When my son, Noah, was diagnosed with Asperger's 15 years ago, we were told he needed to have speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, sensory integration therapy and join a social skills group. I felt like I had to do everything the doctor recommended or else I'd be missing an opportunity to help my child. I spent a large proportion of my time driving to appointments and sitting in waiting rooms with lots of other moms. And I wondered, how will I know if this is the right thing to do?
By Brenda Dater
My son, Noah, leaves for college in 2 days. He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 3 years old. When he started high school, my mantra about college was, "There's no one way to do life after high school." I didn't want him to feel like he had to follow the path of everyone around him.
I wanted him to know that he could adapt to new environments, academic requirements, social expectations and living independently at a pace that worked well for him. I didn't want to hold him back and tell him he couldn't step out of his comfort zone and I also didn't want to pretend this transition would be smooth and easy because he'd done well in high school.
Brenda Dater is the author of Parenting without Panic: A Pocket Support Group for Parents of Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum (Asperger's Syndrome). Brenda is also the Director of Child and Teen Services at AANE.