Ben was born March 7th, 1990, and he was a beautiful, normal-looking baby with a full head of brown hair. Our daughter has three boys and Ben was the second born. He was a happy baby. In fact, we called him, “Bennie, the beamer” because as he grew older he was always smiling.

Bennie The Beamer

Bennie The Beamer

A common trait that Asperger children share with autistic individuals is fixation, although they usually have more control over their fixations, which take the form of highly focused interests. Ben was born in Virginia, into an Air Force family and I did not have the privilege of seeing him on a daily basis but as far as I know Ben did not exhibit any unusual behaviors that might have indicated autism until he was about two years old. Even then we had no idea that his love for tiny match-box cars was the beginning of many fixations (obsessions) to follow.
Ben was slow at learning to talk, but we still thought nothing unusual about that since children are not exactly the same. He could say many words, but did not make a sentence for quite a while later. We also noticed that he learned to walk much later than his older brother, but knew the danger of comparing one child to the other. Ben also had trouble learning to use the potty. He was well past three years old before the training was completed.
Another fixation that appeared was his interest in hair. He definitely did not like to get a haircut, but a neighbor who visited his home had a large, rather bushy hairdo and he loved her hair. He would point to her hair and say “haircut.” On more than one occasion Ben would go to sleep by his mother while rubbing her hair. As Ben grew older, new fixations seemed to take the place of old ones. I will discuss some of these in future articles.
At about three years old, Ben underwent some psychological testing which indicated some problems with development. However, nothing was said about autism at that time. He was placed in an early childhood program in their community.
The early childhood program did help Ben in that he began to learn how to relate better to other children. I emphasize the word “began” because we have learned that relating to others appropriately is always going to be difficult for Ben.
If you suspect a family member of having this disorder, be aware of some of the signs I have mentioned. Your doctor should be able to answer further questions and provide both reading material and treatment for this disorder. When Asperger Syndrome goes undiagnosed, children do not get the help they need. This could lead to problems later on in school such as bullying.

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Filed under: Asperger Syndrome

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