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NT Children of Parents with Aspergers: Looking for Information?

By HERWriter
 
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NT Children of Parents with Aspergers: Some Information for You LoloStock/Fotolia

Six years ago, I wrote an article for neurotypical children of parents with Asperger's syndrome. I wrote that some NT offspring of AS parents have grown up feeling unloved, that their parents were not able to tune in to their needs and their feelings.

As children, they blamed themselves for a disconnect between them and their parents. Often as adults they have continued to suffer from the lack they experienced in childhood.

The response from neurotypical kids to that article "Asperger's Parents and Neurotypical Children"was substantial, and still ongoing, six years later. So much so that I am writing on the subject again.

I received 154 comments and replies. Some were posted as recently as last month. Some readers used the Comments thread at the end of the article for a time as though it were a forum where they could talk to each other about their experiences.

When I started researching for today's article as a follow-up to my first one six years ago, my online research was interesting. That is to say, disappointing. Again.

Material about these NT children was surprisingly sparse six years ago. It's still challenging to find anything written from their perspective, or about their experience.

One differences I noticed was that my original article from 2009 was showing up as the first item in my Google search. And in second place came an Aspergers forum page that ripped my first article and my intentions apart.

Some comments by people with Asperger's syndrome responding to my first article were in much the same vein.They told me that I was attacking them all, which was not true.

They said that lots of Aspies were good parents, that they themselves were good parents. That plenty of NT people are bad parents, too. All of that is undeniably true.

But really, that's not my focus. This has happened too many times to these kids.

So often, they find their feelings and their needs pushed aside.

Add a Comment60 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

It's been a long road since I learned that my mother is on the spectrum. I am a neurotypical, but my sibling also has a disability. I have entered the special education field with compassion and patience, but also still have bouts of depression from my upbringing from time to time. I'm always trying to move forward and not look back, though there's no denying it has shaped who I am. If anyone ever has any questions feel free to email me.

December 21, 2017 - 10:25am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

It's brand new to me to think my mother might have had Asberger's. Some things fit, and some I'm not so sure about.

I also have CFIDS/ME.

Anne

January 4, 2018 - 8:52am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Good for you! Helping others as you continue with your own healing and personal growth. Be kind to yourself as well.

Jody

December 22, 2017 - 8:37am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I am an NT child whose father was diagnosed with Aspergers many, many years ago, and who then kept it a secret from us all until his dementia meant that my stepmother had to manage his medical situation - and was given access to his medical files. For me it was a huge shock, and a huge relief, to hear the diagnosis (in my 50s). Suddenly I realised, and genuinely understood, that 'it' wasn't my fault. All the times I'd failed him, hadn't lived up to his expectations, hadn't lived my life according to his rules, had listened to music he disapproved of, had married a man he didn't approve of (twice), had got a degree in a subject he thought a waste of time, and many many more things, triggered reactions that were actually NOT ABOUT ME!

Suddenly I understood SO much about my childhood and interactions with him up to that point. He was a satisfactory parent insofar as he gave me boundaries, held down a job to pay for a roof over my head, food, clothes etc. He gave me the opportunity to get a good education. However, he never loved me (and he told me so), he never thought I was a worthwhile human being. He never hugged me, ortold me I'd done something well (he often told me I'd done something less than well). He hasn't spoken to me for many years now, and I live on the other side of the world. I support my long-suffering step-mother who has the unenviable task of looking after him, and one day I'll go home for his funeral - for her sake. Eventually, after much counselling, I found peace for myself and, with the knowledge of his diagnosis, I have understanding. However, I would never wish a man like my father on anyone. It has been a long and miserable journey.

December 11, 2017 - 5:39pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hey. We have very similar stories. Did you find a counselor who had specific experience with our situation? I'm not sure how to find a therapist who will understand this.

February 12, 2018 - 12:58pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

It sounds like it has been a tough journey. And never being told he loves you -- and in fact being informed that he never did love you -- must have been gutting for you. You have my deepest sympathy for what you went through.

Healing could begin once you learned the truth about him and his treatment of you. And being on the other side of the world doesn't hurt either. I hope you are able to experience love and peace now and in the future.

December 12, 2017 - 6:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I’m a young woman with ASD… and I hope to one day have a child of my own once I’m out of college… and I worry I’ll have a neurotypical child, and won’t be able to raise them well… with a neurotypical mom and dad, i room it upon myself to figure out where everything went wrong, and paid attention to the things that upset me that my parents have done… but I don’t know how I’d raise a neurotypical child. Any neurotypical offspring of autistic parents have any idea what your parents did or didn’t do? Like… what it was that you wish they had done to raise you better. Now, I’m not saying you were raised wrong, or that your parents are bad parents. My parents weren’t that’s for sure; they just didn’t know how to handle me because I was both the first born and different. But there were some things that, having neurotypical parents helped me prepare for an eventual autistic child… but I don’t know what to do with a neurotypical child. If someone can inform me of this, and explain what’s best to do for a neurotypical child, I’d really appreciate it!

October 5, 2017 - 3:59pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I was raised by a NT parent and an ASD parent. I remember my childhood being fairly normal until I was 12 and my NT parent unexpectedly died. Things fell apart from there, and I am just now as an adult realizing my father was an ASD parent through therapy for panic attacks and sexual abuse in my teen years (not by my ASD parent, just unnoticed by my ASD parent). To my knowledge, at 69 years old, he is unaware of what makes him different.

My advice is if you have children, do not isolate them from others. Make sure there is a large familial support system of NT family members who can identify and address a NT child's social and psychological needs. If you do not have that support system, do not have children. If you do, I think it is okay to have children, but make sure your partner or a relative is the primary caregiver for the child. Also make sure whoever is the primary care giver has a support system.

Isolation was the most difficult part of being an NT child... I do not really have a relationship with my ASD parent anymore... and I am not sure he knows that. That hurts more than the isolation.

June 6, 2019 - 1:54pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anonymous.

Thank you for sharing and speaking from your own personal experience. You have learned a great deal from the relationship with your dad. I hope what you've shared can make a difference for other people struggling with similar types of challenges.

Jody

June 8, 2019 - 7:31pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello, Anon!

Thank you for sharing your story, it will help others.
I agree with you about not having children unless there is a support system in place. Good advice.

best,

Helena

June 7, 2019 - 3:12pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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