Should you tell your child they have Aspergers?

One of the earliest questions that we find most parents ask is “Should I tell my child they have Aspergers?”. On one hand, it is really nice to know what is actually going on, but on the other hand, there are completely valid worries about Aspergers becoming a label and an identity. We both know several people who have transitioned from “Human being with occasion Aspergers” to “Aspergers with occasional Human Being”, simply because they use it as an excuse all of the time.

The answer to this question is actually quite simple, and can be answered with another simple question. Watch the video below to find out what that question is, and what you should do.

42 thoughts on “Should you tell your child they have Aspergers?

  1. My 14 year son may well be categorised as Asperger but I am not convinced it is a “disorder” or a “condition” or is anything other than clumsy label for a range of similar traits mostly relating to how people process sensory date and thus learn how to interact in the world. It has had an impact on how he functions, but mostly with regards to school, and since he stopped going 3 years ago, he has been very happy.

    I do appreciate and have known many people with a similar label whose problems can include significant mental health issues, substance misuse, learning difficulties and other issues, so I am not suggesting that there is no foundation for concern. My worry is that that this label is not the best way to obtain personal insight or to ensure the right support is available. I am also worried that once labelled there is no going back. No matter how hard one tries to disprove the stereotypes, once you’ve been “diagnosed” your card is marked. My son is quite proud to define himself as a “nerd” which he sees as someone with niche but fairly strong interests. A bit like myself being described as “creative” when a less kind diagnosis might have found me neurotic…

    He enjoys the regular activities he does (coding club, home ed group, drama school). He has taught himself to play the piano pretty well, in fact he is better at teaching himself than being taught. We do work at home and whilst I know he’s missed out on some things /I do know how he ticks and can therefore help him learn at his own pace, which professional in three schools were unable to do.

    Despite this, I do periodically think about the matter of diagnosis because I worry that future establishments such as college or university wont make the necessary adjustments without a damn label. At the same time I worried about the prejudice he’d have to face if he had such a label.

    My nephew is similar (possibly more so) and is currently studying for a history degree in France (he is totally bilingual and can speak a few other languages ok). He is also a composer and helps his parents run a small theatre. He is weird and quirky but I think okay doing his own thing. Like my son, I doubt he’d cope away from home, though maybe one day.

    Sorry to ramble, but you see it’s quite a dilemma. I don’t want my son to miss out on opportunities because of my misgivings about the medical model, but at the same time I don’t want his actual identity to be subsumed by a label.

  2. I have a 13 year old son who, if he has aspergers, it is a mild case (for lack of better terminology). I suspect that he does. He has friends and seems ok with life in general. He is hitting adolescence now, and I’m worried that his peers may start to notice some of his social differences- I would like to have him evaluated so we can see if he does have aspergers because I feel like getting some help as soon as we can will help him. I don’t want to “wait”until something bad happens or someone says something hurtful to get it checked out. Why can’t we bring it into the liggt now, while he is living here and can support him and teach him skills. At the same time, I don’t want to create a problem that may or may not be there. I don’t want him to think there is something “wrong” with him. I just want to do what is best for him. I’m not sure what that is…

  3. My 12 year old.son has just been diagnosed with Aspergers. His father also has Aspergers. Unfortunately I had to walk out 20weeks pregnant with my son as Ihad also gone through four miscarriages. My husband showed no compassion. He was diagnosed but is in denial. I have told the school but am not sure if I should tell him?

  4. As an adult with Aspergers I’m struggling with this. In general people with Aspergers appreciate 100% honesty and transparency – no such thing as a white lie! I didn’t find out until I was 31 and it was an amazing and life changing moment for me.

    I’m really in two minds about telling my 5 year old daughter that we think she is on the spectrum. There isn’t really anything ‘wrong’ with her, she doesn’t have therapy or extra help at school, so I don’t want to give her a useless label.

    Do you talk about various symptoms and signs and differences? Without being specific about the diagnoses? I like the idea of not telling her, but later when she grows up… would she hate me for not telling her? I wish I’d known earlier…

    1. I discovered I had asperger around 23 and to be honest it was the most positive thing to happen in my life. I spent most of my schoolyears as if I was strange and feeling something was off with me. Witch led to quite a depressed state for many many years.

      Your children will notice it you can be sure of that. And much younger than you think , I lived until my 23 year with a lot of “unexplained” event and some of them are from when I was 4-5 year old.

