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
I copied and pasted the name but nothing came up on FBSeptember 15, 2015 - 8:29pm
I appreciate this greatly. It wasn't until I was in my mid-50s that I realized my mother had Asperger's. It changed my life. It made me realize that she has a disability, that she loved me as she could, but not in the way that built my strong ego and self esteem. But, it was the best she could do. It wasn't me. Realizing this has let me let go of anger and resentment, and has allowed me to develop an appreciation of who she is and has made us closer. She has had her own struggles to go through and though I wish I had been the cherished child of my fantasies, my suffering has been minimal compared to the lot of many people. I have come to appreciate those with asperger's as having unique insights, wisdom, and a really great sense of humor.July 20, 2015 - 7:50pm
It can make a difference, when the realization comes that in many cases, they weren't trying to hurt us. That our parents had their own challenges and did their best and loved us in their own ways.
The puzzlement, things just not adding up for much of our lifetimes -- and then with a diagnosis, whether medical or just our own realizations -- pieces begin to fall into place.
And we see that we are not lacking, it was not us. It was never us. This can be very freeing in some ways.July 20, 2015 - 8:04pm
Ah, alienating and marginalizing us again, I see how it is.November 22, 2014 - 7:41am
the 'us' being those with asperger's? tell me how it is. imagine that others have lives beyond you. what's that like?July 20, 2015 - 10:00pm
I searched facebook for "Neurotypical Friends and Relatives of AS People" and nothing came up. Can you provide a link? It has come to my attention only last week that my father may have AS (possibly his father and my sister as well). I thought I was dealing with a narcissist but AS actually makes more sense. ThanksApril 25, 2013 - 3:04pm
https://www.facebook.com/groups/452488568153776/?ref=ts&fref=ts should work, but also just try searching again. I just now searched it from a friend's computer and it worked. Thanks, I hope you join! :)April 25, 2013 - 3:46pm
I have requested to join your FB group. It ask me to write and ask to join, But I can't figure out how to write to ask. Please let me join for I am a child of a aspie mom.October 27, 2013 - 9:55am
Great article, thanks!December 1, 2014 - 1:05am
You're welcome.:)December 1, 2014 - 7:30am