When we had our son Tim assessed for Asperger's, we found that his way of viewing the world was different from ours. The tests highlighted his strengths such as maths, eg he scored 17 out of a possible 19 for this area, comprehension and reading skills. They also highlighted his weaknesses in motor coordination and his differing ability in various social situations.

Tim's world can be black and white. He doesn't cope well to change and is like a sponge soaking up written information. He was described as a little adult trapped inside a child's body. This can vary from day to day, depending whether Tim is in what I call 'child mode', happy to play with trucks and toys and his brother, or 'adult mode', needs specific jobs to do, be busy, needs to know and plan ahead.

Tim's overall score fell just a few points short of the criteria for diagnosis. When this happens, the person is described as having shadowings or ghostings of Asperger's, that is, enough of the traits to be a huge concern. This has helped us to find ideas and strategies to cope with his condition.

An occupational therapist with a special interest in sensory/tactile areas explained such things as why Tim likes to wear specific clothes, bounces up and down, spins (though this only happens every now and then) and why his hearing and sense of smell are so acute. These actions and sometime making noise help Tim balance himself. We were advised not to stop these actions, but find ways of directing them into a more socially acceptable form eg bouncing on a trampoline.

Overall, if we can improve his motor skills, his social skills and behaviour will improve.

Tim struggled socially at school last year, but this year things seem much better. We have had friends around to play, though I'm always on hand to help direct the play and social skills needed for a happy afternoon, and I can honestly say Tim is not the lonely little boy he was eight months ago.

My advice to other parents who feel there is something different about their beautiful child, but no one will seem to listen: don't give up. We were patted on the head by doctors for three and a half years ('he's just highly strung, he will grow into himself ' - what a great help that was!) and it was my own sister who suggested Asperger's due to an article she had read.

Having put a name to and found a reason for Tim's behaviour has empowered us to help our beautiful, bright and unique child to be happy. Tim seems sensitive to any artificial products, either additives or smells. We have seen him react to smells such as air fresheners and roadwork smells such as tar. We were also told to watch if his ears go red as this can often be a warning that something is not agreeing with him chemically and we have found this to be true. He can eat salicylates but is limited on amines. - Elaine