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3:02 p.m. - 2007-08-02

THE FIRST DAY OF A NEW LIFE

After two years of wondering, testing, analyzing and therapy, we finally have an official diagnosis for Andrew.

It wasn't a big shock, but the boy's got Asperger's Syndrome.

You can google or You Tube it and find out all kinds of stuff about it but here's the gist of the thing.

He's going to struggle to make and maintain friends and relationships because his brain doesn't work like regular people. He doesn't know how to carry on normal conversations. His conversations are one-sided and almost always revolve around something that interests him. This will get better (hopefully) with age, but he's always going to be like this. His idea of a proper response to "Hello, how are you?" is "Winnie the Pooh has many friends including Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit and Owl."

He's brilliant. The doctor who gave us the diagnosis studied him for the last four months and she said he's the smartest six year-old she's worked with in 20 years.

He will be bullied on a regular basis because he looks normal and can act halfway normal, but when forced into conversations, he's going to come across as weird.

His teen years will be filled with anxiety and depression. So naturally ... he'll be into Goth if that's still around in 10 years.

He's never going to "get over" it. This is what he'll have to deal with for the rest of his life.

Honestly, we were expecting this diagnosis after doing a ton of research into it and finding it describing Andrew perfectly. So it's not a huge shock.

Still ... it's kind of a bummer because everyone wants a healthy child and when you find out your kid's going to struggle to make friends the rest of his life ... that's tough.

BUT ... there's a bright side to this.

It's not autism.

It's not Muscular Dystrophy.

It's not Cerebral Palsy.

It's not cancer.

Meaning ... it could be a whole lot worse for the little guy. Those kids with the above problems and their families are the real fighters.

What this means is that he'll grow up and probably get a great job in the computer industry ... but fail miserably when trying to pick up the barfly at the local pub.

And with all the research we've done ... yeah ... we're convinced he's got Asperger's alright. But I think he's got a light case of it. He CAN have conversations but you have to force them out of him.

We've already signed up to be part of a local support group and are setting up play dates with total strangers whose kids have the same syndrome.

I've ordered three books off of Amazon and we're going to sit down and read them for tips on how to deal with meltdowns which (thankfully) happen at home ten times more than they do out of the home.

I really want to get him into some sort of Martial Arts program where he can learn respect and discipline. Also, he'll be able to defend himself when the 15 year-old bullies start looking for the weird kid to pick on.

Bottom line we have to remember ... he's still the same kid that we love more than life itself. He's funny, charming, lovable and a blessing.

We now have to try and understand that the way he sees the world is completely different from our version and we have to learn "his" world.

This should be a piece of cake.

Albeit a piece of dill pickle cake with sauerkraut frosting.

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