I learned with sadness last week that my friend’s daughter had been diagnosed with Asperger’s.
My friend is overwhelmed, bewildered, lost in a series of terms, ideas, and notions. So I thought I’d use my space today so you can hear from her.
She needs some support and has set up a Facebook Page – Arden’s Friends.
And she has Asperger’s Syndrome.
For the first couple of months, I had to roll it around in my brain. What does that mean? I always knew she was different, but now there’s a box she fits in? There are other kids like her?
The more I learn, the more I am blown away by the people who have this disorder. She is brilliant – IQ levels in the superior range. But she orbits the playground. She can’t begin, maintain or end a conversation. She has special interests that she obsesses on and uses her knowledge to try to make friends, but her random need to share facts about Dr. Who and Star Wars mark her as odd. And once you’re the weird kid at school, it’s really, really hard to come back from.
At the end of the day, her brain works differently than most people’s. And she’s only 8, so she’s still running her experiments on this thing called the world. Finding out scientifically, not intuitively, what works in these situations. She pulls into herself and observes, not because she wants to, but because that understanding the only chance she’ll have to be accepted and feel like she’s a part of something rather than apart from something.
I have, I do and I always will believe in this little girl. This incredible, creative, tenacious, curious little girl will change the world. Precisely because she doesn’t think like the other kids. The world has had quite enough of the people who all think the same, in my opinion. The world needs more Ardens, more Temple Grandins.
Sometimes I am overwhelmed. I don’t feel like I’m enough. I don’t feel like I’m equipped to help her. My brain doesn’t work like hers, so sometimes I don’t understand.
And she’s great. Like really – THERE’S NOTHING WRONG. It’s just learning to set her up to succeed while considering the different areas where she plays in the Autism Spectrum.
So my lesson for now is in learning, in patience, in figuring out how to advocate for a kid who is so worth it I almost can’t breathe sometimes.
So thanks for reading and thanks for helping and being a safe space for sharing.