Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Child with Autism & Depression

I feel guilty. Kalvin is 11 years old and just recently diagnosed with Autism. Actually he has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, a type of autism that falls under the Autism Spectrum Disorders umbrella. The doctors are not very helpful…”here ya go, we have labeled your child now it’s up to you to know how you deal with it.” I did receive a couple book titles that may help. Seriously?? How can this type of diagnoses not come with some type of support for parents? So here I am scrambling to find help—scouring the internet for sources of information, reaching out on website forums-- hell I even twittered about it, all in the hopes of finding someone with closely guarded secrets they are willing to share with a mom who has no clue. And I have come across a couple sweet parents who would share their stories, but they have toddlers or preschoolers who have Aspergers, not a tween. So they are in far different places with very different problems. Impulsivity of a 3 year old is not equivalent to the impulsivity of an 11 year old. Poor social skills in a 3 year old aren’t going to get him teased and taunted like that of an 11 year old child who is trying to fit in with his buddies at school, but doesn’t know how. An immature 3 year old is not a worry—he’s only 3, but an immature 11 year old knows he’s immature, he feels the difference between himself and others his own age. His self-esteem his almost non-existent and as his mom I am doing all I can to help boost his confidence. But I am having little effect, I am lost. I feel like he may float away from me and his dad, the only anchors I think he has at the moment. How am I going to get him back? How am I going to help him find his self-worth? How am I going to get through this? Ridiculous, I sound like it’s about me, and it is not--- and “get through this” like it is a hurdle that can be overcome and I know it’s not. I need life skills for him and for our family.

His young little soul is also battling depression. And the doctors have asked me—more than once—if I too am depressed. “No” is my standard response. They say that children with depression are often mirroring the behaviors of a parent. So are they trying to lay blame? I did have a bout of post partum depression after Belle was born, but within three months I was off the anti-depressants and back to myself—as back to “myself” as a mom can be with 4 kiddos, one of which is a preemie, one is a hell on wheels toddler, one is a carrying around all types of confusion in his little mind but no one knows what is wrong, and one kiddo on the verge of teen years with all the drama that entails. Am I depressed now? I may be feeling that way now, with all the guilt, the questioning, the signs I missed. That trite saying about hindsight is kicking me in the ass right now. And today, yes today I am feeling depressed. I am feeling like I am failing, like I should have previously and should be now doing more than I am. Here I go again making this about me. Damn it!


  1. Hi Jeni,

    I'm not sure if this will help you at all, but I just recently finished reading "The Second Opinion" by Michael Palmer. It is fiction, but two of the main characters are "Aspie's."

    If you aren't familiar with Michael Palmer, he is a doctor and medical mystery writer. At the end of the book, in his aknowledgements, he discusses his son's diagnosis of Aspergers.

    Good luck! I'm not a mom, but I can imagine that it is difficult watching a child have a personal struggle, especially at such a young age.

  2. I did see this book at the library today, but didn't give it a second glance seeing that it was fiction. But knowing more background on the author I will go back and pick I up. Thanks!

  3. I have nothing to offer but those weird internet hugs from a stranger. I think it goes like this??

  4. weird internet hugs are welcomed....thank you

  5. Random comment from a stranger, but I am a therapist who has treated a boy your son's age for Aspergers. I'm not an expert with this disorder and I don't have any easy answers for you, but I will tell you that it's very likely your son CAN learn social skills and how to read social cues with some help, and this will help him with his peers. For your son it's like learning math or how to read - he probably needs some instruction and practice.

    I'm also guessing that he's probably got some crazy talents, too, and that there are things he is incredibly interested in and good at, and praising him as much as possible for these things will help with his self-esteem.

    And the depression is undoubtedly intertwined with his difficulties with his peer group - NOT something he is "mirroring" from you. I have to say whoever implied such a thing doesn't know much about depression.

    Anyway, I wish you the best of luck and hope you don't find my comment annoying. I know unsolicited advice is always my favorite kind of comment. NOT.

    Good luck to you and your kid!

  6. Erm... I am a total stranger as well, but my Mama has Aspbergers (which doesn't help you much) but i also have a girlfriend who's boy-o is 12 and an Aspie.

    I actually have another GF who's 14 year old is Aspie too, but as she does not keep a blog it won't help you much. Blogging friend hasn't posted much since this spring, but she is still around, for questions and her archive is there too. Her son, Cricket was diagnosed pretty early... but tweener-Aspie is tweener-Aspie if you ask me.

  7. my step son has been recently diagnosed w/asp. on the low end of the spectrum. he also has adhd, panic/anxiety, ocd, and a psychotic thought stuff.
    these kids can have fully functional lives if they aren't made to feel it's a crutch. any time you need to chat about it, i'm here!!

  8. Feel free to contact me at melodyspins @ gmail [dot] com.

    I have a 12 yo son dx with Asperger's. He was not dx until almost age 10. I have felt every emotion, including guilt, that you are currently experiencing.

    I will be happy to answer questions or just listen.

    Above all, know that you are not to are not at, your family and he will fine. He is not his dx. He is a boy. He is your son. You are going to realize his strengths and you will be able to guide him.