So Sad About Asperger Diagnosis

Updated on October 25, 2011
N.T. asks from Macomb, MI
16 answers

Hi everyone.

I started taking my son to a therapist in July for issues with anger. He would get upset easily and I thought getting some help wouldn't hurt. We have been seeing a therapist on a weekly basis and last week she told me she thinks my son has a mild case of aspergers. I am quite upset at this and she said she doesn't understand why. That all kids have challenges and that my son is high functioning. My son has felt "different" and expressed that since he was about 5, he is now 8. I feel so lost in this diagnosis. I'm so worried for my son. Any advice?



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answers from Seattle on

My suggestion is to let yourself grieve. It's okay to feel sad that your son has received a (preliminary) diagnosis, it's not what you were expecting, is startling, could feel scary/unknown/new/challenging. That's all a really, really normal reaction.

That being said. A diagnosis will not change your son. He won't be any different than the boy you love and know. The difference is that now you will have more access to tools and resources that will *hopefully* help him (and your family) flourish. A diagnosis is not, in my mind, a barrier. Rather, it is the acknowledgment and acceptance of a state of being. Thus, limitations can be recognized and then worked around. Support can be found. Parenting methods can be utilized. Learning structures specialized.

Thing is, having a neurodisorder in a neurotypical world can be a bit of a challenge. But *knowing* that THAT is what is challenging, can be really, really, liberating. It can help us to be better parents, and to live more effectively, with less struggle, and more fully as children AND adults w/ disorders.

Nonetheless, I hear you. It's tough news to receive and your reaction is totally normal.

Good luck and big hugs.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Well I guess I have two separate pieces of advice...

1) The therapist saying she thinks your son has a mild case of aspergers is NOT a diagnosis. It's simply her saying she THINKS he MAY be disposable.

2) That said... A diagnosis doesn't change who your son is. He is EXACTLY who he has always been. If he DOES get the diagnosis, the only change will be in the services you are able to get for him.

Try to take a breath. Talk to the therapist about what she recommends as next steps. Talk to his pediatrician as well. Get whatever referral you need to pursue a diagnosis. Not knowing won't make it go away. You sought therapy because you wanted him to get help... so keep on that path and do whatever you can for your little guy.


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

It doesn't seem very helpful of the therapist to criticize you for being shocked and worried! Are you considering having more testing done to confirm this? Having a diagnosis doesn't change who your child is, but it may give you and his teachers a better idea of how his brain works and new things to try.

When we took our son to a counselor who specialized in kids with high functioning autism, he thought that my husband might have Aspergers as well. I always knew he was a computer geek, but never thought it was more than that. He is successful, has a good job, is social, jokes a lot- although he does sometimes miss cues that people are bored when he's talking about computers for too long. He works with someone else who is farther from normal- the guy wears black all the time, only eats at McDonalds, but is really great at computers.

Two of the books I read when my son was diagnosed are Parenting your Asperger child by Sohn & Grayson, and Quirky Kids by Klass & Costello. The main thing my son is struggling with at school is writing. It made me feel a little better to know that he isn't the only one- I recently read an article that claims 85% of kids with Aspergers have trouble with handwriting.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

I don't blame you for being sad. But there is alot you can do to help your son, with this early diagnosis. Your son is obviously bright and self-aware if he has been able to express that he feels "different". Now he has a chance to discover the good parts about his difference, and also that he is not at all alone in feeling this way. I just read that 1 in 110 kids is now diagnosed with autism, and aspergers is on the mild end of the spectrum, with your son being on the mild end of that range. It's great that you are already working with a therapist. She should be able to help you to make the most of your son's unique abilities.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I know 2 Moms that have sons who are High Functioning Aspergers.
These boys, are FINE.
They are high functioning and are actually VERY, bright/advanced academically for their ages.
One has an Aide in class with him. He is in 3rd Grade.
He has friends and no one treats him differently. He is a great kid... and my children are friends with him too. He is adorable and like any other kid/boy.
Sure, he has social awkwardness or gets irate... but not more so than any other kid.

The other boy I know, is already a Teenager. He is a great kid. He is VERY bright as well and nice and has many friends. Even a girl friend!

