Asperger Syndrome: What is it like to be a parent of a child with Asperger’s?

Quentin Hardy:

My son is 19 and has an autistic spectrum disorder akin to Asperger’s. Technically it’s NLD, but close enough. He also graduated from a high school specialized in kids on the spectrum, and attended numerous social skills groups. I’ve probably been around 100 people with something like Asperger’s. I’ve got another son who is, as they say, neurotypical, so I have some experience in contrast.
My first reaction is to point out that this is a highly individualized neurological condition. Any response you get is going to be rather particular, and comes through the prism not just of a disorder, but of an individual human personality.
Some people have Asperger’s and are cheerful, some are dark. Some are intelligent, some are not. Some are self-conscious, some are blithe. Some have large souls, and some are pinched. Like people. Asperger’s can be mild, which is what you usually see in the notable people who are said to have Asperger’s, or it can be severe, which is quite limiting.
In general though, you’ve got a kid without a ton of social skills. That means some things that come easy and natural around communication, particularly with peers, can be tough. This doesn’t matter much in the early years, and in some cases the kid’s oblique way of looking at things can make them attractive to other kids. As school progresses though, and other kids learn social nuance, an Asperger’s kid can be increasingly left out.
That is hard to watch, sometimes to a point of heartbreak – that depends in part on how much your kid cares about what other kids think, and again this varies. As someone watching various types of rejection happen to my kid, I have never yearned harder for normality. Not most popular, not the academic star, just…normal.