Autism & Asperger's Syndrome Expert Forum
meeting my Grandson with Aspergers
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Questions in the Autism & Asperger's Syndrome forum are answered by researchers at the New England Center for Children. Topics covered include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Antisocial Personality Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, Autism, blindness, bullying, clinical depression, deafness, dyslexia, mental retardation, and social alienation.

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meeting my Grandson with Aspergers

My son's ex left with his child when he was just 3 and he had just been diagnosed with Autism, she kept him away from this side of his family for 6 years, he is now 9 1/2.  He has further been diagnosed with Aspergers syndrome.  I have read a little about it but not much.  My son just got to see him for the first time in December and again in Feb.  I live across the country from them but I am going to be flying out to see them in June.  I just found out that he (G-son)  will be on the same flight as I for the second part of my flight.  I am hoping to see his mother and him at the airport.   Hopefully the airlines will let me sit with him, but I really don't know how to talk to him. I know he already has a 11th grade reading level and would like to bring a book for him....   I really don't know ...   Any one out there with some suggestions?
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Everyone handles these type of situations differently, so I can only tell you what I would do in this situation.  I would treat him the same way I would treat any child in a similar situation.  First, it is likely that he may not have any recollection of you--most children do not remember much about their lives when they were 3 years old.  Thus, I would begin slow, and I wouldn't necessarily rush towards him and give him a big hug when I first laid eyes on him!  Talk to him--ask him about what he likes to do, about what subjects in school he likes and dislikes.  Just spend some time getting to know him again.  Since he has a diagnosis of Asperger's, you may notice some quirky or odd behaviors--just ignore them, and accept them.  If you comment on them, or ask him why he did this or that, it may make him uncomfortable.  If he doesn't warm up to you immediately, understand that this is not a reflection of you; it is a reflection of his disorder.  Take it slow and do not push too hard.  Find a common ground, something that you both enjoy doing, and have that be the basis for a starting point for him to become more comfortable talking to you.

You have a rare opportunity to get to know your grandchild again, which many people in similar situations never get--don't worry about what to do or what to say.  Just enjoy getting to know him again, and hopefully it will be the beginning of a bonding process that will last forever.

I hope everything goes well for you.
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Jason C Bourret, Ph.D., BCBA-DBlank
The New England Center for Children
Southborough, MA
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