Acceptance came easily for everyone in my family, except for one person, my dad, W's grandfather.
Unlike other grandparents, W's relationship with his grandparents' is unique. When W was a year old, he came to live with my parents. We continued to lived with them while I worked and attended college. As I was young, immature, and clueless, I left the his care to my parents. They were not just grandparents, they felt like they were raising both of us. So when he started having difficulties, they took it very personally,
especially my dad. Even though, he didn't agree, he blamed himself for what W was going through.
I couldn't blame him. He's not a bad person by any means. He may not have been an ideal dad, but he was and is the best person in the world for W. He is of the generation, where there weren't many being diagnosed with mental disorder that stayed in public. And there was and still is stigma attached to anything related to mental disorders. So he wasn't convinced.
These are the key things he used to say.
- W is shy
- W will grow out of it.
- W is used to being with adults, he just doesn't know how to make friends.
- When I was going to school, they had names for kids like that, they were nerds...
He continued like this for years even after the diagnosis. He didn't accept it but he didn't interfere in any way with him getting help. We just didn't talk about it.
I don't know when my dad warmed up to the diagnosis. But after the bullying incident, I gave him the book "Be Different by Jon Elder Robison." That was one book that made him more understanding of how W's brain worked. Then he pointed out some of the common challenges that he saw in W that this author and some other books laid out. He finally accepted the diagnosis.
But every now and then, he would pick up a book and highlight the areas trying to convince me how W was different from how Aspergers was described in the book. And then I would have to explain how not all aspies are the same. I guess I was asking for too much. But he has agreed that therapy was making W a happier and more talkative teenage boy. I will just have to be satisfied with that and move on. It looks like W has done that already. ...