Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I never know how much to tell, if it becomes repetitive for older followers, or whether new followers read back through to past posts and know anyway.

I have two sons. Boy 2, my smart-arse, sensitive, witty, too damn intelligent for his own good, little boy with an adult mind child. He is eleven years old, turning twelve in the second half of this year.

He is also my child teetering on emotional vulnerability at this time.

And Boy 1. Oh, my Boy 1. My child with Asperger Syndrome (see - I used person first language there, all politicially correct ya know). For those who don't know AS is within the Autism Spectrum Disorder classificiation (for now, anyway).

Boy 1 has just turned thirteen. He is flowing full tilt into the puberty years, the time where life is said to become unpredictable (scary), full of mood swings (scary) and irrational (terrifying). Yet for our son, who showed all the signs of beginning this teenage phenomenum at eleven and a half, it is not true. We have a young man making great strides in becoming independant, who is happy and content in his own skin. He likes himself. If only we all could say that about ourselves.

Lately there has been a lot of commenting about terminology on the Special Needs sites and boards I frequent. I must admit it does not phase me if someone does not use the first person, ie a child with ASD, I even tend to use my Aspie boy as a phrase just as I would use my blonde child, or my blue-eyed son. It is a part of who he is and always will be.

But there is something I do take issue with, it goes against everything we believe. We have some great help in the form of an OT and a physio from the education department of our state. They have been wonderful in their interaction, assessment and advice for Boy 1. What distressed us though is a casual comment, no harm intended, but still not acceptable. "This community is very accepting of people with disabilities and problems." Ah, no... never, for he is not disabled, in fact many would love to have this amazing boy in their lives (over a moody, angry teenager). Disability is not a term we ever use in our house (except maybe when it comes to their Madmother and technology, but that is another story).

Differing abilities, this is what we live with. We have always encouraged the strengths of Asperger Syndrome with Boy 1. He is very comfortable with who he is and having Aspergers, probably somewhat to do with how his syndrome is accepted in our everyday lives. The last thing we want is for anyone to go "poor you" and tell him he is disabled, because he is not. He is incredible - just ask him!

Please, if you are in the community always remember these kids have big ears and you can do so much damage with words. You wouldn't like it if someone said something disparaging about you and yours, would you? Even the simplest and seemingly acceptable language to you may not be to others.

Just think before speaking, advice we should all follow (me included). Because it just may be someone's future you are playing with, and their whole perception of themselves.

Have a good one!

1 comment:

Ro said...

Oooo, thank you for this post, I got miffed at a specialist recently for using words/phrases like "normal school" (instead of mainstream) and continually referring to his challenges as disabilities , grrrr.