River’s story

Note: Identifying information has been altered to protect the privacy of the individuals mentioned here.

I’m so glad I finally found your site. I know you must hear this over and over, but the relief and sense of identification — and justification — that I got just from reading what others have said about being raised by an AS parent is indescribable. My father, before he retired, was a paleontologist. ¬†He had a PhD in Palaeontology, was a professor in his field and also a scientist for the armed forces.

What kinds of behaviours does your parent show that make you think they have AS?

I don’t know where to begin, but I can list a number of examples… He is quite egocentric, self-centered and most often lost in his own world. (Now that he is retired and we kids are out of the house, this is much easier for him to do.) Once as a child I had been badly injured and, since we lived in a rural area, needed to be driven to the hospital. The injury was so severe I was in real danger of bleeding to death. My mother was in the car with me, trying to put pressure on the wound. Meanwhile, we were all waiting on my father, who had been dressed but shirtless at the time I got hurt. I was sitting in the back seat of the car bleeding, and he was looking for a shirt to put on so he wouldn’t have to go to the hospital without one. Paradoxically, he felt very guilty about the injury later on, because he had unintentionally been part of the cause of it. He apologized profusely, over and over again, and even took me out for ice cream (a real rarity). No matter how much I tried to reassure him, it never seemed to penetrate — I never once blamed him, because I understood from the moment it happened that it was an accident. I grasped this intuitively at seven years old, but he, in his mid-thirties at the time, just couldn’t get it, and he really beat himself up about it to the point that I wound up being the adult in the situation and comforting him. I think that since this was a concrete, physical wound, he was able to see it and understand it in a way he could never see any of the other damage he caused, a lot of it more severe — in an emotional and psychological way. He is “mindblind.” He has no real “theory of mind;” He has no idea how his behavior affects or did affect other people, especially children. I’m not sure he completely understands that children, or anyone else for that matter, are people, or what it really means for someone to be a person. I know he doesn’t understand the difference between children and adults, and he seems to have little to no understanding of the emotional needs of others or the correct responses to those needs. He often seems to see my mother as an extension of himself with no independent thought or feeling of her own. That, however, has changed a bit in recent years as my mother has begun to assert just a bit more independence. He exhibits distinctive “weak central coherence” and “poor cognitive shifting,” and put together, they can create a real problem. His attention is mostly hyper-focused on one particular aspect of a situation, to the extent that he doesn’t realize what else is going on around him and cannot react quickly or appropriately to emergencies. However, I am rather proud of his intellectual achievements. His intense, prolonged concentration is legendary. When he was writing his dissertation, my mother tells me, he would write for 20-24 hours at a time without breaks to eat, sleep, or even go to the bathroom. He is exceptionally intelligent with an IQ well into the genius range, and he was a quite gifted scientist. We took many hikes, but they were more like forced marches. On trips, he had an absolute insistence on following a pre-planned route and stopping only at pre-planned destinations. He mapped every route and stop out in advance, and he could not make allowances for the kinds of things children may need on trips, such as unplanned bathroom stops. Everything had to be organized and follow the plan he had structured, or he would degenerate into a tantrum. We could not stop just because something along the way looked interesting, either — unless it was an intriguing paleontological phenomenon, that is. He carried tools for extracting fossils with him everywhere he went, just in case something caught his attention. He cannot read facial expressions very well. When I was a kid, he was totally unable to tell how I was feeling — again, though, he very rarely seemed to care what I was feeling, and he didn’t express much affection. There’s a sense in which I’m not sure he understood that I was feeling or thinking anything at all. He cannot differentiate socially between adults and children and thus has no idea what is appropriate and what is not, sexually or otherwise. He was often quite sexually inappropriate with me, and with my sister as well. Actually, he has no idea what appropriate behavior is in general and frequently made embarrassing scenes in restaurants and other public places when I was growing up. He could not, as the article on your website pointed out, tell whether or not my behavior was intentional, and he made no allowances for children “being children,” since he had no idea what that meant. He expected adult behavior and complete rationality from us at all times, and we were much too young to provide it. Just about every day I spent with him in the house involved at least one violent interrogation over something I had done or failed to do. He would ask me, over and over again, why I had done whatever the offense was — like forgetting to do something he had told me to do when he’d told me to do it, or accidentally ruining a possession. Then he would rant, scream, throw things, and hit when he didn’t get rational answers that would satisfy him but were far beyond our ability to provide. Many times I wasn’t even certain what I had done to set him off, but he would mock me viciously if I asked what I had done. Clearly he thought I knew exactly what I had done and thought that I had done it, whatever it was, intentionally, just to upset him. I guess that goes back to the point about egocentricity. Sometimes there were no words exchanged at all and he would just suddenly punch or slap me from out of the clear blue and then walk away, leaving me completely confused about what had just happened and why. Along the same lines, he has always been unable to stand loud, chaotic environments for very long. He often just exploded when the noise or activity of childhood around him became too much for him. Seriously poor impulse control and a violent temper dominated him, and all of us. He has the usual obsessions, collections, etc.. He collects stamps, for example, but not in the “usual” way. Though he knows everything about stamps and knows what is good and what isn’t good collection material, he obsesses on certain particular stamps, often essentially worthless ones, and amasses them (i.e. one particular stamp) by the hundreds. He knows exactly how many he has of each one, where they are, how they’re arranged, etc.. He has had many other odd collections or obsessions like this over the years. If anyone touches anything of “his”, he becomes enraged. My mother is not allowed to clean his “room,” i.e. his “office” at home, at all. “Endless monologues”: He would lecture my mother for hours at a time on palaeontology and he would do it as if he were talking to a fellow palaeontologist. He had no clue that she didn’t understand what he was saying; she had to just humor him. We all had to be careful in doing so, however, because he would get horribly upset if anyone suggested they didn’t want to hear him talk. He would also get very upset if he asked a question about any of his obsessions, particularly fossils, that I couldn’t answer. Another of his obsessions at one time was reading the entire encyclopedia from A to Z (in alphabetical order, of course), which he did. We were often “held captive” by his lectures on any and everything. I discovered quickly not to ask him for help with my homework, because that would inevitably lead to a one-sided lecture that would usually last well over an hour, during which time I was not permitted to leave to finish my homework or go to bed. He tells the same stories over and over and over as if they were new each time and often forgetting more and more prominently with each retelling that we were present ourselves when the event took place. He has little ability to have a conversation. He cannot comprehend that a conversation is two-way, involving both parties. He talks, sometimes even asking questions, but he then doesn’t listen and interrupts the other person in the middle of a sentence. He is prone to imaginative paranoia. For example, he spent the night at a hotel room once with a colleague and was convinced that the blinking red light from the smoke detector was actually a camera watching him. He also sat me down when I was about nine and told me pointedly never to trust the government. He exhibits the physical symptoms of autism such as repetitive rhythmic movements and systematic muscle twitching. For example, he often rocks in his chair, he has a very strange, rhythmic walk that swings from side to side, he swings his head unceasingly from side to side when he “lectures,” he rubs his fingers together in the same repetitive pattern, he very embarrassingly (for the others in the room, at least) “plays with himself” (for lack of a better word) when he’s talking, and so on. He seems to be unaware he’s doing any of it. I could go on, but I think this is more than sufficient. ūüôā I apologize for writing so much — it’s just such a relief!

