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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Does Your Child Know He Has AS?

Did you watch Parenthood last night? I recorded it and watched it this morning. Apparently I have a new show to keep up with. I want to see where they go with the story.

I couldn't really understand why Kristina cried when they were explaining Asperger's to Max. Of course, I also don't understand why they felt the need to hide it from him for a year, either. AS is challenging and frustrating and I was a little stunned when we first heard that J has AS. In fact, I had a small panic attack right before we got the results of the evaluation. But I didn't cry. And I cry about everything. In fact, I cried when Max had his meltdown in the park on the show. I felt so bad for him. And you know when that happens in real life, everyone in the park is thinking, "What a brat." Makes you want to stand there and hand out pamphlets about AS.

Anyway...AS does present some challenges, but I don't think it's something to grieve about. There are so many more debilitating issues that families have to deal with that really, in the scheme of things, AS isn't that bad. Really, it isn't that horrible taken on it's own, either. On the show, Adam was resistant to sharing any positive aspects of Asperger's with Max - mainly because Adam didn't believe there were any positive aspects. He and Kristina were both so mired in the challenges that they couldn't see anything else.

I won't pretend living with an AS child is easy. I've been pretty open about that on here and if you have an AS child, you already know how it can be. But they're also sweet, smart, funny kids.

Apparently the writers have done a lot research, because they even "got" that it's usually the dads who have more trouble accepting the diagnosis. I wanted to reach through the TV, grab Adam, and say, "Stop being so negative!"

I did like the way they eventually sat down and talked to him. I've never hidden from J that he has AS. I even talked to him about it when I started thinking he might have it. He's just so smart that it never occurred to me to not talk to him about it. It helps him understand why he does some of the things he does instead of being frustrated with himself because he can't stop. It's part of who he is, so I don't see how hiding that is beneficial.

And now I have to go back and watch the previous episodes because I'm curious how they had him working with a behavioral therapist for a year without giving him some kind of explanation.

Does your AS child know he (or she) has AS? Did you tell him as soon as you found out or did you wait? What made you decide to either tell him or keep it from him?

5 comments:

Angela said...

Hi Amanda - I replied to you on fb but thought it was best to reply on here. I have watched this show since the first episode and I feel that they have always handled Max's condition really well - as in, really realistically. I enjoyed this week's episode and I would recommend going back and watching the whole 2 series.

I wanted to grab Adam also and draw an analogy with trying to explain something to a child of that age like leukemia or similar. While you would want the child to be prepared for the rough stuff you would also want them to feel positive about all that may be ahead.

I loved the take that the psych had on it all. Since I am an educator I am clearly more likely to be in a position of supporting a child through processing the information than delivering it but I did like the way that the show handled it. No show is perfect but this one tries hard.

Now for my turn for a recommendation - try to download UK CH4's 'Young, Autistic & Stagestruck'... one of the best shows I have EVER seen!
Thanks, Angela

Amanda said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Angela! I've bookmarked that page and I'll try to watch the shows this weekend.
Catching up on the Parenthood episodes will take little longer, but I'll do that, too. :-)

Ersht said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ersht said...

Jason Katims is the executive producer of the show, and he has a child with AS. That would be why they seem to "get it", as he's been through it.

http://www.nbc.com/parenthood/the-experts-speak/2011/03/questions-for-and-about-max/index.php

Amanda said...

Thanks, Ersht!

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