Does anyone have an ASD success story?

Chris - posted on 01/23/2010 ( 22 moms have responded )

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I would love to hear from families who have grown children who were diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Aspergers.

I have a nearly 8 year old boy who was diagnosed with an ASD at approx 2 1/2 yrs.

I went into hospital to have our second child when our first was 19 months and came home to a different child. Before then we had no hint anything was wrong or different. He met all his milestones on time and was very bright but then I started to have a "feeling" something wasn't right. He began to line up his toys, mimic noises, and use a lot of echolalia. I mentioned it to other family members but they told us we were imagining it or Lachlan's development had just dropped off because I wasn't spending as much time with him as I was before, (baby number 2 didn't sleep much and we had no family close by). After lots of reading up on possible reasons and visits to speech, occupational and early intervention therapists we were referred to a pediatrician who said Lachlan was showing signs of autism but would "outgrow" it and probably surpass his peers in 6 months. We were surprised as we expected (and had steeled ourselves for) an ASD diagnosis. When we went back to the therapists and reported what the pediatrician had said they were quite surprised as the pediatrician had told them something completely different and Lachlan was definitly on the spectrum. We were quite upset as we had taken his intervention lightly after being told he'd been fine and we'd lost a couple of months. The pediatrician's reasoning was that he didn't want to upset us as some parents don't want to know....????

Anyway Lachlan went off to kinder and excelled at puzzles. There was discussion of medication but I flatly refused. He has just completed his first year of school where he finished at the highest level even though we have not had the best year with the school as they haven't been overly sympathetic to Lachlan's needs. I decided at the end of last year to try another school after feeling like last year had just been one long battle (fingers crossed!) Lachlan's reading is amazing (he loves Roald Dahl), he speaks well (sometimes very loudly) and I find him to be a total joy most of the time. I feel there is something very special there, something more than his innocence or wicked little sense of humour, he accepts everyone, is extremely honest and cares very much about his family. Our only real issue is social I guess. Lachlan thinks nothing of going next door and just walking in or once when we were at the local pool he spied a little Somalian girl and was fascinated by her dark skin and wiry hair which he patted and said was beautiful. He touches everything and everyone he takes an interest in, which can be quite embarrassing and can get a bit overwhelmed in loud or busy places which results in hyperactivity. He can usually verbalise to us if he's feeling overwhelmed though.

I'd love to know where families are now who have a similar story. We worry about Lachlan's future and hope that maturity will help with the few issues that he has. I'd also like to hear of things that helped or maybe didn't.

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Karin - posted on 01/25/2010

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I believe i have a success story in the making.
My daughter has AS. When I first found help she was 4 years old functioning in many areas as low as an 18 month old. She was unable to communicate with others but could put on a whole show with her dolls. Speaking perfectly, later I found out that she was just mimicing conversations she had heard. I went to our local CP center where I found listening therapy.This was my miracle. She improved leaps and bounds to the point that the school was amazed at her improved focus. This therapy was mainly instrumental in helping with her processing ability and the occupational therapy helped with her heightened reaction to any sensory input. When she was young I couldnt vaccum with her in the house.
When she went to school she was in a kindergarten class that had a therapist and special education teacher helping. She has gone through speech and language therapy through the school system and has received much help there (although there was a lot of squeaky wheels to get it).
Samantha is now 13 years old and in the 7th grade. She is a straight A student with a healthy social life. She likes to spend more time alone than most teens but does enjoy sleepovers, movies and the mall with her friends. I believe that she will go to college and excel in life! Her ambition, currently, is to be school counselor/therapist so she can help other kids succeed in school as she has.

Kristine - posted on 01/23/2010

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Hi Chris,

My son is almost 24. He was never officially diagnosed with Aspergers, but I have no doubts about it. He showed no real signs until he was about 5 years old. Just before school he had a dreadful case of the chicken pox, and I wonder if that is what set him off. he has a cousin who has been diagnosed with Aspergers, so it is in the genetic gene pool somewhere.However, we never heard of Aspergers until Josh was 17!



His early symptoms included sensory issues, eg. certain things he could not wear, because they hurt... cold water from the hose on a hot day , which the other kids loved, would make him cry because it hurt his skin, some things he simply could not/ would not touch without visible distress. In times of great excitement, there was the hand flapping, which we didn't manage to re-direct until he was nearly 9. Worst was the inability, even at 16, to make eye contact with people he'd known, and seen weekly at church, to hold a conversation with them was ... painful for him, and often left him distressed to the point of tears.