How has the AS person affected you and your family?

Substantially. My NT mother has been the until-recently unrecognized caregiver for someone with special needs. My sister, also NT, has coped with our tumultuous childhood in her own way, and I cannot speak for her. I am in therapy. Now that I understand that he is AS, it puts together many of the pieces that made little sense before, and that helps. However, I still suffer from complex PTSD as a result of my childhood and essentially identify as someone who was emotionally, physically, and sexually abused. The difference now is that I understand how and why it happened to a greater degree. What do you hope will be the benefit to you of joining our support group? Hopefully I will get validation, coping strategies, and just a place to correspond with others who have been through it all too and understand. I will probably be pretty quiet at first, but after a bit I will get more comfortable. I would also, of course, like to help others if I can. ūüôā

Worried about grandchild

I am a single divorced woman age 58. I have been dating a gentleman for 5 years who has a daughter that I suspect has AS but has not been diagnosed. She is married to a nice guy and they have a 4 year old daughter that is like my granddaughter. I am very concerned for the child. At this point she actually growls at her mother when she approaches her when she is playing.

The mother is a technician and does a very good job. And never wants to take a day off from work which is probably best for the child. She does not have social skills. She has no friends. She repeats the same stories over and over again I think because she likes to hear and relive them. They are either about happy times in her life or great sorrows in her life. She is only 30 yrs old. She has no empathy for the child. She wants her to be perfectly dressed and behaved at all times but has no skills and does not know how to teach her things. She wants her to be like a pet or doll. I have never seen her actually play with the child. She also hoards things and keeps them in the child’s room and expects her not to play with them but is not able to discipline her enough to keep her from it. Of course the whole house is full of stuff. The mother is sometimes very violent to the child not intentionally just because she is an idiot and does not realize that she is hurting her.

I could go on and on about the mistreatment of the child as you know but what I need to know is how can I help the child?

I try to keep her at my house at least every other Saturday night but I am old and have to work everyday to support myself. The grandfather sees the problem but doesn’t know what to do about it. I have not mentioned that I think his daughter is Autistic but she shows all the symptoms. And he realizes she does not behave normally. I can’t even imagine how she treats the child when no one is around. The father is not much help because he is a good guy but a little weird also. I did get him on my side and get the mother to quit giving the child enemas at the drop of a hat when she was having trouble going to the bathroom because of a lack of good nutrition. The child was even threatened with enemas for  any little thing she did wrong. I pitched a good old fit about that and I think I took care of it. The child is very smart and she talks to me. Of course she is not potty trained. But maybe this summer she will decide to train herself.


Help me help the child. 
 

The Military Enthusiast

I am one of three (neurotypical) adult children raised by an
autistic parent. Although he has not been formally diagnosed, there is
strong evidence to support that my father is mildly autistic. He is an
isolated individual who rarely displays any type of outward affection. A car
ride to the doctor’s office for a deep cut or a broken arm would be the
extent of his compassion towards us. Since my mother worked nights, dividing
her time between her three children was difficult. In desperation to be
noticed, we would often resort to getting negative attention from her as
well as our father. It was the only attention my father would give us and my
mother couldn’t ignore.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In addition to my father’s aversion to social situations, he
exhibits external habits associated with autism. He is an interminable
pacer. It is extremely rare to see him at the dinner table or even seated
while watching television. While he paces, he rubs and claps his hands
together in front of his face while uttering low grunts. He is almost
completely unaware of this habit and will do this under the scrutinizing eye
of the general public. The intensity of his current mood seems to trigger
the frequency of his rubbing and clapping. Severe anger causes him to shout
and his rubbing and clapping transforms into rapidly flailing arms above his
head, not stopping until well after the shouting ceases.

His unusual obsessions stretch farther than pacing. He is a reclusive
encyclopedia of knowledge for World War II facts. He can watch the same
documentary on General Erwin Rommel’s battle strategies against British
occupied South Africa ad nauseam. Only on a few occasions would he share
some of his information. His infrequent war speeches were spotted with dry
coughs (no medical correlation) then he would trail off and pace in another
room.

             My father also has a habit that is uncharacteristic of
autistics. He seems to have somewhat of an imagination. He enjoys playing
with toys. He used to set up my younger brother’s figurines and have pretend
battles for hours at a time. While playing, he would often pause to clap and
rub his hands together. He would never play toys with us though. This was
one of the many activities he preferred to do alone.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† My mother never made excuses or attempted to “cover up” my
father’s eccentricities. She would apologize to us for not having a father
that was more “involved” in our lives. Divorce wasn’t an option because of
their financial situation so we were all forced to live in a tense
household. She knew my father had problems and pleaded with him to get help
or medication, but he refused. He stubbornly concluded that nothing was
wrong with him and he was always right.

I was always embarrassed to have friends and family visit us. Holiday
dinners consisted of everyone trying not to stare as my father inhaled his
food then ran off to the basement to pace and clap for the duration of the
day. In addition to this, my father also thought that demonstrating
infantile behavior was funny. Releasing bodily functions in front of others,
or especially strangers, was hysterical and also the pinnacle of my father’s
socialization. To contrast the examples my father would set, my mother
exhaustingly attempted to teach us that dad’s behavior is not normal and we
shouldn’t model after him.

I spent years researching publications on autistic parents and have hit
continual dead ends. Of my many e-mails to organizations, the Autism Help
Line sent me a link to the ASpar website which was a relief to find. I was
fully aware that high functioning autistics grow up and have families, but
couldn’t find any publications from people raised by them.

