Annie's mailbox: Grandma is insensitive about Asperger's - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, November 17, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 4:18 pm
Annie's mailbox: Grandma is insensitive about Asperger's

Dear Annie: I’m in my 30s. Four years ago, I was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome after a two-year career ended in disaster. It was my mother who suspected what was wrong. It explained the problems I’ve had — no friends, no social life and the inability to hold down a job, among others. I knew there was something wrong with me. I couldn’t figure out what to do at parties or dinners, or why I never had a girlfriend, and I stopped getting invited to get-togethers because I would sit by myself. Even my one friend thought I was weird. Eventually, she stopped speaking to me, too.

Since the diagnosis, I’ve hated myself less, but I have a lot of regret for not having been a better friend. I may have appeared apathetic, myopic, hostile, selfish or self-absorbed. I regret that my grandparents may have perceived me as uncaring and ignorant. I know it wasn’t my fault.

I’ve joined some autism support groups and have met people, but a lot of us are constrained by phobias, tics, medications, etc. Nowadays, there’s a lot more that’s known about Asperger’s, and we’re no longer seen as freaks. But it’s still hard. I haven’t told most of my family about my diagnosis. My grandmother often makes nasty remarks about me. I’m tempted to tell her the reasons for my behavior, but why should I have to explain?

New York

Dear New York: We agree that Grandma shouldn’t say unkind things, but don’t you think you’re being a bit unfair to her, as well? You are withholding information that could make her more understanding and could improve your relationship. It sounds as if you have been angry with her for a very long time. This could be an opportunity to get past it, which would help both of you.

Dear Annie: For six months, I have been mother to the most wonderful three children through our state’s foster care system. “Sharing the News in Pa.” inspired me to write down the “dos” and “don’ts” for adoptive and foster moms.

Don’t ask, “Do you have any children of your own?” Likewise, do not refer to the biological parents as the “real parents.” It’s a little jab to our hearts.

Never ask why the biological parents lost custody. It’s none of your business.

Please don’t expect your parenting techniques to be applicable to children who have been traumatized, destabilized and neglected.

Please don’t assume that we are doing this for financial reimbursement from the state.

Please do not be judgmental if the parents don’t know more about the child than you think they should. One month before our children were placed in our home, we were presented with 600 pages of medical records, and that didn’t include everything.

Do be patient with us. Our three school-age children moved in all at once. It was a tremendous adjustment.

Please recognize these children as the strong, resilient, resourceful and intelligent kids they are.

Massachusetts

Dear Massachusetts: Thank you for your excellent advice. People often don’t know how to respond to those who adopt or take in foster children.

Contact the writer: anniesmailbox@comcast.net

Quilt created by Karen refugees in Lincoln showcases memories of homeland, dreams for future
Annie, I ditched my sister and, for some reason, she's mad at me
Review: Many winners in premiere of artists’ battle tale
'Ramona' rings true for actor, drama teacher
Big weekend ahead for Nebraska Wind Symphony
One father's tale of overcoming infertility
Annie, My 12-year-old grandson insists on sleeping with Grammie
Archives: So many wonderful old Omaha photos
Omaha woman, 30, battling breast cancer for third time
For World Book Night, some Omahans prepare to hand out free reads
Earth Day: A change in habits can help the planet
‘Wonder Bread Years’: Tickets on sale now for salute to baby boomer generation
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium going greener
Annie Mailbox: My daughter will quit smoking if I lose weight
Win a Mommy Makeover!
Why two hotshots ditched six-figure salaries for a life of less
Jeff Corwin hopes to build connection with nature at Nebraska Science Festival
Annie, when that girl's hitting the bottle, look out
Blair High senior shows his love of pi by memorizing 1,381 digits
Jon Stewart might be real king of late night
'Tis soon Talk Like Shakespeare Day; hence be mirthful!
Can't find your pet? Social media is there to help
Easter Sunday temperatures climb into 80s in Omaha area
From fashion to baskets, a guide to the latest Easter trends
Families from area shelters treated to meal at Old Chicago
< >
COLUMNISTS »
Deadline Deal thumbnail
7M Grill
Half Off Delicious Comfort Fusion Food & Drinks!
Buy Now
FROM THE BLOGS »
Jump to a blog:
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
We Love Weddings blog
W.E. Love Weddings is about everything Omaha and everything weddings by the editors of Wedding Essentials Magazine.
Weddings and engagements
Share your exciting news with your community by placing an announcement today.
Inspired Home Omaha magazine
Sign up today to get the latest edition of Omaha's best magazine for local living, home entertainment, fashion and travel!
WORLD-HERALD ALERTS »
Want to get World-Herald stories sent directly to your home or work computer? Sign up for Omaha.com's News Alerts and you will receive e-mails with the day's top stories.
Can't find what you need? Click here for site map »