We never thought of something like autism, we just put it down to idiosyncracies, never connected the dots between his many and varied behaviours. Teachers would always say, 'Josh is just a different kid, but he's very bright, and he'll probably find his feet in high school where there will be more kids that share some of his interests" Only in second grade a teacher expressed concern about tantrums during transitioning from one activity to another. We both put it down to his being such a bright child that he had his own agenda, but she seemed to work this out and it was never mentioned again.

As he approached high school age, we knew something had to be done to increase his social skills. He did not want to see a 'therapist', so we sent him to a 'life coach' instead. She actually took him into shopping centres and they watched people interact. I don't know what all they spoke about, as he had requested it be between the two of them, and we supported that, but he did improve slowly but surely after about 6 weekly visits. I also got him to apply for a job at the supermarket. Mostly, I just wanted him to have the experience of filling out an application and going through an interview. As it happens, they gave him a job at the checkout, and he decided to take it. I explained it would be the best way to practice his newly learned social skills, and he agreed. I would watch him in the beginning, it seemed painful for him to chat with customers, the look on his face was priceless ( and oh, so hard for me to see), but it got easier for him over time. He has worked in the same store for nearly 6 years now. He proabably knows about 3 peoples names, after all that time. He simply doesn't interact unless he has to. But, when he does have to, he can interact appropriately, looks people in the eyes, and can even initiate conversations. He completed high school with good grades and went on to do a BA in humanities, now doing a post grad in ancient history. We have yet to determine how he can translate this into a proper income earning job! But any talk of changing to another subject wil bring tears, because ancient history is his passion.

When he was 18, after the life coaching sessions, I heard about Aspergers from a friend, who recognised the signs from another aquaintances Asperger child. I took Josh to the childrens hospital to be assessed. The doctor never spoke to me to query why I thought Josh had it, or what signs or symptoms he had displayed. He only spoke to Josh for about ten minutes on his own. he then brought me in with them, and explained that he felt Josh wa sjust extremely shy, but otherwise a normal kid. It couldn't be Aspergers, the doctor said, becaus ehe can look me in the eye when we converse. Well, no one had ever called Josh just a normal kid... How could I take that away from him. I determined to call the doctor the next week and get im to listen to my side of the story, without Josh having to hear why I didn't think he was just a normal, average kid. Unfortunately, that next week, my marriage of 20 years took a turn for the worst, and by the time the dust settled, I was an emotional wreck. But I did speak to Josh about my concerns. He felt that since, by that time, there would be nothing gained except a diagnosis, or label, he felt it wasn't worth the time or money to go through the process.



I, however, wish we had. I did go and get myself a job working with autistic children, so I could learn more about it. I couldn't force Josh to do anything more, but I could educate myself better to know how to respond to his needs. And, I've slowly educated his resistant father to understand and sometimes accept that maybe i'm right about it. It is a lifelong journey. Luckily, by good luck more than good management, most of the things we did for him as he was growing up seem to have been the right things, even though we didn't know what it was that made him different. He will be fine. He has a good work ethic, he still finds it very difficult to relate to people, yet he is empathic, and sometimes overly sensitive to others feelings. He has some real OCD tendencies, but he recognises his differences, and occassionally he will push himself out of his comfort zone on purpose.

So, yes, he is a success story! and the story is still being written, but I know it will be a good ending.

I'm sure your son's story will be just as thrilling!

Tracy - posted on 04/14/2014

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I hope you will read this because I'm very proud of how my 18 year old son (with Asperger's ) is developing and growing. He is now driving to school, a community college taking classes in Digital Design (Art and Computers) his strong interests. I have high hopes for him and his future. While he is not like many people his own age, he does things in his own way. We (his parents) have learned not to put limitations on him and accept him for the way he is. Our only rule for him is to keep moving ahead. I really just want my son to be content with his life, and he seems to be. I won't lie and say it was easy to get him to this point. Primary, middle and high school was a struggle for him and us. It was a constant fight since people don't understand how Children with autism learn. Secondary school and the support needed to make this transitions are not available in most places, so I just read and read everything I could get my hands on to teach me ways to help my son. Learning to drive was a big step for him and getting his first job. He really only drives to school and home with the use of the GPS. His one job was too stressful for him, but applying and working for three months at a retail store was a great learning experience. Our son is still very depended on us, but we work very hard to make him feel that he is independent. Our home has become the safe place for him. I feel that it is because of this that our son is willing to take chances and keep pushing the limits. I would have never thought that that angry shut down 12 year old boy who would refuse to go to school would turn in to this very competent young man he is today. He is still growing and learning skills, but We know that he will be able to support himself and live the life he wants in the future.

