Celebrating the Asperger’s Way

The following post is by Danny’s Mother:

Raising a son with Asperger’s, we often had to celebrate in a different way. And, you know what?  It was really fun and very memorable for all of us.  Here are three examples:

When Danny turned 12, we were on vacation in Seattle.  To celebrate his actual birthday, Danny didn’t want a party or special dinner, but instead requested a tour of Microsoft Headquarters.  Fortunately, we had a business acquaintance whose son coordinated a fabulous tour of the campus.  I really didn’t understand all of the technical terms or descriptions of software – but Danny did!  He was focused, happy, thrilled, and social doing something that he wanted to do.

Danny was raised Jewish, and that meant we celebrated his Bar Mitzvah at age 13.  To prepare, he studied  for months to learn to read Hebrew, learned some prayers, and wrote a speech about the meaning of his Torah portion.  (A lot for any 13-year-old!) On his Bar Mitzvah day, he led services, and then we had a celebration. We had just had the diagnosis of Asperger’s, so I had a little better idea of what we should NOT do to celebrate.  We shouldn’t invite too many people.  We shouldn’t make too much of a fuss of him.  We shouldn’t celebrate with loud music. This was not the  normal celebration of our community, but it was perfect for Danny.  At the party celebrating him becoming part of the adult-community, instead of having lots of loud screaming teenagers dancing “YMCA,” we had a magician performing.  Instead of expecting Danny to participate in any games, he was the judge. And, instead of him arriving into the room with full fan-fare, he sat on his Dad’s lap watching close-up magic.

High School Graduation Day was perfect for Danny.  My husband and I dreaded the thought of Danny having to sit through a few hours of  speeches and a long line of students waiting to get their diplomas. So, when Danny said he really didn’t want to go through with the graduation ceremony, we were a bit relieved.  But, we knew the importance of celebrating milestones, so we asked Danny for some alternative ideas.  What he came up with was spectacular.  On the day of everyone else’s graduation ceremony, we drove the 1 ½ hours to Los Angeles, had dinner at an Italian restaurant where “picky-eater” Danny could be assured of finding something he’d like on the menu,  and made our way to an outdoor venue to attend a symphonic concert featuring the music of video games called “Video Games Live.”  Although my husband and I felt like we were in a foreign culture in unfamiliar territory, we were elated to see Danny very comfortable and happy and singing or humming along to every song.

Celebrations are important but we quickly learned that we had to do things Danny’s way.  And, we had fun too!

117 thoughts on “Celebrating the Asperger’s Way

  1. Being the mother of someone with Asperger’s is both heart warming and heart breaking! My son has the most warm and loving heart but it is heart breaking to see people treat him so badly and not understand his quirky things! For example, he loves to go out to eat but if he is visiting a new city he will NOT eat at a restaurant that he can eat at in his home town….this can be pretty frustrating when you have to drive several miles out of your way to go to a restaurant that he has never been to before. Thankfully over the years I have learned to adjust to his many obsessive habits and knowing that he has AS has definitely helped! He didn’t get officially diagnosed until last year and he will be 39 next week! As a mom you want your child to be happy and we see happiness as something “WE” want for them. I have had to learn that he has his own definition of what is happiness. You have to be careful what you say to someone with AS…..they take everything you say “literally”! I have learned that I don’t tell my son that I will pick him up at 9:00 or he will be expecting me at exactly 9! I have learned to say “I will pick you up around 9…it might be a little sooner or later and I will call you before I leave. If I explain to him ahead of time what to expect he handles it much better…..for example…we won’t be stopping at a restaurant to eat….bring your lunch….The more you can clearly explain to them what to expect, the smoother things go! I m glad that I have found this blog …so thank you…it is so nice to know that as a mother of an AS son I am not alone!

  2. I am convinced that My sweetheart who is 46 years old has Aspergers. I have been with him for 5 years now and all of the symptoms are there. I put a small wreath with bells on it on the door going out to the garage and one day he came in and he asked if we could take that down because those bells made so much noise. Another time, I had a lot of lights on in the kitchen and he begged me to turn off all of them except one lamp because bright lights bother him as well as loud noises. I’ve known his mother for a very long time and I talked to her about it and told her all the symptoms I had been reading and she was overwhelmed. She said that fits him to a tee. He needs space around him, he cannot be crowded. Even in our home if I walk around the island in the kitchen and there’s not considerable space between him and the counter then I back off or he will go around the other end of the counter. He does not like brushing up against people or bumping into people or having them get too close to him. He is extremely and almost frighteningly intelligent. He focuses on his music, he is a lead guitarist and he also does video work and he lives, eats, sleeps this kind of work. He seems to learn things that interest him with such intensity and there seems to be no challenge that he will avoid to get the answer to something. I have read that people with this syndrome can and do live very normal lives as long as those around them understand them. Many highly successful people in fields such as science, the arts, etc have aspergers, Einstein being one of them.


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