In becoming a full member of ASpar, I hope to find available resources from
people who have gone through this as well as offer my experiences to aid
others. My siblings and I have always felt different and isolated in having
an unconventional father and it would be supportive to hear other
experiences similar to ours. I feel strongly that there should be a
heightened awareness of autistics becoming parents so that acceptance and
understanding can reach those children who have the difficulty of being
raised by autism.

Foster mother’s plea

Our foster daughter has been with us since she was 2 days old and now she is over 2 1/2 years.¬† Her father has been diagnosed with something in the Pervasive Development Disorder spectrum.¬† Some feel he has Asperger’s and some feel he has PDD – no other symptoms.¬† He has also been diagnosed as having narcissistic qualities.¬† Regardless, the focus has been his inability to bond, show emotion towards his daughter, his poor social skills, etc.¬† He has his daughter every weekend from Saturday morning until Sunday night.¬† He never misses a visit and does what he is told to do.¬† He is in his mid-thirties and can not keep a job and still lives at home with his mom.¬†I believe that he loves his daughter in his own way.¬† However, he seems to think of his own needs rather than hers.¬† For her first year,¬†he would call me to set up visitation but would never ask how she was.¬† He was told that this is something¬†that he needs to do so now he does.¬† Up¬†until about a month ago, he would never greet her or say,¬†“good-bye” to her when he would see her.¬†¬†He was told to do that so now he does.¬† However, it isn’t how a parent typically would greet their child after not seeing them all week.¬† There isn’t any great emotion, just a “good morning.”¬† He does what he is told to do but doesn’t seem to feel what he’s doing.

Currently, the foster care agency is trying to terminate his parental rights.¬† The basis is his inability to bond.¬† One issue that is going to come up is his poor social skills.¬† It is very difficult to understand what he is trying to communicate.¬† Also, his inability to understand how various things could affect his daughter worry me.¬† For example, he asked the court to move our foster daughter into another home because he changed his religion and wanted her to go to a foster family who had the same religion (no one specific, just any family who had the same religion so she would be going to complete strangers).¬† He and his family are happy with how our foster daughter is being raised by us and feels that she is in a good environment.¬† When he was asked how¬†being moved from the family who has loved and raised her for the last 2 1/2 years would affect her, he had nothing to say.¬† He felt that she would adjust and that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.¬†

I’m afraid that the judge may hear the testimony regarding his inability to communicate, his inability to show that he cares and¬†his poor social skills and say, “so what.”¬† Our next court date is in Feb.¬† Do you or any of your members have anything to say in response to “so what?”¬† We love her so much and she deserves to be raised by someone who celebrates the wonderful little girl that she is.

The Constant Gardener

My mother is not employed, never was. Her “eccentric special interest” is gardening — her garden is worth 3 times what her house is worth, and she knows the genus of every plant known to mankind. She gardened instead of parenting me and my brother. (My father was alcoholic . . . which didn’t help the situation.) There are currently over 500 plants in her house. She hoards plants and everything else, including food. There is food in her freezer that has been there since I was in high school (I’m now 46 year old). She seemed to have no idea, when I was a child, that I was a separate person. If she had an interest, she couldn’t understand that I might not share it. If I had an interest she didn’t share, she’d either ignore it or insist that I didn’t have it at all (for example, she told me I couldn’t take dance lessons because SHE was not able to dance). She barely noticed I was alive, much less in trouble or in need of help. I had a severe episode of anorexia as a teenager, but she never noticed as my weight dropped to below 90 pounds. I was sick with this for five years, but she has no recollection of it. When the subject of eating disorders comes up, and the fact that I had one, she’s astonished. It’s as if, because it happened to me rather than to her, it didn’t happen at all. Her conversation is bizarre to say the least. Sometimes she holds forth on gardening, but more often, she engages in a sort of stream of consciousness soliloquy apropos of nothing. If others are holding a normal conversation, she will interject meaningless information into it. Sometimes her interjections are offensive, but if you tell her that you’re offended she has no idea what she might have said wrong. Often her interjections are hilarious or mystifying. The other day, in the middle of a conversation about local politics, she interrupted with: “Did you know that you could adopt a manatee? And give it a name?” She has no friends, other than members of her gardening clubs (she belongs to six) with whom she discusses only plants and gardening. I believe that her manner of relating would be offensive or confusing to anyone who doesn’t share this interest. When my family visits her (she lives several hours away), there is no food for us (other than the hoarded food, which actually ceased to be food many years ago). If she cooks, there is never enough–she doesn’t understand that when there are five people at the table, there needs to be more food than when it’s only her. I could go on and on. I have years of memories. I have always suspected that my mother was not normal. However, as a young child, how do you explain this to anyone else? How do you even know that you’re right? In my case, I did attempt to talk to my father about my mother’s differences but he would always tell me I was wrong or crazy. I guess he had a lot invested in keeping up a good front. But . . . I was astute enough to realize that my mother wasn’t showing me any love, which meant that something was wrong with someone, and if there was nothing wrong with my mother, that must mean that something was wrong with ME. I’m no psychologist, but I’d say it stands to reason that if someone grows up thinking that her mother is unable to show her any love because she’s too flawed to warrant maternal affection, that person is going to have some “issues”. And in fact I’ve struggled my whole life with the belief that I am too fundamentally flawed to deserve love or even a modicum of attention. I have had years of therapy and have finally learned to be comfortable with myself, but it has been a hard road. I am hopeful that someone in this group will relate to this. It would be so validating not to be alone.

An archtypical story

Lisa’s story

I believe my father has AS while my mother has aspects of AS as does my older sister.

We “discovered” AS in the family as a result of all the behavioral problems my nephew was having in primary school, and after a great deal of confusion and testing found that he was diagnosed with AS. In observing my nephew’s traits, my younger sister and I realized that there was a lot of AS in the family.

My father is a retired professor of [science subject] and my mother is a retired professor of [social science subject]. My father, apropos of nothing, will launch into long discourses at the dinner table about the history of his science, detailing scientists’ names and dates, which the rest of the family must “sit through” in its entirety or he will either fly into a rage or sulk.

My mother acts as if this is perfectly normal. However, she also will recite in excruciating detail, terrible stories about tragedies that happened to people she has known in her life or go into “professor mode” about some topic. If we then change the subject, my father will just “zone out” or go into a funk until we talk about something that interests him.

