Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Living With Asperger's

Lately, the topic of what it's like for me to live with someone with Asperger's has come up a lot. Hunky's been hounding me since June to visit with his psychotherapist, so I could give him the low down on what it's like for me to live with someone with Asperger's. And, since I no longer have the "can't, I have to work" excuse, I went in last Thursday.

I really did not want to do this. I think I felt it would be like telling tales out of school. However, after a few minutes of reservations, hunky's psychotherapist got me to spill the beans. I spilled for so long, I took up the whole hour.

That's a lot of spilling. And I didn't even tell everything I wanted to.

Then, through several associations of his own, hunky was invited to be a, as he puts it, "talking zoo exhibit" this weekend down in Carnelian Bay. A therapist there that works with kids with Asperger's had a parent-child event at a local mini-golf place and thought it would be good for the parents to talk to Todd to find out how he coped with Asperger's growing up, and how it affects him now as an adult.

I went with him.

It was quite interesting. The parents and therapist couldn't have been nicer. They asked Todd intelligent questions. He was able to respond in such a way that I believe each parent went away feeling as if their kids were going to end up just fine (but not without struggles).

A few of the women had questions for me as well. Some having to do with our relationship longevity, and others about what it's like for me to live with an adult that has Asperger's.

The therapist treated us to lunch with the group. One kid, who for some odd reason I felt endeared to, actually approached Todd and asked him a few questions, too. When we finally left (we were the absolute last ones to leave, because so many people had questions for Todd), I could tell Todd, though tired, felt good about the whole exchange.

We talked about it in the car while riding back home. See, when Todd was a kid, Asperger's was so new on the spectrum that it wasn't ever considered by any of his doctors or therapists. It really is a fairly new diagnosis, so Todd had to deal with misdiagnosis year after year after year. One plus the parents we met have is that they have the (hopefully) right diagnosis, so now they can get their kids on the appropriate therapeutic tracks.

Todd felt that the parents were all positive, something he hasn't come across in many of the Asperger's groups he belongs to. Of course, we both noted that these particular parents were all fairly wealthy, so money probably plays a part in their hopefulness (i.e., they can afford to get their children into the types of schools they need and can get them the therapeutic help they need).

The day was a loooooooooong one, but I felt very a very rewarding one for Todd. He felt useful and helpful, and I think it put him one more step forward in the advocacy work he's been doing for Asperger's.

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