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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.

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EmpowHER Guest

Thank you so much for your hard work. I've recently realized how my major depression and issues with relationships (romantic and otherwise) tie in to my childhood; my father has Asperger's and my mother is a neurotypical.

Looking forward to checking out your links. :) Cheers!

March 4, 2016 - 10:55am
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

Seeing the connection between present problems and things from your past can make a big difference for the future. Good luck with your sorting, sifting, and exploring.

One of our readers had a problem with one of my links, the type of site was not what I had thought it was, and I removed it.

As far as I know, the rest of the links should be good, may be helpful. I can't guarantee it, though, so tread wisely.

Thanks for writing.

March 4, 2016 - 6:09pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for doing this research and bringing relief to those who have needed it all these years. I'm interested to see what new research emerges in the next 10-20 years on the topic. And whatever support groups open up locally I will support and join. I value hearing the stories and reading the qualitative studies because it reminds me that I have overcome so many years of neglect and mental abuse.

December 31, 2015 - 1:39pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

I'm glad to hear that you found the article to be beneficial. Much healing to you.

December 31, 2015 - 3:48pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am so furious right now. I went to one of the links you gave https://aspar.wordpress.com/response-to-critics and looked at their page. They have a group you can join for private support if you fill out a very personal and private questionnaire. I did this. Now I find out the group with that name which was a yahoo group is closed. Someone has started a group with that name. So now I've given a stranger my extremely personal information.

Completely irresponsible. They could have taken that page down instead of just leaving it there. I am livid. I wish I knew how to contact them. Please people, if you go to that link, READ ONLY. Do NOT try to join.

October 26, 2015 - 10:13pm
HERWriter (reply to Anonymous)

I am so sorry you found yourself in that position after following a link I gave you. I didn't do the questionnaire, would never have thought that something like that could happen.

I will delete the link from my list of resources at the end of the article. 

Thanks for letting us know what happened to you.

October 27, 2015 - 6:45am
HERWriter (reply to Jody Smith)

I've deleted that link. Thanks again for letting us know.

October 27, 2015 - 6:47am

Sorry you were so heavily attacked for your first article, but it comes with the territory. I've just been through a year of therapy with my father with limited success, but I've learned some interesting things. He thinks of himself as loving, but that love is not communicated with what the therapist calls "mirroring". To say that Aspies lack empathy can be misconstrued as saying that they are cruel, but in the psychological context is simply means that they don't read the emotions of others and therefore do not communicate in the realm of feelings. My father thought that because he felt love it was obvious. The flip side of not being able to put himself in the shoes of another person is that he thinks that his perspective is the same as everyone else's. My father's disconnects had to be carefully and gently explained to him. Getting him to understand that other people experience his actions differently than he intends was a struggle. Like other Aspies described in the comments of your other article, he is extremely defensive and never wrong. I suspect that many of those angry Aspie responses stating that there are good Aspie parents out there do "protest too much", because they are afraid to face their own shortcomings. Many of them probably think they are good parents because they know that they mean well and are unable to see their own failings. With coaching my father has improved his behavior and is less frequently inadvertently rude, but it is like he has memorized something out of a book that he doesn't really understand. He can imitate normal behavior but it is just a mask. His inability to fully "grok" another person hasn't changed. I'm sure that most Aspie parents are good people with good intentions, but unless the other parent is NT and can compensate well for the Aspie's shortcomings, the kids are going to be confused at the very least, and possibly severely damaged depending on other factors in their childhoods.

Children of Aspergers parents my find more value in looking up "Developmental Trauma Disorder" than in looking for specific help about Asperger's parents. The specifics around why you were not seen, supported and protected as a child is less important than the resulting trauma and the treatment.

October 23, 2015 - 9:17am
(reply to gzip)

Gzip, everything you stated is dead on! My ex-husband is an Aspie and is in complete denial that he is such. My 7 year old son has been diagnosed as having mild autism and his father refuses to accept that. In fact, he goes above and beyond to prove it wrong which only hurts my son. He is denying him of any therapy where he could learn coping mechanisms and help in any other areas that he is affected. We have joint custody so both have to agree on treatment, etc. for him. With him being in denial it leaves me unable to get the help that my son would greatly benefit from. Does anyone have any case studies or answers to help me in addressing the court to see that the father is only hindering the development of the son in his own arrogance of "not wanting to label him"?

March 28, 2016 - 8:12am
HERWriter (reply to gzip)

Hi gzip,

Sounds like you have learned quite a bit in your year of therapy thus far. I agree that it is probably more important for NT kids to put their own trauma and experience first, learning how to heal and to have healthier relationships with others and with themselves. 

I'm hoping some of the resources I listed might offer some of that to NT kids who are trying to make their way to a happier present and future.

I haven't seen the word "grok" for many years. Thanks for that unexpected pleasure.:)

I got a notification that you posted on my 2009 article, but for some reason I can't seem to find your comment. I will keep looking. If you don't see a response from me later, you'll know it's because I couldn't find your comment.:)

October 23, 2015 - 10:10am
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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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