I should mention that my parents are both immigrants who are currently 80–for 40 years, I thought their behavior was due to their immigrant heritage, but reading your website (at which I found myself “laughing out loud” in recognition) has convinced me that it really has been AS all these years.

My parents are completely isolated, they have no friends and rarely ever talk about their families in their homeland. For instance, about 8 years ago my mother mentioned that her mother had turned 99. I did not even know that the woman was still alive! However, three months later, I was informed that my grandmother died!!.

My parents have always had very rigid routines for eating, sleeping, going to the store, etc.

They have a tendency in public to rub people the wrong way. They pick fights with waiters about where to sit in a restaurant, they argue with salespeople over tiny discrepancies, and they can be physically pushy.

At the same time, reality and truth are relative concepts–my parents openly lie about the most trivial things and for years I thought I must have a “bad memory” because I couldn’t seem to keep straight what the current “reality” was. It was not until I was dating my husband and he was astonished by one of their minor lies that I realized that they had routinely lied all my life!

In arguments, they must always be right–if I began by talking about some misunderstanding or slight by them, they would immediately turn the argument against me saying that I was being “disrespectful” and should apologise for even bringing anything up. Then they would launch into all the “bad behavior” I had ever done over the last ten years (much of it “made up” or “twisted”) to prove that they deserved an apology instead of me. But they never apologise for anything if they can help it.

My parents never hugged us and barely ever touched us as we were growing up and they rarely played with us–my father’s idea of playing with me was to give me addition and subtraction problems to do (at age 5!)!

How has this affected my family? I came across your site after having had another huge fight with my parents (who said some really prejudiced things about people from my husbands ethnic background in front of my husband) during a dinner.

Almost all the holidays, birthdays, and other celebratory events in my family have been marred in one way or another by my parents’ bad behavior. They picked fights with all of us right before our graduations (they did not even go to some of my younger sister’s); birthdays were either treated matter-of-factly or devolved into fights; Holidays were opportunities to either “lecture” or rage or sulk. They refused to come to my bridal shower and the rehearsal dinner for my wedding (embarassing me in front of my soon-to-be in-laws) and threatened not to come to the wedding the week before it took place (to which I just said “fine”–they relented and came when they realized I meant it).

As a result, about 15 years ago, I stopped talking to them for about three years. After a lot of therapy, I have been able to cobble together a “relationship” of sorts with them–though I am not talking to them at the current time. ‚Ķ My older sister tries to spend as little time as possible with my parents when she comes and there have been numerous times when she has visited and left precipitously in a rage.

My sisters are not currently speaking to each other. So AS has had a very detrimental effect on my family.

What do I hope to get our of ASpar? The knowledge that there are other families like mine that have suffered (that I am not alone)–and the hope that other people can suggest ways of dealing with an ASpar parent. I do think that AS has a strong genetic component.

Short-takes on AS mothers

Dianna

I have been reading a lot about Asperger’s and I am convinced that my mother is a ‘Strong AS’ case, as it tends to explain her extreme eccentricities, and my HORRIBLE NIGHTMARE of a childhood. I love my mother and I have always sensed that she could not help it, but she neglected her children’s emotional and practical needs, and I was/am more like her parent.

My brother and I lived on the street from an early age, though our mother had an apartment, there was no reason to go home. My mother never had food in the house, never cooked meals, never did laundry. She was unpredictable, and I was afraid of her screaming at me. We were dirty hungry little kids and she didn’t miss us when we stayed at a friends house for weeks/months at a time. One of the saddest memories I recall is being 7 or 8, no food in the house, and a stack of unused expired food stamps sitting on top of the empty refrigerator.

I really thought my mother didn’t care if we lived or died. She was/is happiest when talking about her special interests, and they are more important to her than any of our immediate problems/needs. My mother was/is consumed with babbling about literature, poetry, quantum-physics, druidism. She has no interest in anything I have to say, and always changes the subject back to one of the forementioned topics! This is very embarrassing when having dinner with strangers. Although she was college educated, she worked as a dishwasher and barely paid the rent. She threw childish temper tantrums and blamed us, her children, for her problems(?).

Ann Marie

monologues, limited interests, no manners, no social graces, demanding
and bossy, 1 or no friends, repetition, hates “small talk”, failure to
realize they have any disorder, mumbles to self, bad language/tempers,
etc. I feel that I am an “expert” on AS, especially the genetic
component that families either don’t see or ignore.¬† Life can be a
nightmare at times, especially when I know that I am the “NT” or
“normal” one and they make me feel I am crazy or “need help”.

Eve

My parents “home” had very little in it – no love, bizarre meals (usually just one ingredient, e.g. all eggs, all beans, all dairy, etc),

Socially, she is extremely pedantic and most new acquaintances excuse themselves after a few minutes.

My mother’s behavior had never fit any psychological profile that I had encountered but I recently met with a psychiatrist and a genetic counselor and they offered the Asperger diagnosis. have felt very let down in the past because others had so little understanding of the harm this type of terrible parenting can inflict.¬† I have never met any woman who reminds me of my mother and I have never met anyone who has described experiencing the type of bad parenting that I received from my mother.

Rona

She didn‚Äôt seem to realise you talk differently to children than you do to adults, especially very young children. My friends couldn‚Äôt get away fast enough. Once she caught you it was hard to get away from her monologues about filmstar’s cvs, the plots of romantic movies, told in a meandering monotone.

Leanne

. we were never allowed to have visitors to the house and she isolated
herself from her own family so we had little to do with our many
aunts/uncles and cousins

. she was strict,authoritarian, cold, bullying, prone to temper
tantrums, anger outbursts and not only in the home but outside as well

. she always fell out with the neighbours and we had to move about every
two years

. I never remember being kissed or cuddled or shown any affection and
was not allowed to make my won decisions about anything including food
or clothes or friends

. the house was kept obsessively tidy

. at some point she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and given electric
shock therapy and once tried to commit suicide

. my parents marriage eventually broke down and she just threw us out at
16 and 18 without money or any home to go to. The family scattered

. my brother has continued to try and support her periodically but she
is so destrctive to be around he eventually leaves

. she has continued the pattern of falling out with people and
neighbours getting more and more isolated

I think AS has robbed both me and my brother of a proper childhood, made
it difficult for us to have good relationships, stopped has having any
sort of supportive family so left us to fend for ourselves, subjected us
to constant trauma anxiety and a shifting lifestyle, left us with huge
guilt why we could not love or understand our mother, and generally made
life very difficult. Both of us feel utter relief at this discovery and
things are starting to make sense. My dad died reletively early and I
believe the constant stress, my mother pestered him for twenty years
after their divorce, contributed.

