“It’s therefore imperative that parents become highly educated about the experiences of the Asperger’s/HFA teen, so that they can be highly intuitive about their teen’s changing needs, and know ahead of time how they can support and help these young people face their challenges.” – Anna Kaminsky, Ph.D.
As “mild” as the doctors may perceive the Asperger’s syndrome, a teenager who gets diagnosed with it may find accepting the condition as difficult as taking cancer news lightly. High-functioning or not, after all, it remains within the autism spectrum disorder. The illusion of being an average kid shatters in an instant, and he or she has to live with the fact that no amount of treatment can cure this neurological illness.
According to Ami Klin, Ph.D., “Chronically frustrated by their repeated failures to engage others and make friendships, some of these individuals develop symptoms of depression that may require treatment, including medication.”
Nonetheless, Asperger’s is among those diseases that anyone would rather have than another form of autism. You may not know how to empathize with people, yet you can keep up with the lessons taught at the regular school. The fine line between sarcasm and a real joke may be blurry for you, but you are excellent at following instructions. These are things that may be impossible to accomplish for people who are on the other side of the spectrum. Thus, you are still somewhat lucky if a specialist merely diagnoses you with Asperger’s syndrome.
Considering such words do very little to assure you that “mild” autism news is not something to lose your head for, here are a few tips to keep yourself stress-free now.
Don’t Worry About Your Image At School
One aspect that teens who have to live with Asperger’s syndrome often get anxious about is what the students on the campus will think when the word gets out about the diagnosis. “Nobody will want to be my friend” or “This or that kid will become more popular than me” – these are the typical complaints that parents may hear. However, the truth is that your image in middle or high school won’t have much value years later; that’s why any good or bad outcome of divulging your condition to others should not bother you.
Try Not To Focus On Your New Limitations
In case your Asperger’s stops you from participating in an academic or athletic activity, it is practical not to feel too sad about it. There may be more things that you cannot do because of the disorder, and being a crybaby due to it won’t change your fate. Instead of grumbling regarding your new limitations, therefore, you should find your other strengths and focus on them.
Listen To Your Therapist
Since medications can not cure any form of autism, it is advisable to speak to a psychotherapist to at least be able to cope with your illness faster and more effectively. The mental health professional, after all, is aware of the techniques that may help you manage your symptoms. If you listen to the therapist’s suggestions well, living as normally as possible even with this disorder may not be unimaginable. This is important because as stressed by Catherine Davies, LMHC, “Although your son or daughter may not be ready for these changes emotionally, they need to be prepared for them, as they are going to happen whether they are ready or not.”
Accept That Not Everyone Will Understand You
Without sounding too negative, it goes without exaggeration that not every individual who learns about your Asperger’s will be sympathetic to you. Some may raise their brows; others may typecast you as a lunatic that should not hang out with anyone. Nevertheless, it will be best to turn your attention towards the people – family, friends, and teachers – who know better than to define you by your condition.
If several specialists confirm that you belong to the autism spectrum, there is honestly no way for you to get out of it. Acting up after the diagnosis won’t help; it may worsen your situation as you might choose to live with a heart full of hatred and angst at this point. Hence, it is ideal to follow the tips mentioned above to make your teenage years stress-free even with Asperger’s syndrome.
“Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorder is not a brief process. There is no single medical test that can diagnose it definitively; instead, in order to accurately pinpoint your child’s problem, multiple evaluations and tests may be necessary.” – Ted Hutman, Licensed Clinical Psychologist.