Last February, while driving my precious (now-15-year-old) son to pick out a Valentine’s Day gift for his first girlfriend, we were talking about the way that sweet kid with AS and Tourettes and on American Idol pronounced Aspergers, like "auspergers," which led to a discussion about the word Aspergers and the first time my boy heard it when he was diagnosed in 5th grade.
Mom: It makes me wonder if the guy really has Aspergers, since he pronounces it “AUSpergers.”
Boy: That’s how Dad says it.
Mom: Oh my gosh, really? His own son has it, I think he (my ex-husband) should say it correctly.
Boy: Well, actually, auspergers is probably closer to the German pronunciation. You know, it was named after the Austrian doctor, Hans Asperger.
Mom: Yes, but we live in America. We say “Aspergers.” Short A.
Boy: But that sounds like ASS-BURGERS!
[much laughter in the car]
Mom: “Ma’am, your son has ass burgers.” (Boy laughs hard.) Does it hurt?
Boy: (laughing) That’s what I thought the first time I heard that word, when I was diagnosed! “Ass Burgers!”
Mom: Wow, is that really what you were thinking when the doctors delivered your diagnosis?
Mom: Wow. What else do you remember from that day, from that moment?
Boy: Well, I remember Dad was there, and you and Daddy-o, and I got to sleep in that day and not go to school, and we listened to Beatles all the way downtown and all the way home.
Mom: So what were your thoughts when the doctors said you had Aspergers?
Boy: The first thing I thought was, “That’s a funny word,” and then, “Cool! I’m autistic!”
He is doing so unbelievably well—makes mostly As, is more organized, has friends, teachers adore him, he won the talent show—that lately we’ve wondered if he was misdiagnosed. Until he does or says something that reminds us that the AS is probably accurate.
Jack says maybe he just has ass-hotdogs.