Everybody who knows me at least a little bit knows that over the years I have become more and more interested in the subject of high functioning autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. I have read countless books about it, attended lectures and seminars, and discussed the challenges with parents who have one or more kids that are diagnosed with high functioning autism. Just recently my father send me one of Tony Attwood’s books on Asperger’s Syndrome. It describes diagnosis and social understanding of children who have Asperger’s, and it suggests different ways to help the child improve their social skills. Attwood suggests that parents play with their child to rehearse social behavior and help their child cope with social interaction. Role play and staging certain scenarios with the parent actively involved can help the child develop social skills. When I read how Attwood suggest to parents to play with their “not normal” developing child my parents popped into my head. My sister and I would have been labeled as “normal” children without a disorder, yet, my parents were natural play partners, and they taught us by playing with dolls, stuffed animals, and role playing etiquette, how to behave, and of course, without thinking consciously about it, my parents were staging certain scenarios during play time that prepared us for the real world. I even remember, we had this doll who would wet her diapers, and my mom would make us rush to change her so she wouldn’t develop a rash which of course is what a good parent should do when they have a real child. Attwood’s book made me realize how parenting has changed. Now a days, I guess you have to go to a psychologist to tell you you should play with your kid if it has trouble and isn’t developing “normal.” I wonder if parenting has become reduced to feeding your kids, paying for their expenses and what they need (or not need, but what keeps them occupied and away from the parents as much as possible like computer games and toys), and transporting them to school and after school programs without really interacting much with them. I have also noticed that at least in the USA parents will try to ship their kids off during Summer break, and parents complain about how difficult it is to cope with their kids when they are out of school. I remember spending every vacation and weekend with my parents and with my sister till I was at least 14 years old and felt the desire to venture out on myself, but of course, my parents were still there to watch over me from far. I wonder, now a days, are the parents the ones with the disorder? Wouldn’t parenting naturally mean to rehearse in play with your child what they would encounter in real life? Shouldn’t parents have the natural desire to play with their kids? Why do people have kids if they just want to ship them off when they are out of school? Shouldn’t they look forward to spending quality time together? I don’t know, I wonder a lot about parents. I never wanted to play with small children that’s why I didn’t have any. I didn’t want to carry the responsibilities my parents carried for my sister and me. But I knew the responsibilities of parenting due to my parents teaching me. I could make a choice. But it seems to me that many parents are not aware of what it takes to socially interact with their kids … Are the socially inept parents raising an Asperger’s nation?

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