This ‘difference also brings with it a lack of understanding of the social skills most people take for granted.
Those with Aspergers find relationships difficult to understand and miss the ‘unspoken cues that help people develop the depth of emotions and strong interpersonal relationships. Through social interaction we learn to experience love, patience, compassion and understanding as well as all the emotions that make up the fabric of who we are. For those with Aspergers, these often dont come naturally and have to be learned, usually only through modelling others behaviours. How to act in certain situations or how to self monitor stress or confusion can be challenging because in their world they do not need social acceptance, and so do not understand others reactions. Hence they dont naturally understand what acceptable behaviour is and what it is not. If it doesnt feel OK, then they will react in what ever way they feel the need to in order to cope with the stress of the situation at hand.
Being able to deal effectively with the many challenging and confusing aspects of Davids diagnosis meant we, as his parents, had to be in tune with what his needs were. We needed to be constantly aware of how we interacted, not only with David but also with each other, our daughters and people we associated with on a daily basis.
It was our role to become the people we wanted David to be.
We needed to ensure our emotions were clear and real so David could learn to understand his own emotions. To exhibit unconditional love, understanding, patience and compassion, so he could ‘feel what they were and understand them in his life.
We had to be clear in our communication, use language that was positive and succinct and be very, very sure what we said was exactly what we both wanted and intended.
It has been an amazing journey.
When Aspergers Syndrome first came into our lives it presented to us a challenge which, at the time, seemed sad, unfair and overwhelming. It is only now I can see it was in fact an incredible gift. Because, you see, the things we most needed to teach David were the things we most needed to learn ourselves.
It was the gift David gave to us. A gift for which we will forever be grateful.