Catherine - posted on 11/04/2014

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Oh Tracey, I am soooo thankful for your post and thrilled for you and your son. I am that mother of a 12 year old angry boy. We are in the middle of finally getting diagnosis type stuff happening. I work as an adult mental health nurse in the UK and have known for ages there was something different with my son. I was questioning adhd due to his distractedness at times however he can very much hyperfocus on specific things. Within the first 1/2 hour of meeting him the Childrens mh nurse spotted traits of aspergers. What a relief!

Lori - posted on 01/28/2010

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We're still a sucess story in the making. Jackson, our 9 year old, was diagnosed as an Aspergian at the age of three. Life until he was five was extrememly difficult due to meltdowns and having to stick to an extremely strict schedule even in the summer months. Before he could read we had a weekly "picture schedule" on his wall of what he could expect from each day. Heaven help me if I wanted to go grocery shopping on Thursday instaed of Tuesday! After the age of five his brain seemed to catch up with his body somehow and his development since then has been slow but steady. Jack still suffers from gross motor deficiencies (he has hypertonia in his lower limbs) but his fine motor skills have greatly improved and his hand eye coordination is amazing.

Unlike most parents here (it seems) we did choose to put Jack on ADHD meds when he was in kindergarten. I do credit that decision in part with his success in school. The way we've explained it to him is that the medication doesn't control his brain but it slows his brain down so that he can think through things and make good decisions. It works for him and if I forget sometimes in the morning to give him his meds he will ask for them because he prefers the way they make him feel; in control rather than out of control of his actions.

Many of you may be familiar with a website that I stumbled on a couple of years ago called www.wrongplanet.org . It was started by a young man who is an Aspergian and the site is for aspergians and their families. It has been a great way to be able to glimpse the world through the eyes of young adults who have aspergers. I feel like I am given inside info into what Jack may be feeling but is unable to express to me. TO me it is so positive and encouraging to "hear" these people talk about their lives both the difficulties and the triumphs. Check it out if you get a chance.

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Ryan - posted on 05/14/2017

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I have an ASD success story and it's coming not from a parent but from the child himself. I'm Ryan Smith, I was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 8 (among 6 other mental conditions). Up until past the age of 20, life was difficult. I was picked on in school, isolated from the student body during 7th grade, and throughout my life, I suffered from crippling anxiety and paranoia.

During my late teens and early 20s, I nearly went insane. Paranoia and anxiety led to panic attacks and sometimes violence in my family. I had no friends (save for the ones I had online). I lived at home (virtually every day of the year) and had a very limited social life.

One thing that helped me get through all this madness was watching Youtube videos of people playing my favorite games. One year, a guy named Markiplier posted a video mourning the loss of his dear friend, who also happened to be a Youtuber. At the time, I had hit rock bottom myself and seeing a message like this only seemed to rub a special kind of stinging salt into the wounds I had at the time.

Out of nowhere, an idea came to mind. The world seems to be in this pit of gloom, ennui, and utter despair with no apparent solution. I made up my mind, I would never succumb to the negative influences around and even inside me, and that gave me the idea and inspiration to start a Youtube channel of my own called Sibernethy. The channel itself is a stance against the crushing despair, felt by the world, slowly creeping into our daily lives. The jester was the ideal persona for me to adapt, and a great way to explain what the content I made on the channel was meant for. I began my channel the way it is now back in September 2015.

Today, I'm nearing 1000 subscribers and not only have I conquered a lot of inhibitions, but so have my fans who enjoy watching my videos. One of my closest friends told me that I helped him graduate high school and restore his family relations through my videos and the private 1-on-1 talks we've had before.

Soon, I want to start campaigning for mental wellness, and coming from someone whose psychiatric records are as colorful as a mardi gras parade, I want to touch as many people with the kind of joy, fun, mirth, and lighthearted spirit that was missing in my childhood as I can. For the first time, I now see a bright and glorious future, for myself, and for many others as well!