I have suffered with a chronic illness brought on I believe by having a
childhood and a marriage with AS and not understanding or having any
help or support.

I hope to understand more about how this has affected me as a person,
and I am desperate to find out more. I would love to talk to others who
have been in a similar situation too. I am hoping to finally make some
sense of my life

Short-takes on AS fathers

Julie

My father has said that he wishes people were more like computers, in that computers make sense and people do not. When I was growing up, he was constantly angry with me, and whenever I displayed normal childlike (i.e. spontaneous) behavior, I was punished, I think because he viewed me as a machine that was malfunctioning, as he had not asked me to behave in this way and therefore was unable to make sense of my actions. To this day, he claims that I was a very troubled child, as whenever he “talked” to me I would begin crying.

Ellen

He toe-walked, paced, had no friends, was completely without affection for his children had no ability to relate to children, had difficulty with his temper, difficulty with changes in his regime, very self-centered. Very bright and verbal, was a prominent neurosurgeon. Had difficulty with empathy or seeing anything from anyone’s viewpoint but his own. We were terrified of him.

Felicity

He has never been able to show affection, say he loves you or give you a cuddle, when he takes my children out i worry about whether he will remember he has them. He has no sense of anyone else at all, how they feel or how his behaviour can make them feel. He is very focused on his hobbies and persues them with obessive tendencies. I used to think he was very selfish, he just seems unaware of the world around him.

Janet

¬†‚Ķ his obsessions with a very few subjects, which he turns all conversations back to, to the point it’s often impossible to hold conversations with him about anything else. – the difficult insistence on adherence to routine, the inability to understand or manage emotional reciprocity, the general sense of something always just being off somehow in interactions with him.

Bridget

high verbal skills but poor writing, inability to understand other people’s emotions, dependence on routine, emotional coldness/distance, inability to express or understand normal emotions, difficulty making normal eye contact, incredible disorganization, obsessive “collecting” tendencies, obsessive tendencies to follow a certain pursuit or pastime without deviation (and then drop it just as suddenly), and others

Short-takes on denial by the NT partner

Denial and the NT parent

Jan

I have a brother who is violent, often beating me when we were growing up, right up until I was 18/19 years old, he is two years older than me.¬†Mum was too busy putting on a “front” and dad was oblivious.

Cathe

I am still recovering from the pain and sense of isolation that having a¬† parent like that brings – made worse by my mother’s insistence until later years that he was wonderful: handsome, intelligent, brilliant, special.¬† He was all of that, but he was also anxious, depressed,intolerant, controlling, insensitive to the point of cruelty.

Rona

She was from a middle class background and he was working class. Her savant skills in languages got her a university degree, even though she couldn’t put 2 and 2 together in real life, and was I now realise intellectually disabled in parts!, (problem solving, sequencing, prioritising. no inductive or deductive logic). Yet she was one of the few women of her generation who actually went to University. He was so impressed with her, and guilty too about never being able to give her a better life. Well, he was simply too tired from labouring all day, then coming home to do all the cooking, cleaning, sewing, under a constant rain of recriminations and accusations. He was a battered husband and couldn’t leave.

And she was beautiful. They were a handsome couple.

Before we went out anywhere, my parents would make me rehearse the elaborate lies we would tell to others about our domestic misery. Keeping up the front was all important.¬† We were pretty much social pariahs anyway, because my father’s self-esteem was gutted and he couldnt keep up with successful men of his generation who had wives to nurture their careers. And people couldnt get away from my mother’s monologues fast enough.

Alicia

I begged him to save himself from her constant screaming and blaming but people in his circle didn‚Äôt do that kind of thing, divorce was unheard of, so he endured. He was a wonderful man and highly responsible, and afraid she couldn‚Äôt survive without him. I guess the odds were high that she might have ended up a bag lady, or permanently drugged and¬† institutionalised and misdiagnosed perhaps as a schizophrenic, if he hadn’t. He simply couldnt leave her to that fate. It was easier for him to convince himself that nobody was perfect. His mantra was: “People fight because they care for each other. People who don’t fight in their marriages are more of a problem. Your mother is just highly strung.”

Violent mathematician

My father has never had any friends that I know of. He has a PhD in math from a prestigious university. He tried a career in academia but left after he got into a fight with the chairman of the department over some small point about grading. Of course, the way my father describes it, the fate of the universe depended on his sticking to his point of view no matter what. But it always seemed to me kind of silly. Anyway, he then had a succession of different jobs, each one ending in a lawsuit when he got into fights with his bosses. My parents have always been self-righteous about these cases, but to the extent that I was able to understand what was going on, my father always seemed to be ethically in the wrong. For example, he left one job after being given a large sum of money and signing a “non-compete” agreement. He then immediately went to work for a competing company and sued his original employer, claiming he was forced to sign an unfair agreement!

He is clearly OCD and perseverent. As I child I used to watch in puzzlement as my father would come in and out of the kitchen four or five times an evening and run his hands over each of the stove dials, checking to make sure they were turned off. Ditto with the lock on the back door. He was incredibly rigid about certain things- for example, we had to line up our shoes exactly in an order specified by him in the cupboard

Some memorable topics of perseverence include: “Why Actors Are Not Artists,” “The Early Days of Computer Operating Systems,” and “The Fundamental Theorem Of Algebra.” Even though he could talk in great length about such things, in actual fact he made little sense. The meanings escaped him, even in technical subjects. He was just stringing together concepts by association, not by meaning. For many years I was so hungry for his attention that I would listen to him and try to bring something meaningful into the conversation. But his reaction to anything different from what he was saying was just to repeat himself in a louder tone of voice. He could get quite angry and even fly into a fit of rage over such things. If I didn’t want to listen to him he would become like a sulking child. Yet he never changed his behavior in the least.

He would lecture us constantly on such topics as Responsibility or The Way Things Are or How To Behave. It only took the slightest “infraction” to get him going. Again, he made no sense. He would rant and rave, literally foaming at the mouth. In this condition, a wrong word or look could result in him suddenly hitting a child. He had no clue how to relate to children (or to adults for that matter). Any show of normal human emotion or desire would often send him into a rage. He became desperate to stamp out the offender and the offense. He used to demand we give him reasons for what we wanted or were doing, but any appeal to our feelings would be answered with, “Feelings aren’t reasons. You could say you feel anything. How do I know if its real or not? You have to give me logical reasons for what you want.” Failure to comply would result in him getting louder and more aggressive and saying the same things over again. Of course we tried to comply and it has taken me 45 years to get to the point of unraveling that mental knot.

