Keep Smilin’ with Rosie Preston – Asperger’s Awareness Month

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By Rosie Preston

It was several years before my son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. I knew something was different from the day he was born, and from then on, it appeared that he was a very shy young boy. He also had inherited our family’s size, whose members are small in stature. He did not develop in size or in learning to walk or talk as did most children his age. Of course, as his mother, I understood how he was feeling and knew how smart he was. He just did not socialize the way most kids did at his age.

However, he did meet some friends in kindergarten and chose to stay close to the couple with whom he had connected with at his day care, and for that I was very glad. We often would invite his friends one at a time to our home to visit and sometimes spend the night. I was thrilled, because he loved the day care where I was working at the time. He finally had a social network, and I felt blessed.

During the 1970’s and for some time afterward, Autism was unheard of, and it was a counselor who told me of my son’s diagnosis, which immediately made sense.

My son is now a grown man, and I can say that the hardest part for me as his mother was getting involved with teachers, other parents, the people he has worked with and the people who take the paperwork that describes his disability. It’s true that I turned into a Mama Bear many times in the past when it came to him being bullied.

During the last seven years, my son has worked at a retail store and performs jobs that do not involve interaction with customers. He also has a wonderful lady friend who accepts him. I had prayed for three years that a woman, one who was perhaps a couple of years older than him and who may have experienced a bad relationship, would appreciate him for his loyalty and honesty.

He and this lady constantly surprise me as they laugh and make jokes with each other. They live in the same duplex and I can’t explain how thrilled I am to see my son so comfortable. He also works part-time and has a wonderful boss who appreciates his hard work.

Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of high-functioning autism more common in males than in females. Though, by definition, people with Asperger’s have no significant delay in language or cognitive development, they often have difficulty with social interaction and sensory reception. With early diagnosis and therapy, most people with Asperger’s syndrome live regular lives.

Contact Rosie Preston at rosie.preston@yahoo.com.

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