-- Ryan Smith (aka Sibernethy)

Hillegass21502 - posted on 03/09/2017

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My son is 36 years old...he has autism. Yesterday he informed me by phone he was going to Florida by himself for vacation. It makes me nervous, but the lad has been doing well for himself. He graduated high school...landed a good paying job..got his divers license, bought a car..established enough credit to purchase a condo..and now a trip to Florida all by the age of 36.
I remember sitting across the table at his IHP at the high school and listening to all their negative crap.
I asked him what he wanted..he said a chance to be normal..and by god, they were going to give him that chance...
I never treated him different, never said he couldnt..never hoovered over him..I let him have his frustrations when he got out of hand..he got the same punishment as the other boys...never babied him...he has been through disappointments, discouragements and victories like everyone else.. my gift to him was to let him "LIVE"...and his gift to me was "LIVING"....anyway he choose too.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/30/2014

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can U please share some imputs about ur son, My daughter who is 12yrs old who has very mild Pdd - nos studying excellent in all the subjects but strugle for speech and lack in communciation

regards
Elizabeth

Tracy - posted on 04/14/2014

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It was so hard to get any answers about our children back then, and there were few or any services so it is really nice to hear about your son's success.

Bonnie Jean - posted on 01/28/2010

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Yes, I do!

I have four children two which are young adults with Aspergers. Diagnosed when they were 6 and 8 yrs old. I had been diagnosed with cervical cancer three years ago.

My oldest son is in three bands, he learned to play, read music and write songs over the course of one week end , when he turned 17 yrs old, truly an amazing individual as all children are....:-)

He is engaged to be married in four years, he and his lady planned it. Her family loves him. When my daughter became pregnant with my first grandchild he took an early childhood class so he could help with his newborn niece. He is of course her favorite Uncle.

My other son is into movies....making them.

Barbara - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hi, I have 2 success stories. My younger brother and son have Aspergers - my brother wasn't diagnosed until he was 25 and my son was diagnosed aged 6. My son is now 16 and in his last year at school. He has just received confirmation of his college place for September and is currently doing a BTEC in Drama at our local theatre as well as his regular exams at school. He has a good couple of friends who are also going to the same college and has a growing number of friends on Facebook - now that's something I never thought I'd see! He is a happy, well-adjusted young man and is looking forward to expanding his horizons. What makes this even more remarkable is that we lost my dad after an accident 16 months ago, less than 3 weeks after his 15th birthday. My son was tremendously close to his grandad ( he's the only grandchild) and we were absolutely devastated by this. My son was determined to stand up and do his own reading at the funeral. We have all become much closer since then and my brother (who lives with my mum) has stepped into my dad's shoes. My mum is registered blind and has had 2 cataract operations to try and improve her sight. He has taken over all the shopping, he has taken my mum on day trips (planned with great efficiency of course!) and has really stepped into the breach. Me and my older brother have helped deal with the more practical side of things, but John has been absolutely indispensible. I would like to say how much I appreciate him taking so much on when he has found things so difficult before. Rest assured, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Take care, Barbara

Sharon - posted on 01/27/2010

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Hi. My son has just turned 19 and just passed Matric last year and is now studying for a degree in Psychology. He was diagnosed with Aspergers (ASD) when he was 16 years old. I had not wanted to see any problems he may of had before that as I was not willing to accept that he may be different. My son himself asked for help and after tests etc he was diagnosed. He then went to a special needs school after been in main stream school all his life where he was extremely unhappy. He Matriculated last year and when I fetched his results sheet on the 7 January 2010 the principal told me that my son was one of their success stories. He has his moments and can withdraw at times from us but on a whole he has come a long way and we just take it one day at a time. He is now in his second year at University and consistently obtained distinctions in Psychology last year. Sharon

Ginger - posted on 01/26/2010

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I am the grandmother an autistic (PDD) eight year old boy. He was diagnosised when he was 30 months old. Prior to being diagnosised his mother (my daughter) was led to a school that helped children of all disabilities. To make a long story short, in kindergarten the school tested him and he was reading at an almost 2nd grade level. That summer, I started him with basic math (adding). Once he mastered that we started working on subtraction. Academically he's ahead of his peers. Yes, he does have some behavioral problems ( he wants to win in any game and we are working on being a good player rather than a sore loser). I am so thankful to the staff of that school and they lifesaver in my eyes. I worry about my grandson's future too, but I can't help to think that he will be the delightful individual that I see in him, but of course I'm biased.

Chrissy - posted on 01/26/2010

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My oldest will be 12 this year and he is amazing. He's in 6th grade and has always been on grade level even though he struggles with math. He's wildly creative and draws and creates constantly. He made up his own show which I help him film and edit. He has a couple of cousins also on the spectrum as well as my brother and I who are undiagnosed but have autistic tendancies (which became obvious to me when Jarrett was diagnosed). Everyone in our family cheers him on and eagerly anticipates the next installement of Joey the Pirate Monkey.