These boys are fine. They are just a tad eccentric and socially awkward... but again, not unlike any other kid.
And their Moms...are VERY proud of their sons. They are enrolled in many extracurricular activities, of THEIR interests and talents. Because, they do have their own unique talents and interests. Their Moms, NURTURE that in them. Always. Always. Thus, their sons are very self-assured, confident, and thoughtful boys.
I am impressed with them, myself.
And these boys, have NO hang-ups, about themselves either.
They know they have Aspergers. It does not affect them negatively.
They have a "gift." And that is the way their Moms, nurture them.

Don't worry.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I found out Last summer my youngest had a Sensory Processing Disorder.

I went Education crazy on what that meant for him.

And we have struggled but found a way to make life work.

This Summer we started talking about him also having some other issues going on.

He has since been diagnosed with Opposition Defiance Disorder. It is miserable right now at home with him. Anything sets him off. And I never know what an out burst will bring. I have been given black eyes. And have had blood drawn more then once.

He is currently on a waiting list to get into U W Autism clinic. We strongly believe that he has High functioning Autism.

We had him test into the IEP Pre-k Classes that our School district offers. They were the ones that really tipped me off on him having HFA. He hit 8 of the ten things she had rattled off.

You have to remember you can not Change the things that come to us in life. But Learn from them. Reach out to people. Find support. Educate yourself as much as you can. Figure out what WORKS for you guys.

He see's the world slightly different then you. The mama bear in you wants what is best for him. For him what is best is going to be making sure is he happy, healthy and given everything he wants to try and achieve.

I think it is a good sign that he can feel the difference. alot of high functioning can go on to leading very typical lives. I have talked to a few moms that have had that diagnose's now where their kids have now gotten through school. And gone on to living and working out in the community.

You are going to go through the emotions that come when dealing with something difficult. And that Process is needed. Just remember it is ok to feel those things. In the end though, you can not change what is. Making the best of it, and making the best better is what you can strive for now. Have one of those amazing stories..Or at least make that your goal. You can not go wrong trying.

Hang tough mama.

Soon your worries wont be over the diagnose's, it will be how to keep up with your ball of energy:) I noticed once I was on to what was going on...and able to react more appropriately to my little guy...Things got a bit easier at home.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

While I understand being worried and a little sad, just realize that knowing you are dealing with something specific (be it Asperger's or something else) is better than suspecting that there is something going on but never being able to get help for it. There's a lot of help and support for people with types of autism that hasn't always been there; just the level of awareness in the medical world and in school systems is much, much better than it was even ten years ago.

Having said that, the best thing you can do is educate yourself about Asperger's and accept it fully as part of who your son is (if this is a true diagnosis), not as something that is independent of him or something that is "wrong" with him. It isn't something wrong; it's just his brain's way of processing the world around him, and it is unique from the way other people process it. You should find (and probably already have) that there are traits about him that make him really stand out: attention to certain details; creative or technical or logic abilities that are a little advanced and impressive. It's usually part of the package, and you should remind yourself, especially on the hard days, of his good points and his strengths.

It's not a death sentence, and it isn't condemnation to an unfulfilling or lonely life. People with Asperger's are able to have friends, jobs, marriages, children, and all the other things "normal" people have. There may be rough patches along the way, but that's normal too. On the whole, if your son gets plenty of nurturing from the people who are important to him, the support he needs from the school and/or doctors, and the training he needs to be more socially adept, he should be capable of leading a happy and successful life.

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answers from Hartford on

So you have a therapist who "thinks" your son has Autism but hasn't done an in-depth evaluation on him to determine if he does in fact have Autism? Hasn't referred you to anyone who could perform an evaluation on him such as a Pediatric Neurologist, a Child Psychologist, Child Psychiatrist, or a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician?

Did she evaluate him in-depth herself and interview you in-depth about him as well? Did she show you the DSM-IV for Autism and Asperger's Disorder and explain to you why she thinks he might have ASD?

As you might be able to tell, something doesn't sit very well about this therapist with me. So she tossed this not-even-a-real-diagnosis to you, just that she "thinks" he has ASD, and then wonders why you're upset.

Of course you're upset. If this is accurate, I would be upset too. And honey, I've been there. I'm still there. I have a child with Autism, and I'll tell you right now that this therapist may mean well and she may even be right but please have your son evaluated by a different specialist. I'm upset for you right now. I'm upset with how your therapist has handled this.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I know it will be hard - we're going through something similar. But really, it is best for your child to understand what's going on and how his brain works. He has felt different, and now he can learn how to cope with it and strategies to manage his quirkiness. Your school district may provide help for him, which will be a benefit for him.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

He needs to be evaluated at a hospital (do you have a Children's hospital nearby?) or by a developmental pediatrician who specializes in autism.

