Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Raising A Child With Asperger's

My 14 yo daughter has been recently diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of autism. I thought that her age is a bit late to be diagnosed with autism, but I did a little research and discovered that Asperger's is often diagnosed in early adolescence.
My daughter completed a program at a local mental health facility. She had been getting violent with me. Once they effectively medicated her migraines with Topamax, her behavior drastically improved!
I spoke to her counselor about the symptoms of Asperger's. It really seems to fit. My daughter does not like people. She and I are close, but even in our relationship, she refuses to call me "mom." She calls me "The Woman." She refers to her brothers as "The Boy" and "The Other One." Her eating habits are very ritualistic. She has always been oversensitive to sound and smell. She gets obsessively attached to certain objects.. right now, that is her hoodie, which she wears 24/7 no matter what the temperature.
She never tells me that she loves me. My daughter has told me that she will never have children. She has no interest in getting close to others, not even boys. Only time will tell how her aversion to relationships will play out.
She is highly intelligent. She starts taking college classes this fall. I have no doubt that intellectually nothing could stop her from attaining any career goal. However, she has certain behaviors, which before I always dismissed as stubborness. She has to do things her way in her time. I explained to her that once she goes to college, if a professor asks her to write a certain way or do an assignment in a way she wouldn't normally do, she has to follow the instructions. But, she tends to put up a wall, saying that she "can't" do it that way. Recently, I gave her a freewriting assignment. Well, the very nature of freewriting is that there is no "wrong." When you freewrite, you don't edit yourself at all. Well, she absolutely refused to do the assignment, saying that she can't freewrite..that it doesn't work for her. I explained to her that there is no such thing as "can't" when it comes to freewriting. I had to punish her by confiscating her stereo in order for her to eventually do the assignment. So many struggles all the time!
So, where do I go from here? Well, if a friend came to me for advice, I would suggest that her daughter receive counselling. I wish I could force my daughter to attend counselling, but she is refusing treatment. In Pennsylvania, the legal age of consent for treatment is 14. Therefore, if she doesn't consent for treatment, I can't force her to get treatment. sigh.