Carrying the Hope


Carrying the Hope

Parenting a child with Asperger's

July/August 2009


"Mom, you have to come and look at my poop!" Brian yells, running back into the office where Fran, his therapist, and I are patiently awaiting his return. His blue eyes are shining, he grins from ear to ear. He gestures to me ("Come here!") and then runs and grabs my hand. When I arrive at the potty, I glance at the specimen and then at Brian. His eyes are glued to me, anticipating my reaction. I smile, he laughs and spreads his arms wide, "It's the longest snake ever!"

Such a moment might not strike everyone as so wonderful, but to me it's utterly amazing—on so many levels. When he was 26 months old, Brian—now 6½—was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified), an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) falling somewhere between autism and Asperger's Syndrome. Although, even then, he was considered "high-functioning," he was dealing with some significant problems for such a little guy. He had painfully sensitive ears (auditory hypersensitivity), no interest in other kids, aggressive behavior toward himself and others, scripted language, limited play skills, chronic diaper rashes, and continual gastrointestinal problems, vacillating between constipation and diarrhea.

Now, at 6 ½, thanks to intensive early intervention that was truly biopsychosocial in nature, he's making great strides. Not only have his physical and medical problems improved dramatically, but he's competent enough at relationship skills to want to show me…

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