Theresa was very smart with her advice. He is the SAME kid he was the day before the diagnosis. Knowledge is power and power comes through progress! Once it has a "name" he can get services that will make a very real difference. O. of my friends has a now-high schooler with Asperger. He's doing just fine is school--in fact he excels in academics and music.
Maybe call your pediatrician's office for some direction as to the next step for you to take.
Have you read this?

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

"Mild Asperger's"? What the hell is that? Yes, all kids have challenges but not all kids need labels. Have you spoken to the school child study team regarding your son and their thoughts? I would start there and see what they say. As a mother, you know your son best and not only was it improper for the therapist to use a nonsense term but then to invalidate your feelings. Clearly, that diagnosis means something different to her than it does to you. To put your mind at ease, talk to the school and schedule an appt to see a Neurodevelopmental pediatrician who can do a thorough evaluation of your son and see what is going on, if anything.



answers from Cincinnati on

I'm sure he has wonderful qualities about him other than his anger issues. Your therapist thinks he has Aspergers. You aught to get him evaluated at a childrens hospital to find out for sure. Its not completely life altering. He can function just like any normal child even if takes a little bit longer. Love him for who he is and what he is capable of doing. Remember, you will always find someone else who has worse problems than that right now.



answers from Chicago on

Hi Nickie-

I understand exactly what you are going through. My son who is almost 13 was diagnosed with PDD NOS, which is very similar to Asperger's back in May. It was my son's teacher that really started to notice different things about my son and brought it up to the school district's attention. The school district actually referred me to someone who specializes in Autism and I was lucky enough for them to pay for it because it is quite expensive.

Anyway, the whole process took several months and I was very stressed out and had a ton of anxiety. I was very depressed and didn't have anyone that I knew to turn to.

Once I got the initial diagnosis, I started taking my son to therapy to help him deal with it and help me as a mom understand it.

Even though this was a very hard pill to swallow, it was actually the best thing that could have happened for my son. I could not understand why he was doing somethings that he was doing. Why he was acting the way he was. But now that we have this, all his teachers know and he is getting the appropriate help both inside and outside of school.

If your son actually has this, and he might not, but if he actually does have this, since he is only 8yrs old, he will have it a lot easier than my son. He is much younger and will be easier for him to adjust. My son found out 3 months prior to going into junior high. I didn't have time to think all I could do is react and get him help quickly.

I would also suggest you going to see someone as well to help you with your feelings and anxiety. Your son is probably picking up on some of your emotions and you don't want that.

If this diagnosis becomes a true diagnosis then contact your insurance company if you have medical insurance and they can help you locate support groups in your area to help you deal with this.

Good luck to you and you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Just remember, coming from a mother who has recently gone through this, this could be a very good thing for your son. No one ever wants to hear your child has this but it can answer a lot of questions and concerns you might have about your child and know that there is a reason for this to be happening instead of no reason at all.

Sorry so long but I really wish someone culd have given me words of encouragement when I was going through this.



answers from Minneapolis on

First off, please don't feel bad about the people that tell you others have it a lot worse than you do. Yes, of course there are others out there that are dealing with far worse things, but today you are asking for support on what your facing, right?

I would definitely have him evaluated by someone that specializes in Autism and Aspergers. This way, you will be able to get a clear answer about what's challenging him and if it is truly ASD. Getting a clear diagnosis will take some worry away for you, but as a mom you will always worry, right?
Good luck to you and remember us moms are here to support you!



answers from Atlanta on

Well, first of all he needs an actual, full evaluation to determine if he does indeed have Asperger's Syndrome. I don't quite understand her reaction to you. I would be sad if my son was diagnosed with ANY challenging or difficult issue, and I think most people are -at least initially. It doesn't mean you don't love your son, it's just something you weren't necessarily expecting. A therapist should get that! I would get a real evaluation and a second opinion and go from there. If he has it, you will all get used to the idea and learn modifications and ways to deal with it, but it's perfectly normal for you to feel sad and worried right now. Good luck with whatever you find out!

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