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Saturday, May 29, 2010

....more to come..... How we discovered Asperger's Syndrome.....

Wow, I completely overlooked this last November so I am picking it up now.  In the year 2000, I happened to see an ad previewing a 20/20 program that was going to air that evening and it struck my fancy because it was dealing with parents and kids with differences.  Tim was 16 at the time.  We had gone through several diagnoses but had not really felt that any of them were exact.  I mentioned it to Larry that evening and we watched it together.  It was like hearing our life's story with our son.  The topic of the show was Asperger's Syndrome.   We knew when we saw it that this might be what was going on.
   A couple of weeks later we saw his doctor and asked her if she was familiar with AS.  She replied that she had heard of it but she wanted to do some study before making a decision.  At the next visit she told us that she thought we had hit the nail on the head and that was when he was first diagnosed with it.
     Now finding a name for it did not do much except it gave us a better understanding
of his behaviors and it also gave us information that we could pass on to other people as we navigate life with an AS son.  We know a little better how to advocate for him in many situations.  It lessens our frustrations just a little.
   The difficult thing about AS for us is that he is high enough functioning that folks do not see it in the way he looks or when he is behaving typically.  He has a normal IQ and his vocabulary has always been off the charts, so when he behaves in atypical ways, inaccurate judgements are made about his character and our parenting.  If anyone spoke with him for more than a few minutes, they would see something was askew, but most people don't usually take time to get to know him.  He has convinced many a listener about some real whoppers about himself.  He once told a student at IUS that he had been an army sniper and they contacted the campus security who came and gave him the shake down.  Fortunately, Dad wasn't far away and he explained the AS to them.  (Go ahead, laugh, we do now.)
   So, that wasn't the real beginning of our AS walk because we have been living with it for 25 and 1/2 years at this point.  We just learned about what it was when he was 16.  He too has learned to communicate about AS with people but he still goes off on some wild tangents and says things that get him into trouble.  AS is an autism spectrum disorder and many people mistakenly think that autism kids do not speak.  He was  using sentences when he was 18 months old and he has never stopped!

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Hi, I am Teri West, a wife, retired home schooling mom, 2nd year breast cancer survivor, crafter, musician, and primitive artist living and working in Kentuckiana, (the Louisville, KY and S. Indiana area). My family heritage is in the hills of Eastern Kentucky and Southern Ohio. I grew up in Louisville, Ky and attended Eastern KY University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, graduating with degrees from both in education. I married in 1979 and have three grown children, one a degreed artist, one a techie/artist, and an autistic one, a photographic artist. Hubby is a techie. I work out of my home creating primitive items for friends, family, and you. My loves are American folk music, primitive crafting, and American folk art which all emanate from my devotion to my faith, family and friends. I belong to the Louisville Dulcimer Society and I play mountain dulcimer, guitar, violin, native flute, tin whistle, bowed psaltry, and ukelele as well.