I have a daughter with Aspergers.  She doesn’t know that she has it and if we try to speak to her about it she will not accept it.   I read your article Don’t Miss Diagnosing Aspergers in Young Girls and my daughter also can’t seem to wash her hair properly, nor comb it . . . ever.

She is 14 and doesn’t have friends.  She says that she does, but they are all online friends who have never met her in person.  It is hard to find help for her since she thinks that there is absolutely nothing wrong.

She is not a good student, the only class she does well in is Language Arts. She is disorganized and will just lie on her back with her computer on her lap all day long if I don’t force her to do something else.  She can’t manage time.

What I am trying so desperately to figure out is what kind of help works?  What type of therapist works?  Especially for someone who thinks that they don’t need any help? We live in Raleigh, NC.  I don’t know where to go or what to do.

9 replies
  1. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    She needs responsibilities. She doesn’t care about her school work and she does not have friends at school, so it seems to me that that’s a total waste of time for her. If you took her out of school and gave her a list of stuff she has to get done before she plays on the computer, she’d get the list done.

    The problem is that she has no responsibilities so she doesn’t have any list that would make sense.

    Some things that come to mind:

    1. Studying for the GED so she can graduate high school. Find a way to divide up what she has to learn into daily tasks. Don’t make it time-based. Make it task based.

    2. She should clean the house. Give her one simple thing to clean each day. Like, dining room table, or kitchen sink. She can’t do something like “clean your bedroom” because it’s not a defined task.

    3. Walk around the block. She can tell you it’s stupid and useless and you’ll say you don’t care, she has to do it anyway.

    There should be punishment for her speaking rudely to you. She can do something she doesn’t like and not share her feelings with you about it.

    You should get her into a group therapy situation for kids with Aspergers. You don’t say it’s for Aspergers. you can tell her she has to practice talking to people in person or she will starve when she turns 18 because you are not letting her stay in the house playing video games.

    I hope this helps. She is a practical person. If there are rules she can follow, she will follow them.

    If all this sounds too hard for you, you should hire a consultant for an hour to teach you how to help your daughter. There is plenty you can do.

    Good luck!

    Penelope

  2. CS
    CS says:

    Since you are in the Raleigh, NC area, you might consider researching Success4School.com — they have both individual coaching and a day academy. Working with them has allowed me to move the coaching aspect off my plate so I can focus on being Mom for our daughter.

  3. jessica
    jessica says:

    What strikes me is that this is written as if the parent (I’m assuming the parent sent this email) has no idea who their daughter is and maybe some fresh bonding time will help alleviate the observational stresses. My suggestion is to take your daughter out to do some things she likes; sporting activities or events, shopping, go see a movie, hiking, fishing, local fashion events, local bands or touring music etc. Eventually something will pique her interest. Ask her about different recreational classes she might be interested in; cooking, fine arts/painting, horsebackriding, swimming and sign up. This way she has a commitment that she chose (the important bit), will possibly enjoy, and can be responsible for.

    Maybe sitting in front of the computer is a way for her to decompress after a long day at school ( a place in which nothing is interesting to her ).

  4. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    You can have her evaluated through the school. I did that for my child, but many people are wary of stigma so they see a private therapist. In my community the autism specialist for children is in the behavioral health department at the hospital. You can also ask your family doctor for guidance. Note that the evaluation requires at least as much from the parent as the child; you, too, will have forms and questionnaires and interviews. It’s pretty intense. But once you have a diagnosis, you qualify for all kinds of coaching.

    Here’s the thing. When she says nothing is wrong, she’s correct. Aspergers is not a disease. It’s not a disability. It’s just one way the brain works. Some aspects of this kind of brain make it hard to navigate American middle-class society, and so you and your child need to learn mitigation strategies. She probably needs coaching on social skills. As Penelope says, she may need to be pulled from school; she may need to walk a different path than you were expecting. But she’s not broken.

    Good luck to you both.

  5. Hazel
    Hazel says:

    I have to say, I am appalled at the tone of the original letter. Is there anything you actually like about your daughter, anything you see as good or worthwhile, or even just ok?

    I can’t imagine why she has no friends, sits on the computer all day, has no enthusiasm for school (or anything, apparently), and is exhibiting self-care issues, to boot?

    Is this autism, or is it depression? It is not at all difficult to understand why a child whose parents are so nasty, unempathetic, and hypercritical might be depressed. :P

    • Jasmine
      Jasmine says:

      Hazel that is the most disgusting comment anyone could ever make to a parent of a child struggling with aspergers!!! Of course she like her daughter…she loves her to the moon and back you idiot! Why the heck would she be on here seeking help if she didn’t!?! I have a 12 year old daughter that I am trying desperately to help in the same situation. The last thing we need is hurtful comments… you obviously have no idea how much it hurts to see our children go through this. You’re lucky I don’t know how to find you…you ought to be very ashamed of yourself.

    • Elise
      Elise says:

      Wow Hazel this is fast judging. The author of the letter just described matter-of-factly her concerns.
      Should she also mention that she loves her daughter or that the daughter also has positive characteristics just to preemptively answer random commenters that would doubt it?

  6. Jenna
    Jenna says:

    I think it’s somewhere in between Hazel’s comment and the fiery responses. It is good for a parent to make sure our children will be able to thrive in their community. However, this parent is trying to “fix” the daughter. It doesn’t really feel good to have your parent trying to “fix” you. At 14, the daughter would likely be picking up on that frantic energy pretty clearly.

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