I am finding more and more that I need to edit myself when people meet my children for the first time. I know many parents struggle with this, not just those of us with Aspies or children with special needs. My Aspie son is 16 - almost 17 - and I find myself still wanting to "explain" him to other parents.

I know that what other people see is not what we (his family) know about my son Ken. They may only see his unwillingness to look them in the eye. Or his tendency to answer them in monosyllables, if at all. Or his pacing back and forth. Or the way he waves and flaps his hands.

What they won't be able to see in him (and what we know so very well about him) is his brilliant wit. His ability to analyze works of fiction or movies. His stubborn insistence on excellence in science fiction and fantasy writing. His delight in internet memes. The fact that he is the first one to comfort me or his sister when we are upset. Or even that he will put aside his own fears and wants to take care of his little sister. Or me.

When I see people stare at him, or lose patience with him, I want so much to speak up. To say "No, you don't understand, he is taking in so much more than you realize. He is even now trying to find the words to express his forgiveness of you for not understanding HIM. This is a superior human being in front of you!"

But I don't say much anymore. He is 16, almost 17. He wants to fight his own battles, to be his own man. He will always be my little boy --a little different from everyone else and very special. But he is becoming a man, and my heart is overjoyed.