My father was also extremely paranoid, always thinking that people were out to screw him in one way or another. He did not know how to manage conflict, even minor ones, like a misunderstanding over a hotel reservation or a mistake in a restaurant bill (which he always obsessively checked). He would either become incredibly aggressive and threatening, or else if he could not intimidate the other person, he would withdraw and later obsess and perseverate endlessly over how wrongly he had been treated.

As a child, his touch was a source of major freak-out to me. It his hard to describe but it gave me the creeps whenever he touched me. In my mother’s case, her touch was often very mechanical, like I was a piece of luggage, not a child. I didn’t like her touch but it didn’t make me feel yucky. But my father’s touch had the effect of making me cringe. There was some kind of weird energy in it. I really don’t know how to describe it. I would go out of my way to avoid being touched by him and when I couldn’t avoid it, the feeling I had was as though I had just walked into a damp, cold morgue with dead bodies lying around. Honestly!

Neglected and living on the street

My brother and I lived on the street from an early age, though our mother had an apartment, there was no reason to go home. My mother never had food in the house, never cooked meals, never did laundry. She was unpredictable, and I was afraid of her screaming at me. We were dirty hungry little kids and she didn’t miss us when we stayed at a friends house for weeks/months at a time. One of the saddest memories I recall is being 7 or 8, no food in the house, and a stack of unused expired food stamps sitting on top of the empty refrigerator.

I really thought my mother didn’t care if we lived or died. She was/is happiest when talking about her special interests, and they are more important to her than any of our immediate problems/needs. My mother was/is consumed with babbling about literature, poetry, quantum-physics, druidism. She has no interest in anything I have to say, and always changes the subject back to one of the forementioned topics! This is very embarrassing when having dinner with strangers. Although she was college educated, she worked as a dishwasher and barely paid the rent. She threw childish temper tantrums and blamed us, her children, for her problems(?).

Felicity’s mother

My Mother has always been unemployed but since my Dad’s health is bad she now works full-time as a checkout operator. She had almost no personal hygiene skills and did not teach any to my brother and I, she had difficulty with basic cause and effect situations, she was fluent and self-taught in ASL and had a passion for almost nothing else but signing, she would leave me alone as a baby in my crib and go to neighbor’s houses to watch TV. ¬†

Even in the face of severe abuse at the hand of my Father she would still not speak when he demanded she tell him why she did things that made no sense (hide the bills, spend all the money, never clean the house).  As a young adult I thought my Mom might have had a stroke or something.

My whole extended family is very disconnected. Just a week ago I went on a road trip to see everyone. It has been 20 years since I have seen or spoken with these people. When I told everyone about my 3 years old recent diagnosis of autism I was told for the first time that I have¬†many autistic cousins and second cousins with it. Also, most of the kids in my family did not speak until a very late age and have poor social skills. People began to tell me stories about my Mother’s odd habits. I made the connection easily at that point and solved a 30 year mystery of severe neglect.

I can forgive my Mom. It is also funny that myself and some my cousins that do not have autism all have photographic memory and went into fields of human services. I became interested in autism in my early 20’s and am now a behavior specialist. The irony of having a daughter with autism after the fact was explained by discovering my Mother’s autism. It makes sense that I was led to this field. I was able to recognize years ago that I do what I do because my Mom never spoke that much even in the face of being abused for it. It is funny how things come full circle. Since I am so new on this journey I am hoping to find ways to get my Mother the help she needs without having to confront my Father with the fact that he severely abused a vulnerable person. He stopped over 15 years ago but is still selfish and controlling. He is the type of person that would kill himself if I confronted him. I think that if I find out he did know I don’t know what I would do. I think hearing other stories will help me define this new information.

Johanna’s mother

[Note:   This post comes from a writer with a non-English speaking background, and should be read in that context]

My mother worked as a cleaner (in office buildings).

She never showed any emotions. She could come home from work and say that she was in a good mood, that she was glad today. And as a child I saw that she was lying, she wasn’t glad at all, and I could never understand why she constantly lied about that.

I have never seen her happy or unhappy, never seen her laugh or cry. But now, as an adult with insight in Asperger Syndrome, I understand that perhaps she was glad when she said she was…

She was very rigid in her movements, and when she touched me she just grabbed me, almost violently. And I as a child I was afraid of her, especially when she wanted to touch me, or hug me, because she just
couldn’t hug at all. And her facial expression when she approached me was completely weird, which just made me more frightened.

She couldn’t keep a dialog, either she was silent and I or someone else talked, or she went on with long monologues.

She was completely naive, and had no way of telling whether someone was lying, or teasing her, or honest. She interpreted everything that people said literally.

I think she was of normal intelligence, but as a child I saw my mother as the dumbest dumb mother that anyone could possibly have. I see the tragedy in it all today, and I so much wished that she could show and
receive emotions, I would have wanted that so very much!

She dressed weird; with coats of thick cloth in weird colours. And she held her body and walked in a weird rigid way. I was ashamed of her, and when I was out with my friends and she happened to walk by and say hello to me I pretended not to hear her or know her. When I came home and she asked me why I didn’t say hello, if I didn’t see her, I was again ashamed. I was ashamed that I was ashamed, and had tons of guilt.

She always asked me how I felt. As a child I became annoyed over these questions everyday, and just yelled at her “Can’t you see that!”. Today I realize that she probably couldn’t. That she was
unable to see how I felt, that she was completely cut off from the feelings and emotions that the rest of us shared.

[My mother’s AS has affected me] profoundly! In almost all aspects, except: My dad kept the hold of our economy in the family, so I guess that this aspects was perhaps the only one that worked well. My mother had no sense of handling the household economy.

She was a complete loner, and sometimes accused us of saying things behind her back (a little paranoiac, but she is not suffering from paranoia).

I hope that I can contribute a little with my understanding of Asperger Syndrome in my mother, and of a two other people, men, that I have come to know later on in life that also has Asperger Syndrome. These two men have helped me a lot to understand how Asperger Syndrome affected my mother, and the reason why my mother acted as she did.