      I often tried to speak about myself and the way other people reacted really hurt me , especially my family witch by far hurt me the most (unknowingly). What really hurt are people who try to resolve an asperger problem with an neurotypic way of thinking , making you feel its imposible their way cant work for you since its work for everybody around them. This make you feel like the lowest person on earth. (Schools are pretty good at giving this feeling)

      I ended up from a very young age to start “acting” as a mean to defend myself from negative opinion , I would definetely create a whole new personality witch was “acceptable” simply by copying other people behavior without understanding any of it. I would go as far as to say I had a prefect shield up , no could guess who was the real me as the question I asked myself kept growing.

      When I look back what hurt me the most all this time was the lack of knowledge surrounding it , probably because I come from a very small community and even now autism is a word almost no one know about.

      You should definetely tell your children about it even if they are not directly affected , even if its just the information surrounding it . the way society is build “difference” = hardship and/or rejection . To give them the knowledge can only be good in the long run may it be for them or other , the worst thing is to act as if it doesn’t exist . If I was to learn my parent knew all along and acted as if it didnt exist and said “anyway everyone is different” I would feel so completely destroyed inside …..

  5. A question for all of you parents. A friend has a 16 year old son with Aspergers/ADD/Anxiety who has been living in a group facility for 2 years and has done very well. He is now back home but continues his education at the facility. My question is, she continually posts things on his Facebook regarding ” I love my autistic son” ect. Sort of labeling him to the world. Am I wrong in feeling like this is overkill and that a simple I love my son is appropriet? I just feel like maybe at some point he will not want this advertised for him and he will disclose this information in situations he sees fit…am I wrong?

    1. In all honesty it really is your friend’s business how she posts about her own son. It may be her own way to let people know why he is different and to be understanding of him before passing judgement. I never post about my own son’s Dx (he is now 14) because I have always viewed it at his own business. One day he will be an adult and may not appreciate that I was telling his personal business to the world the whole time. He probably wouldn’t appreciate it now. I also don’t want anyone to have pre-concieved ideas and opinions about him and I’m sure he wouldn’t either. But again, it is your friend’s business to post or not post about her own child.

  6. Hi:
    I don’t see the need to tell him…….Anyway “we’re all diferent” so if he’s different was new about it? My son was diagnose at 9 or so ,I never had told him.He knows he’s different ..My husband (my opinion) is very Aspy ,he’s successful in his profession.He never was diagnosed . Not the typical husband,but guess what that’s why I marry him:),so don’t worry too much there’s a piece of cake for everyone.We deal with aspergers the same way we deal with any other issue, we look for ways to get things done. We keep going with love and good habits everyone will be ok.Aspergers is not a problem the problem is the people who wants to believe been different is a problem.I think I have it too :0 !!!!! so I deal with been different .
    Excuse my grammar english is my 5th language .

    1. I am about to find out today if my 12 year old daughter has it. We went through an assessment earlier in the year. Today we are meeting with the psychologist. My gut feeling is that she does have Aspergers (and my husband too) and I am not sure whether to tell her or not.
      I just want to thank you for your positive post. I have been feeling in a negative downward spiral about it all, feeling like she is about to be given a life sentence. So hearing something so positive is really helpful and I hope I can have the same outlook as you.
      I think sometimes the issues aren’t always with the people with Aspergrs but understanding and tolerance from other people

      1. Im looking for a friend or support on this matter. My daughter is 12 also. Did you find out or decide whether to tell yours?

  7. After being with same Doctor since my son was born, As My son grew He kept giving him more and more meds trying to get his ADHD under control. Well I decided to change Doctors. By the grace of God I found a Doctor that my son loved. On the first visit she asked me how am I dealing with his Aspergers, are we in groups or what. I have never heard or knew of what she was talking about. As we talk It she pulls up information on line. and IT ALL MADE sense to me after that. So I am here to ask NOW WHAT? Now what do I do?

  8. hi i have a daughter who was diagnosed with aspergers at 8 my son is 15 now an im having concerns about him hes terrible to go out always asks wat time we going wat time we coming back a fight to get him to hairdressers he hates the thought of school yet hes in top set for everything i have to remind him about his hygiene always in his room on ps4 even to walk dogs i end up in argument with him he talks like a professor i am very concerned could u help thanks miss s hegarty mom

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