The verdict is in, and it’s not a surprise: Justin has Asperger’s. It’s a neurological disorder that will never go away (his brain is just wired differently) but it can be managed, especially if we start young. I didn’t expect to get the diagnosis as quickly as we did, and in fact the psychologist said they don’t usually diagnose Asperger’s until kids are a bit older, but in Justin’s case it was just manifestly obvious. That’s actually a good thing — it’s nice to have a label for it aside from “autism” (even though it is on the autism spectrum), cause people have preconceptions of what autism is, and Justin doesn’t really fit that mold.
Some of the good points that came out of the assessment process: his reading, spelling and number skills scored at a third grade level, he doesn’t have any motor skill or sensory challenges like some Asperger’s kids do, and his overall language skills are pretty close to normal for his age. He still has social language issues (he needs to learn how to start, maintain and end a conversation, and not interrupt people) as well as social interaction challenges, but he’s bright and keen to learn, so the outlook is good. One book I read says these kids tend to do phenomenally well once they get to university, since universities foster creative thinkers, but the journey through the mainstream school system can be tough. He’s entitled to a support aide in the classroom and there’s funding available for therapy, so at least there are resources out there. And hey: Einstein had Asperger’s, and he certainly left his mark on the world.