I also hope to share some understanding of these issues and problem with others. I understand today that my only brother also has a mild form of Asperger Syndrome, which meant that it was only me and my
father who were “normal”.

I have felt so completely alone with these feelings and insights that there is nothing else in the world I would want than to be able to share this with someone else who can understand it!

How Sandra’s father chose to become a doctor

[Ed: Our experience is that many people with AS are drawn to medicine and especially psychiatry.  Often they have been bullied and despised, yet their high IQ in science opens for them the door to the highest status profession of all.  They chose psychiatry because they hope it will give them insight into human nature, into their own exclusion, and sometimes, because it will give them power over the people who formerly lorded it over them]

My father was a paediatrician and medical researcher, respected within his profession, but his behaviour in social and personal situations is peculiar to say the least.       He drove my poor mother crazy with his
literalness and rigidity and completely inability to relate to her on an emotional level.

5 or 6 years ago, I happened to ask Dad what had led him to a career in medicine.
In response he told me a remarkable story. He said that, when he was about ten or eleven years old, his mother said to him one day, ‘The trouble with you is that you have no empathy for other people.’
This remark troubled him for a long time, he told me, and he puzzled over what he might do about it. Eventually, at about fifteen, he decided that doing medicine and becoming a doctor would teach him empathy, and¬†that is what he did.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†This story led me to begin looking into Asperger’s Syndrome, wondering if this could be what is wrong with my father. I’ve been researching Asperger’s on the internet and am becoming more and more convinced that Dad fits the profile.

Dad was extremely cruel to me in my childhood and adolescence. I was a bed-wetter as a child¬†¬†and he took delight in raising the subject and teasing me about it in front of other people. I was profoundly ashamed and embarrassed about my bedwetting (which continued till I was fourteen or fifteen — you can imagine dreadful how it was for a teenager) and I went to enormous lengths to keep it a secret from my friends and relations.¬†


I still cannot forgive his deliberate humiliation of me over this problem especially as he was a specialist pediatrician. He, on the other hand, found this a hugely entertaining pastime. 

Tina’s summary

1. Why do you think your¬†Mother¬†has AS? ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Echolalia of a type… she cannot be a passenger in a car without reading out all the signs along the way ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Lacking in empathy ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Intelligent but completely unable to understand sarcasm, irony and sometimes metaphor ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Obsessive about routine – when my father had a stroke, she was totally thrown by the fact she had to go to the hospital every day, and couldn’t make her regular trip to town ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Cannot drive to and from places without knowing the exact route in advance, preferably having been “chaperoned” the first two or three times, otherwise she gets lost. ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Singleminded to the point of selfishness – she has her own routine and can’t understand if she stays with me she has to bend to my routine – she expects me to change to her routine, even after my father explains it to her two or three times. ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Constantly interrupts my father when he is working but will lose her temper if he asks her a question while she is engaged in a task ¬∑¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† I’ve always known she was “different”, but because she is from India I felt it was more a cultural thing.¬† But even though some of her sisters are very similar, I think that is probably because they have AS too.

There are lots more things, but when I sit down like this, to list them all seems petty.¬†¬†¬†2. What do you hope to get out of being a member of ASpar? ¬†Just to talk about my feelings of guilt and anger especially about only finding this out at age 40.¬† Especially to help me with my feelings toward my “normal” father, who left most of the parenting to my mother even thoughshe was not a good parent – although I wasn’t abused, I was often confused.

Jane – vignette

My childhood was very difficult¬†…¬†

My mother was very distant when I was a child, no kisses or cuddles, we were never talked to. The house was untidy and full of her books. She spent all her free time in the corner of the room, table covered with dirty dishes, reading non-stop. I am just starting to explore this issue and wonder could it just be a deprived childhood herself, my grandmother was very distant, or could she have traits of aspergers.

In the last year my mother has moved house without telling me and sold the family home without my knowledge. I lived there for 22 years but never had the chance to visit it one last time. I find it difficult communicating with her now but she is the one acting hurt.

Helena’s story

First my son was diagnosed with AS.  I noticed that his father had many
similar traits and had my suspicions that he also is AS confirmed by people
who work with my son.  Then I realized my brother is AS.  His behavior
toward me is like a 2-yr-old.¬† Can’t see that I have feelings too.¬† (He’s
also been controlling and, lately, really cruel.)¬† I’ve always known that my
mother and brother were very similar to each other and very different from
me.  I began to suspect my mom had AS as I looked at some of her blood
relatives (rigid, socially “off”, very smart in clear-cut, logical fields —
accounting, law).  My mother was puzzled that I had different feelings and
interests from her.¬† I SHOULD be interested in… I SHOULD do…. etc.¬† My
mother assumed that I knew things – both how to do as well as what to do,
without being taught or having an explanation.¬† She couldn’t give me
guidance or advice that was suitable to MY personality.  When we had a
difference of opinion – “I will not do X”, it was as if I never said
anything; she just bulldozed on as if I agreed.  I got around her by
avoiding issues, being vague, and just not telling her what I was doing.  I
never spoke with her about what kind of work I was doing or wanted to do.
It wasn’t what she wanted to do, therefore I shouldn’t be doing it.¬† She was
judgmental – I don’t remember her ever telling me I did something well; she
said really hurtful things to me that I don’t think parents should say to
their kids.   She also was very controlling and anxious.  She did not like
to be touched – she’d get stiff with hugs.¬† I’m sure she was AS.¬† It would
explain a lot.  Like why I married a man with AS and felt, when we were
having problems, that I was the one that needed to be fixed.  (Now I know
better).

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Stella’s story

Some old friends of mine, who are some of the few people in the world who have been willing to socialize with my mother, recently gave me their take on her abnormalities and suggested that I see a psychiatrist about her. My mother’s behavior had never fit any psychological profile that I had encountered but I recently met with a psychiatrist and a genetic counsellor and they offered the Asperger diagnosis. Since reading about it I am convinced that their diagnosis is correct…. I am feeling very surprised that there seems to be a neurological profile for behavior that I thought was unique to my mother.¬† I understand AS is much more common in males than in females but my mother’s parents were closely related – they shared the same grandfather, whose son was institutionalized for antisocial behavior.¬† Therefore, I think that my mother inherited AS autism genes from both her parents.

