I recently came across this word that I did not know existed. Anosognosia. It means denying that you have a medically diagnosed condition and refuse to follow doctors' orders. This is very common in children with conditions like diabetes, bi-polar disorders and of course Asperger Syndrome, among others.
I always remember this time when I was in grade school and one of my friends, named Paul, had diabetes. There was a birthday party and Paul desperately wanted to have some cake. He actually ran up and got some and ran to the back of the room to eat it. His mother was there and frantically tried to get Paul to give it back saying that he was diabetic and it would be bad for him. I remember feeling sorry for Paul because I wanted some cake too but Paul could not have any. I don't think he cared whether it would harm hm or not and I am sure he had many other situations as a child that were similar. He didn't want to be different but he was.
I have experienced a similar situation with Asperger Syndrome. The child or young adult will not acknowledge that there is something different about them. Even though they go to different schools, have difficulty making friends and experience many of the other signs and evidences of Asperger Syndrome. One possible element of this is prolonging the information from the child.
Luke Jackson, a thirteen-year-old author with Asperger Syndrome, speaks out about how he believes adults should tell children about their condition as soon as possible.
He says, "You (doctors) may think you are doing them a favor if you can't fit them neatly into your checklist off criteria and say them haven't got it but it just muddles them up more and makes them and all around them think they are even more freakish." He believes that getting the diagnosis is only a positive experience because you can learn what worked for others.
It would certainly be a case by case situation but in my experience my stepson would have possibly accepted it easier and possibly embraced it more if he would have been diagnosed and told what was going on at an earlier age. He was on 3 or 4 medications a day and there was never really a solid reason explaining why. Fundamentally he just wanted to be accepted and once he hit the age that being accepted took on a much larger concern of his it was too late to give him a reason why he had some challenges. At that point he was trying desperately to prove to himself and those around him that he had no challenges.
This left him to be very frustrated and probably much more lonely then he would have been if he knew and accepted what was going on.
The need to be accepted is a core human fundamental need and now until that need can be met at some level it is difficult for the Asperger individual to begin to transform into a more willing individual. This has started to happen for my step son and you will be amazed at the catalyst that started the process.