Kathy - posted on 01/25/2010

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Hi Chris,
I have a success story re: my 20 year old daughter. She has a dual diagnosis of mild Autism and Severe MR. She is absolutely Wonderful! We went through the early stages of the brushing technique for a calming to the wonderful pecs program. We did it all and she is doing exceptionately well. She has friends and is doing all her chores, she participates with Special olympics and is an active part of our church and community. It can happen. ;)

Kay - posted on 01/24/2010

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I have a success story of iPhone app. I has been about a month since I bought the iPhone app Voice4u. It's amazing how much my son's speech has improved in such a short amount of time! He can't go to school without it! Up until now, it was impossible for my son to sit still for even a minute with his speech therapist, but things are different now because of Voice4u. He is now able to sit and talk with his therapist for 20 minutes...20 minutes!

My son seems to really enjoy the vivid pictures. However, there is one task that I wish Voice4u was capable of doing; creating a speech log. When I am asked at school how much time he used Voice4u, I am unable to give an exact answer. This is my one (and only) complaint regarding this amazing product. http://voice4uaac.com/

Chris - posted on 01/23/2010

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Are you doing social scripts and picture charts Anne? Children are always accepting. I remember one little boy telling me he thought Lachlan was really cool. I was so pleased and I thought it was because he didn't follow other kids, wasn't bossy and could talk about nanotechnology but it was actually because he wee'd on the oval at school... sigh.

Don't worry about other parents and their small mindedness and lack of tolerance. We know we have been entrusted with a very special task and we will be better people (although exhausted) because of it.

Anne - posted on 01/23/2010

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Hi have just read some of success stories they are great and make me realise that there may be light for my son he is 5 and has severe social problems, so far we are struggling to get things to help him and school is getting to be difficult it is other parents who seem to be the problem not the other children thanks to the mum who wrote there success they really help

Chris - posted on 01/23/2010

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I remember once commenting to my mum that I worry about Lachlan not having enough friends/relationships etc and she said to me that what makes me happy, may not make Lachlan happy. Some of us don't want too many friends, to be social or even to get married and have children. I was caught up in what was considered "normal" just because it was what the majority of us do. I made a decision then to allow Lachlan to find for himself what makes him happy, I can only guide and advise him on the many options but I certainly don't have the secret. I really hope your son makes it to Japan Melanie, that he becomes a huge success and is very happy.
Thanks for your story too Sheila, these success stories are wonderful!!!

Melanie - posted on 01/23/2010

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Chris-
I agree with you that we need to hear success stories of children who have become exceptional adults that have AS. Even though we look at our child and see this fantastic person it's hard when you watch other children who interact with you child every day not see the same thing. Our son is 14 in 8th grade and going to be a freshman next year. I am a nervous wreck about this! My husband and I want his high school experience to be as pleasant as possible so that once he gets into the "real" world he is able to cope with everyday life. But we too worry about what happens when he is no longer under our roof and our watchful eye. He has dreams of becoming an artist and moving to Japan to persue his dream in annimation. But will he be able to handle his finances, pay his rent, bills, not let people take advantage of him. Will he have a girlfriend, wife or child. When he gets his driver's license next year- what happens is he is in an accident and the police don't understand his odd behavour that may occur when he get's nervous. Our desire to see him be social and our understanding of his reasoning not to be is really a struggle for his dad and I.
Thank you Kristine for your story. It does give us hope!

User - posted on 01/23/2010

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Hi Chris,

My sister's nephew is about to graduate high school. He has a black belt in ??, competes, and has a good social network that was developed through his dojo.

I see him at gatherings (he is my brother-in-law's brother's son....get that LOL??) so, although I don't know all the ins and outs, he was diagnosed at five (or so) when his K teacher had a sit down with the parents to say there is something more going on here than a quiet boy. His mom credits her with his success....13 years ago, we didn't know half as much as we do now...so, his teacher was going on her experience with 15 years of teaching behind her.

Anyways, his mom and dad sent him to a private school in our area starting in grade four...after a few years, they were going to have to pull him because of the $$$. The operators of the school decided to waive tuition...gave him a full scholarship because they saw his progress and didn't want to lose him. Of course, this mom is this school's greatest pr person going!!

He returned to regular high school, mainstream, grade 11 and maintained honour roll standing.

Like I said, just graduating...but WOW!

Success? You better believe it and I know there are a lot more out there!

Sheila

Chris - posted on 01/23/2010

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What a beautiful story Kristine, thank you for sharing it! Your son sounds very loved and supported. I'm sorry about your marriage. I have met so many amazing women on my journey, and it looks like I've just met another one.

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