 

Our family was not thriving on any level.¬† Although my mother was not competent at the basics of maintaining a household, my father thought that it was women’s work and did not contribute himself.¬† The upside is that because my mother (and father) could not cope with any of the responsibilities of having a house, we lived in a small rented apartment surrounded by elderly people and a few families who seemed to decide early on that they were going to intervene to see that I was okay.¬† Therefore, I divided my time since the age of three between a long-term baby-sitter and many neighbors who invited me for meals, helped when I was injured, provided a safe place to play and tried to give me a leg up in some ways.¬† My parents “home” had very little in it – no love, bizarre meals (usually just one ingredient, e.g. all eggs, all beans, all dairy, etc), few furniture (some black chairs and sofa that would not show the dirt), no TV or radios.¬† My mother never learned to drive and my parents had no interest in celebrating my birthday and did not want to celebrate the big holidays.¬†¬† Another difficulty was that my mother favored my brother who is older and more resembles her.¬† Both she and my father turned a blind eye to his bullying and abuse. It seems that my father married my mother and stayed with her because of her extreme frugality, which he shared and appreciated.

Some of my mother’s obsessions changed frequently and included medieval coinage, arctic wildflowers, watching track and field.¬† Her collections have also changed and have included dozens of jars of fermented fruit, shoes, nail scissors, laundry detergent and bleach.¬† Her current interest is in accumulating dried plums. For the last 30+ years she has worked as a volunteer for the¬† [Political Organisation]¬† as an advocate for “Juvenile Justice,” mainly advocating funding for programs for youth who have committed crimes. In her comments about this work, has revealed a sense of camaraderie with young homicides who are probably sociopaths.¬† Her positions are never paid and she seems to experience a certain amount of conflict with the other volunteers.¬† Socially, she is extremely pedantic and most new acquaintances excuse themselves after a few minutes.

I have felt very let down in the past because others had so little understanding of the harm this type of terrible parenting can inflict.¬† I have never met any woman who reminds me of my mother and I have never met anyone who has described experiencing the type of bad parenting that I received from my mother. I have noticed that the number of resources devoted to helping parents with AS traits far outnumbers those for children with AS parents and yet children of AS parents have the most experience with how these traits play out over a lifetime and have probably suffered a great deal.¬†¬† I am curious to learn more about others’ experience and see if they seem similar to my own.

Miriam

I believe that my father, sister and nephew all are affected by Asperger’s Syndrome. My nephew (my sister’s child) was diagnosed with Asperger’s about a year ago. I learned about Asperger’s Syndrome several years ago while researching a paper on autism for a school project. When I saw an article about Asperger’s, I couldn’t believe it – I thought, “Oh my God, it’s my family!”

My father was a professor of logic, now retired. He has always been extremely socially inept and unable to read “cues.” He relies on my mother to tell him how to dress, act, take care of himself. He has numerous peculiar “special interests,” including collecting flags (not the actual flags, but pictures of flags and facts about them), national anthems and military uniforms (again, not the uniforms themselves, but pictures and facts). He is extremely pedantic and boring and tends to “communicate” (if you want to call it that) by following another person around and lecturing on and on, without letting the other person really participate in the conversation, seemingly not able to comprehend that the other person has no interest in the topic. He is a kind man – not a mean bone in his body – but he’s totally oblivious to the needs of others. I could go on, and I’d be happy to provide more information if necessary, but I think that’s probably sufficient.

My sister is, I believe, affected even more profoundly by AS. She’s two years older than I am, and was actually diagnosed as “mildly autistic” when she was about 5 years old. Her school had sent her for an evaluation because her behavior was odd. However, she was never told about the diagnosis (which is my mother’s style), although I was told about it as an adult. My sister, though she’s very bright, seems to have no insight whatsoever into the fact that her mannerisms and perspective are unusual or uncomfortable to others. Her son received a diagnosis of AS and she doesn’t seem to be able to put this fact together with her own behavior. It is very hard for me to see her struggle ineffectively with her son’s issues. She is so sensitive that I don’t feel that I can bring up her own diagnosis with her.

I guess that I’m mostly looking for some support and understanding about growing up in a household where AS traits were not only considered “normal,” but often actually desirable. The family lore was that “this is how really smart people act,” so that not exhibiting AS traits meant that I wasn’t as “smart” as they were. (Yes, my father and sister did test higher on IQ tests, SATs, etc. than I did – and my sister does not let me forget it to this day.) On one hand, I began to realize (especially witnessing the teasing of my sister at school) that they were different, but on the other hand, I felt that I was inferior to them. Also, my mother, though not affected with AS, is quite simplistic when it comes to understanding emotional issues of any kind. I always felt that it was not ok to have feelings, let alone express them or get my emotional needs met. To this day, I feel that it’s my job to “walk on eggshells” around my family – to figure out what’s ok to talk about, not get them upset, etc. I do not look to them for support – I believe that they all try their best, but just can’t give it. I’d like to talk to others who may have faced a similar family dynamic growing up. I am struggling with recurrent depressions as an adult, find that I have a very hard time acknowledging my own feelings and needs, and would like to hear if others in my situation face similar issues.

Telling the stories of children raised by AS parents

What is it like to have Autistic or Aspergers parents?

This blog has been created to give a voice to the children of AS affected families. Readers of the stories to follow will find very clear and significant patterns of family dysfunction emerging. These patterns have slipped under the radar of all society’s institutions yet have profound implications for child welfare, when considered in the light of the high claimed incidence of AS in the community. If only 1% of the 4% of women and 10% of men who are supposed to be on the Autistic spectrum, have children, the inference is clear.

The stories will come from the members of ASpar, a support and advocacy group which began in 1999.

Since its inception, ASpar has had about 150 members, trailblazers and pioneers with new insights about a whole new hidden world of difference, something that had slipped under the radar of the medical establishment and the helping professions.

When prospective new members approach ASpar they are asked to provide an introduction which contains

  • which parents(s) have AS
  • demographic details
  • what makes them think their parent has AS (given that few will have an official diagnosis)
  • the impact on themselves and their family of the AS parents

This blog will feature, with members’ permissions, the answers to these questions, under pseudonyms to protect their privacy.

We do not claim that we are representative of all people with AS parents, as obviously groups like ours will not attract people who are perfectly satisfied with their upbringing. What we ask is that you read the stories. and make up your own minds whether there is a pattern and whether that pattern is consistent with a diagnosis of AS.

We do not advocate any kind of discrimination against people with AS, but we do believe they and their families need support

We will be putting stories up over the next couple of months

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