Asperger is not a Cheese.

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The name Asperger always reminded me of Limburger, the smelly cheese.

Yes, Asperger’s Syndrome also stinks but in other . . . let me count the ways. Socially, developmentally, organizationally, motivationally. Sick of the Ly’s yet?

That’s okay, because I’m done with the intro and moving into the heart of the cheese, if cheese has a heart. My son has a heart, as well as Asperger’s, although I’m omitting the word, “syndrome,” since it’s rather ominous sounding like the “plague.”

My husband and I didn’t know that our son had Asperger’s until several years ago, as he was first diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten.

A very kind teacher, who also had a son with ADD and wanted to prevent our son from going through the elementary school torture chamber, noticed my son’s aberrant behavior, like dancing on desktops and sticking pencils up his nose. Not really. He just didn’t pay attention and would stand up and jump around when he was supposed to sit down and focus on his ABC’s or other inert learning objectives.

Playground play and social interaction wasn’t much better since my son was always rather impulsive. If he wasn’t the first kid in line, not a problem, he would push the kid in front of him out of the way. If he wanted a ball another kid had, he would just take it. Parents, teachers, and kids did not take kindly to my son’s actions. My husband and I wondered what the hell was going on, which brings us back to ADD and fifth grade. Did you notice how I not so subtly moved this post ahead in years?

In roughly 2002 when my son was in fifth grade, if my memory isn’t warped like the rest of me, while my son attended a rather unfriendly LD (learning differences) elementary school in Westchester County, New York, he suddenly developed an aversion to school. We consulted countless psychiatrists and alleged ADD experts but got few satisfactory answers. Meanwhile, every morning getting my son dressed and ready for school was equivalent to a WWE wrestling match.

This culminated with me carrying my son to the car and throwing him in it. I’ll leave out the agonizing details of what happened when I finally got him to school and left him in the “care,” I use the word loosely, of the school psychiatrist, also used loosely. Let’s just say a lot of screaming and crying went on as I left the building, and I’m not talking about my son. Yes, I am, but inside I was screaming and crying with him while driving to work two hours late.

I know this all sounds rather cruel, but my husband and I didn’t know what else to do. Years later, I read somewhere that when Asperger’s kids reach puberty they begin manifesting the symptoms of the disorder. I also read that someone can have both ADHD and Asperger’s, which is also known as a comorbid condition, which is like hitting brain Lotto.

Stay tuned for more on “Asperger is not a Cheese.”

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9 Comments Asperger is not a Cheese.

  1. Ziva

    I used to work in a home for mentally handicapped people, and one of the least "handicapped" people there was this one guy with Asperger's. Obviously there are different levels of Asperger's and not everyone are affected in the same way, but this guy had a very hard time with social situations. Disregarding from the compulsive behavior, though, he was an absolute hoot. I loved taking care of him, because even though he could be a handful when he threw a tantrum, he was the funniest guy ever. I'm not sure how affected your son is by his Asperger's, but what I am sure of, is that he's just as amazing none the less.

  2. Lauren

    He has difficulty with social situations and executive function, i.e., organizing, time management, planning ahead, but then again I do, too. Also OCD and focus on the ADD side.

    He is very bright and has a wonderful dry sense of humor. After a difficult childhood that included being bullied by his peers and despite horrible "expert" advice, he has grown into an incredible adult. He will be 21 next month, although still a bit immature.

  3. ReformingGeek

    Wow! I'm glad you found out what was going on with him. I'm interested in hearing more.

    My brother suffered from ADD before they started calling it that. I don't think he ever really recovered and maybe there was something else going on, too.

  4. Lauren

    ADD in itself is difficult to live with because of impulse and focus issues.

    In reference to Asperger's, when my son was young, we noticed he was particularly sensitive to sounds,the material he wore, and food textures.

    Once, when we attended a fireworks display on fourth of July, we had to leave because my son couldn't take the noise. He's still sensitive to loud sounds and conversely also has incredible hearing.

    Another indicator of Asperger's, Aspie's (a nickname for Asperger's) tend to speak loudly, in a monotone voice because they have difficulty modulating their voices. A lack of eye contact is also associated with Asperger's.

    But of all the difficulties that comprise Asperger's, the most devastating is the lack of social skills, not understanding social cues, facial expressions, and body language.

  5. Tracie

    My oldest probably has Aspergers but has never been diagnosed. Of course, I'm an SLP and think everyone is 'On The Spectrum' as we say.

    My heart hurts for my son when he is having social problems at school. I know he is going to have a hard road ahead as adolescence looms.

  6. Lauren

    There are a lot of helpful groups out there. Of course, my son would have nothing to do with them. Did I mention that he's stubborn?

    My advice about school bullies, forget about all the non violence crap. I used to drink that Kool Aid. But the only thing that works is connecting with a strong right hook.

    In high school, my son decked a kid that pushed him up against a wall. After that, they became friends. It was worth the suspension.


    I never heard of Aspergers until it was introduced into a few TV shows story lines. Now it is getting a lot of attention and well so. It is a tough diagnosis not only for the patient but even more so for the family.

  8. Bonehead

    It's hard enough to deal with a disorder that makes social situations difficult – but when it's compounded with the lack of understanding from others – I wonder how many of us "normal" folks could actually manage to deal.

  9. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

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