Anonymous asked: As someone with Aspergers myself, I feel like it's okay to take away children if they're going to be psychologically damaged by our different way of doing things. Now, I haven't researched this because I don't want children myself, but on the surface it seems quite plausible that they would be better off with NT parents, or at least that a parent on the spectrum should be going to classes of some sort. Can you confirm or deny this somehow? Data and resources would be ideal. Thanks.
I hope I can reply to this in an unbiased manner! Its something I’m prone to feeling a little defensive about, as the parental ability of many people with various disabilities is often called into question, most of the time unnecessarily. So why I understand the “if they’re going to be psychologically damaged” concern, I find in a NT world this is assumed more often than researched.
To point out some more severe cases, individuals with downs-syndrome are not allowed to marry in particular cases, discussion of forced sterilization is seen across the US, and regardless of the controversy on the matter, listening to someone who has downs, who understands the situation being forced on them, and expresses discomfort and hurt about the procedure makes me nauseous. This is somewhat of a wildfire topic, as it very quickly spreads from “Perhaps we should look into this” to “Let’s sterilize everyone with a mental disorder” and this is something that was practiced regularly before disability rights acts were put into place— which was in the 1970s. Less than 100 years ago this kind of biased mentality was practiced with little to no discretion, and no research-based-information. Hell, less than 50 years ago.
While I understand the unbiased factual outlook you— an individual with ASD and a logical thinking process probably have on the matter, this does not pertain to many other individuals who know little to nothing about the disorder. People who don’t understand are prone to act out of fear. So I add an err of caution to this sort of topic. Its good to talk about, logically speaking— yet the reality is it can often be misconstrued within the general public and NT and ASD alike may mistake the hypothesizing as logical sounding and therefore factual.
HOWEVER I’m glad you’re asking because I have lots of information regarding the research on parenting styles and ASDs as they relate to other people and in relationships, and I hope this data can assure you on a personal level about the topic!
I don’t know of any particular research on the matter as many adults with ASD go unnoticed for the most part. Research is primarily based on preventative techniques and early intervention. As such I imagine maybe an older undiagnosed generation may have some difficulties, none of which that should be solely severe enough to impact a child’s psychological development, much of the modern generation are attending early intervention techniques and classes so on so forth. And there are some guides out there to understanding a parent on the spectrum. I believe any caring concerned parent would intuitively have these kinds of discussions, provided they knew and understood their diagnosis.
The research I do know is that individuals with ASDs do feel empathy, there are multiple studies on the topic and you can search google scholar for it I’m sure you’d find dozens. Much of my information isn’t based on one single study, but a collective knowledge, so I’m sorry that I can not quote any particular study. But, empathy is the keystone to what you’re talking about, as a parent that can’t empathize with their child is prone to produce damage… however that is not really a symptom of ASDs but a symptom of antisocial disorder and sociopathy.
I can also point out the collective knowledge about parenting psychology, and that goes to say that there is no single way to parent. Parenting “skill” or minimized psychological damage (often reffered to as “well-adjusted” in layman’s terms and “attachment style” in psych) comes from a sense of plasticity. A “good” parent will change their responses based on the child. Not too lenient, not too strict, etc. Most of the abuse cases I hear about are associated with untreated borderline personality disorder (key word being untreated) and I have never heard a case of abuse involving an individual on the spectrum.
So there is no method out there to correlate any form of developmental damage to any particular disorder. To do so is considered unethical by all means of psychological study, as individual differences make up a majority of our behaviors. We are cocktails of genetic information, and no two are alike. Therefore parenting too is measured on styles of parenting, not via people.
I will also point out my own observations and “case examples” on the matter, and my personal feelings… I’ve heard and seen ASD individuals with children who generally convert their fixed interests to their offspring. As you know someone with ASD is generally assumed to function in logic-mind, that said many people on the spectrum can take in the information and observations of their child and translate them into fairly accurate assessments of the situation. Less prone to emotional responsiveness they are less likely to take something their child does as personal. If a child does not hug them it doesn’t mean they don’t love them, it means they didn’t want a hug.
So while it may produce complications in emotion recognition, and I hear of far more problems with spectrum parents and teenagers, I do not hear about it in young children. If I were to lump these observations into one category I could easily argue that “ASD parents are better than NT parents”— but as I just described it is not the person but the actions themselves that make this difference.
IN SUMMARY Anyone can be a good parent, anyone can be a bad parent.