Asperger's Syndrome is finally moving into the spotlight. Questions that have perplexed Asperger's (AS) and neurotypical (NT) family members alike are now finding answers. Marriages between Aspies and NT's can improve as more becomes known about how to bridge the neurological gap.
People with Asperger's are writing articles, blogging, and being heard. Their voices have been given a platform that's been long in coming. They certainly deserve this understanding.
One group, though, that seems to be under-represented in all this new information and support, are the neurotypical children of Aspie parents. There's a certain irony here. From what I've read, this has been the story of their lives.
A cornucopia of material is available, finally, for AS children, and Asperger's / NT marriages, and Asperger's in adults. But their NT child is — still — overlooked.
An Asperger's parent might say everything is fine. They're not aware of any problem for their child. However, there's that Catch 22. Neurologically, they are unable to be aware of it. But that doesn't mean there isn't a problem.
The neurotypical parent's view may be completely different. They'd see the hurt feelings the Aspie would miss. They'd be aware of the emotional distance the child faces. Inevitably, the AS parent would not.
Some NT children of AS parents, now adults themselves, would say that as children they felt unloved. Their Aspie parent wasn't able to be sensitive to their feelings and their needs. As NT children, they couldn't understand the neurological disconnect. The present generation of NT adults with Asperger's parents had no way of knowing what was wrong when they were small.
Children assume, and internalize, that there is something wrong with them, that it is somehow their fault when their parents can't show them love and affection in non-verbal ways they can understand. To compound the situation, Asperger's was unheard of at that time. Who knew?
Many offspring of Aspies are dogged throughout their lives with depression and low self-worth. In their early lives their thoughts and feelings weren't acknowledged so the ability to develop healthy relationships later in life was stunted.
They don't expect to be heard. They don't expect to be understood. They have no frame of reference for it. And though they don't have the Asperger's neurological profile, some never learned how to fully express and receive love and affection for those around them, and so the ripples of isolation spread.
- Due to a substantial response to this article from 2009 I wrote another for NT children of AS parents in 2015 called "NT Children of Parents with Aspergers: Looking for Information?" You can read it here.
Frequently Asked Questions About Asperger Syndrome. Aspergerfoundation.org.uk.
FAAAS, Inc. Faaas.org.
Asperger Relationships. Autism.lovetoknow.com.
About.com:Adults and Asperger Syndrome. Autism.about.com.
Feeling Invisible in the Asperger World. Psychcentral.com.
Children of a parent with ASD / Asperger’s Syndrome. Aspergerpartner.com.
Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger
Add a Comment201 Comments
"A cornucopia of material is available, finally, for AS children, and Asperger's / NT marriages, and Asperger's in adults. But their NT child is -- still -- overlooked."
"To compound the situation, Asperger's was unheard of at that time. Who knew?"
This is all so true. And it's almost impossible to google on it. Because all terms as "(adult) child" "Aspergers", "parent" will return results on parents of Aspergers adult children.
And how do you find out if your parent is an Aspergers? When he (or she) is a pensioner by now? I can't walk up to my dad and say: "You know what dad, I finally have gotten a grip on why we have such a lousy bond. You're an Aspergers, you and I can't help it. But we could improve on it, if only you'd know yourself." Because the more I've read on the subject, the more sure I am he is. And the more I 'treat' him as an Aspergers, the better it is. I don't get worked up so much, and he doesn't get worked up so much.August 14, 2015 - 1:32am
But I feel insecure about it, and I feel as a cheat: I'm treating him secretly, with a hidden 'agenda' so to speak. I'm not 'honest'. And it hurts. Not in the least because he is, like a true Aspergers, brutally honest. That's part of the 'problem', LOL.
As to your dad not being diagnosed, maybe that doesn't matter. Whether he is clinically such or not, if you are seeing new insights due to what you know about Asperger's syndrome, and if those insights are helping you, maybe that is enough.
It's not dishonesty. You are not sharing with him about something he wouldn't want to hear or be interested in. But you know something new, which is making a difference for you. Maybe there will be some relief in doing something where you only have to consider yourself and its effect on you.
As to what to do about the astonishing lack of material for NT children of Aspie parents, I don't know the answer to that. Unless it's to start filling the Internet up with it somehow.
Perhaps an NT adult child might write a blog about their experience.
Maybe someone might create a website and add links to the few things that are on the Web concerning this group.
Somebody could start a forum just for NT kids of Aspies.
I hope to write another article soon. This has been slowed down by that lack of research material you mentioned.
Other people may not be very interested in you. They may not even know that what you go through even exists. The only way I know of to start from Ground Zero where nobody is talking about it, is to go ahead and start talking about it myself. If some NT kids were to do that ... who knows?August 21, 2015 - 6:14am
Can't find the group - any ideas of how to?August 6, 2015 - 1:34am
Try this link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/591211680992016/October 23, 2015 - 8:34am
or search for ASParents - not really a word, so hard to find.
I didn't realize your question hadn't been answered. Sorry I missed it till now.
I'm afraid I don't know how but if you don't mind scrolling through this great long thread:) you may find it again, or perhaps one or two others as well. Someone posted today with a link to a new Facebook closed group.September 16, 2015 - 6:56am
Thanks for this article. Somehow there is not too much articles about this topic, even though there are many of us NT children of Asperger parents. My dad is now in his 70's and was never diagnosed as an AS. In my opinion the case is very clear. Almost all Asperger symptoms apply to him. Very self centered, interested almost only in his work and his almost useless hobby. If questioned, leaves the room or starts to talk about something completely different topic. We never had a proper father-son discussion and he has never been interested of what I do. And what about me then? I have a history of depression and life long problems with low self-esteem... But it is comforting to know that I am not the only person struggling with this problem. I know I am quite bittet with this, but when seeing my friends doing things with their fathers and their supporting dads teaching them what fathers are supposed to teach their sons, it just makes me sad. Why me?July 20, 2015 - 1:38am
Your dad is an asshole NOT Aspergers. There are plenty of aspergers fathers who are VERY caring for their sons.August 16, 2015 - 9:03pm
How incredibly rude and ignorant of you. Asperger's is a spectrum disorder. Not everyone with aspergers is going to be the loving, bumbling professor type. Many are misdiagnosed as being narcissistic because of the very traits and worse, this person has mentioned.
There may be many who are caring, but not all are. The fact you put the word 'very' into all caps makes me wonder if you are a father with Asperger's yourself. It would be very typical of someone with aspergers to read a comment about their own situation and take it as personally about them.September 15, 2015 - 8:24pm
Here is what is "rude and ignorant". Classifying an entire group of people as being bad parents. The facts are more and more showing themselves as we cast our eyes to the numbers of autistic adults who are now speaking to us. There are many, many who are parents and whose children are very happy. Just like with non-autistic people there are some who are not good parents. There are some who suffer from depression, anxiety, OCD, bi-polar and other mental health issues. To make a broad brush stroke that Aspergers children are somehow suffering is entirely bigoted. To armchair diagnose your Father as Aspergers because he was an asshole is bigoted, rude and ignorant. A bad Father likely has issues OTHER than Aspergers.September 17, 2015 - 3:53pm
Nobody is characterizing an entire group of people as being like this or like that. This article, and this thread is about how NT children of Aspie parents feel. They are talking about their particular situations with their particular parents.
That is what this thread is about. It is about the NT children.September 17, 2015 - 5:52pm