Lisa Jo Rudy
Question: Should a Teen with Asperger Syndrome Try to Be "Normal?"
I'm worried about how my bright, funny, imaginative 11-year-old daughter with Aspergers is going to cope with the pressures of middle school. That is a difficult age for any child and most people don't accept her as she is. My husband thinks we should focus on making her more acceptable to the majority, but I don't think she should have to change who she is. I haven't heard from anyone who has been through those middle & high school years and I am terrified!!
Answer: Hi Julia,
You have a raised a very tough but good question! This is a common fear that parents of spectrum kids have. Middle school, as we all know, is cruel to everyone, and especially to those who are different. How do you let your kid be who they are while still protecting them so they don't emerge traumatized?
I feel what is most important is not to let your kid feel ashamed of who they are. If they've got a spark to them, they've got things they're interested in, don't kill it by making them conform. Most people lose that spark naturally when they get older; there's no reason to do it prematurely. Don't take away one of best things your Aspie has going for herself: her passion for living life, even if it's living life on her own terms. If she wants to fit in, she'll ask you how to fit . It'll come, but let it be when she's ready for it rather than force her into a cookie cutter existence.
Some Aspies go through middle school so excited about their passions that they barely notice they're the odd ones out, or if they notice, they don't care. Probably not a lot, but some. Read more >>
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