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SAHM of 3 wonderful kids, one brilliant one Asperger Syndrome. This is not a living shrine to his disorder, but rather a place to share & discuss the different challenges that came with it and other things about parenting & life in general.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why didn't we think of Aspergers? Hindsight, What-Ifs, & Irony

               Puzzled is how I felt that day, 
                      my Yorkshire terrier.
Of all the forms of wisdom, hindsight is by general consent the least merciful, the most unforgiving. - John Fletcher 
"Why didn't we think of Aspergers?"
A question that haunted me the other day as I drove passed W's old school.

I understand hindsight, I know to reflect rather than dwell and I know how to move on. So why do I let it bother me? You will understand me as you finish this post.

W is a high functioning aspie. His main weakness was his delayed speech and that was the primary focus when he was 3. In order to continue his speech services, the diagnosis was a learning disability. No one, including his doctors could come up with anything else. He was in a regular K class and received speech an hour a day.

A few days later, I made an unannounced visit to his classroom to see how he was adjusting to his Kindergarten class. He was adjusting for sure, but not in the way you'd think. The classroom was made up of small circular tables. I found him sitting in a square desk in the corner, alone, isolated from the rest of the class.

  The only thing this teacher could tell me was that W was not paying attention. She didn't know what to do.  Calling me would have been one of the first options but common sense was not the only thing lacking in this teacher, but I digress. After a brief meeting with the administration, W didn’t go back to this school.

 After 2 weeks of unsuccessful stint at a private school, we found a tiny, brand-new Montessori school connected to another school.

This is where it kills me. The small school was a school for Autistic children. The population consisted of kids representing the whole spectrum.

Was he tested for Aspergers? No. But tests did reveal that he had an high IQ nearing 150. The other aspie characteristics were dismissed as one of those idiosincrincies that came with being gifted. The difficulties were well hidden due to there only having 8 other kids in the classroom with 2 adult helpers. Montessori style of teaching helped him focus on topics that challenged him and he excelled in. They had the time and personnel to spend more time on skills that he lacked. He flourished in this wonderful environment.

The diagnosis came later when we moved to another school where he faced larger classroom and bullying which led to the Asperger diagnosis. I'm not sure how much difference the early diagnosis would've made, but there is no question that he could have avoided some of heartaches that came with bullying. He would have been better prepared to enter the regular classroom. I’m just glad that I didn’t let him skip a grade as recommended by his teachers.

As a parent, you will always have doubts and regrets. It is a part of life. For me, that school is a reminder of what I missed by not paying attention. I take solace in that, I'm not the only one who failed W in getting the diagnosis. But it turned out well. I tried to come up with a theme for this post, it was hindsight, regrets, and irony. But irony seemed more fitting.

If you get anything from this post, please look around to see what you are missing. You could be missing the obvious, because I sure did.


  1. It's extremely easy to miss it if the child in question is one's FIRST child. Comparison is everything! Not only that, but we become so immersed in our situations we don't have the clarity of someone on the outside.

    But, you're right--every parent has a hell of a lot of doubt and regret.

  2. I think there are likely many parents who would share and understand your experience and your feelings about it.
    Sometimes our path only emerges as we take our next steps... I think it is Buddha who said, "The foot feels the foot when it feels the ground." To me this means sometimes I can't know where I have been until I look back and see the steps I have taken... and then it is "ahhh... now I see how I have come to be here..."
    You are right, I think, about the importance for parents to be willing to look deeply and examine what they might be missing. Sometimes that might be that their child experiences the world differently - like it is for both of us. Sometimes it might be that we just don't want to miss the special moments.
    I think there is a natural tendency to want to see the best about our children and to focus on their strengths. Perhaps this is a double-edged sword in that we might be less likely to perceive their challenges... there are lots of complexities here... and I struggle with this still.


  3. If you look at a list of characteristics for Asperger's and compare it to a list of characteristics for high IQ, you'll notice a HUGE amount of overlap. Actually, the two lists are almost identical!

    It's not surprising at all that the Asperger's wasn't diagnosed until later!

    I had the same issues with my daughter!

  4. Thanks for the comments. I knew everyone had their moments. :-)

  5. We have a similar tale. It took 4 years for my son to finally get diagnosed. And when I look back at all the testing and the markers, it was all right there.

    My advice to other parents has always been to trust your instincts. If you think something is not right, but the "experts" tell you its fine, keep looking.

  6. How old is your "special" child? and how old when you got a definitive diagnosis?

  7. I said 3rd grade but I was off. He was nearing 5th grade when it was said and done. The testing process takes a while but glad we got it. ;)

  8. how about being told but being convinced it was related to a hearing impairment, and then not coming out of this until he was 12 years old , we missed it for 12 years. It took another new school and nice teachers who saw it right away as they met him and gently let us see why they thought it was aspergers and supported us that led to diagnosis for my son at age 12, he had years of bad times at schools, out and about. We also could have spared him. My son had no language delays and no developmental delays as a baby and toddler, but it is was so obvious in every other way looking back. But all we can do is work with the information we have at the time. I have 2 more children now, they showed me what I missed as I only had him. But my second son is 20 months and clearly showing obvious signs of an A.S.D again no language or motor delay obvious , but he is sensitive to everything cannot sleep, and spins flaps and rolls his eyes and head and is obsessed with mechanical things. With your blog you are helping others and now that you do know, you are able to help your child so all is not lost. Janice