very careful.
Has she seen Doctor Who or Sherlock Holmes at all (an age-appropriate version for the Sherlock Holmes, some might be a little mature)? A lot of the people I know on the spectrum are into at least one of those two and identify with the protagonist. It might help in the way that the Big Bang Theory helped mamarhu's son (and The Big Bang Theory isn't a bad idea when she's older, unless you think she's ready for it now- although people with ASD have more mixed reactions to it in my experience, because a lot of the humor is at Sheldon's expense. Some love it, some find it insulting.). Just a suggestion.
This may be a journey she has to make in her own time. Trying to encourage acceptance may not help. You know what she's facing now, you can find tactics that work and know where to look so you can teach her to help herself- whether she accepts the label or not. That's incredibly valuable. I don't suggest just dropping it entirely, but I don't think she needs to accept the diagnosis for you to teach her the skills she needs and also give her the help she needs and, if it's an accurate diagnosis, she'll likely accept it in time, so I wouldn't worry too much about getting her to accept it quickly.
I have a 6yr old apsie. We have not even begun to discuss that he has a dx with him but in time we will. There are workbooks. " Aspergers what does it mean to me" for when she is ready. This book points out negative and positives. What about taking a break from the negativity of the dx. and the dx all together. What about pulling out all her positives. Your daughter may feel more secure and successful with who shes is if she can see and relate to all the great things about being an aspie, than in time address the more difficult points. Part of aspies are very sensitive and hard on themselves for things that they can not control. If she is seeing the negatives in her self she may not know where to go with them and accepting something you can't change can be quiet hard. the more you adjust your parenting to fit her needs the more successful she can feel.
General info about apsergers; tony attwood is a author and he has written a few books on what its like for girls to have asperger's. Could you consult privately with a therapist (without her present) so you could learn new parenting skills to help her issues, I think for now it would be good to not include her in this process that way she will not be able to hear negative talk and internalize it. If she is seeing a therapist, have you talked with her therapist about her reaction to her dx. and maybe her therapist could also help present if more in a positive focus.
Hugs mama! Its a process, but in time it will get easier :)
I agree that that might be a good idea. I'm sure she's well aware of the negatives, and it may be hard for her to see the positives of it.
It's not exactly the same thing, and I won't pretend it is by any stretch, but I was really upset when I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia- I'd really been hoping that what was wrong with me was fixable (rather than "manageable") and that I might be able to live without pain like everyone else without being on a bunch of drugs that can cause other problems. While the diagnosis made sense, it was also really heartbreaking for me because there isn't a cure for fibro- it's just something I have to learn to live with. It may be upsetting for her to realize that "what's wrong with her" (you said that she asks this) is something that will never go away. Some time focusing on the positives may help her.