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View Diary: Living With Autism/Aspergers w/FAQ (174 comments)

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  •  Does she know about her diagnosis (13+ / 0-)

    In this case, it's what I alluded to about my worries about my daughter. Teen years for aspie/auties can be very difficult and I am convinced that it is much easier to deal with if we know why it's so difficult.

    Here are two VERY important things to understand.

    1. Trying to shoehorn an autie into the NT world will never work. We are not NT and we never will be. Insisting that someone try to fit in is a life sentence for misery.
    1. Having said the above, it does not mean that there are some groups with which we will fit in. I can tell you that the some of the most fulfilling years of my life were those spent as part of the Washington DC music scene. I played the drums in a punk rock band and hung with other punks and hippies and such.

    They accepted me as I was and I never felt pressured to fit in with the Jock crowd or the homecoming king and queen popularity crowd. The subculture worked for me. I'm not recommending that specific culture for your situation, but I would recommend hooking up with people who share similar interests. People tend to be less judgemental when they are into the same things.

    "crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

    by Phil In Denver on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 06:13:45 AM PDT

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    •  I have a non-NT son (8+ / 0-)

      approaching his teen years.  Although he is comfortable, and frankly proud, of being different, he also wants to fit in some.

      Our focus is two fold: First we need to figure out and identify his "deficits" that have negative consequences.  For example, he knows that he misses social cues and that he does not naturally pick up on a lot of things going on around him that less bright neuro-typicals seem to pick up by osmosis.  To be fair we also work to recognize his traits that are huge benefits - handled correctly perseveration is one.

      The second step is figuring out how to address or ameliorate those deficits that cause him problems. He needs to actively force himself to notice what the other kids wear, where everyone sits at lunch, who does what at recess and then decide what he needs to do to fit in where he wants to.  Lots of kids are naturals at this and do it without thinking - kind of like how he memorizes stuff effortlessly. He needs to turn his mighty brain to noticing this type of social stuff and work at it like NTs need to work at memorizing the periodic table.

      Then we also work at giving him skills to interact with NTs.  He has a girlfriend so we talk about how girlfriends like it if you actually talk to them sometimes (texting is a godsend for him - much easier).  I regularly engage him in chit chat - though he'd avoid it if I let him - because it is how people get to know each other and interact and it is an important skill.  And he is getting better at it.  We also use strategies.  He doesn't really know how to chit-chat or how to just start talking to someone so the strategy of "ask questions then listen" helps him.

      We work at it.

      Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

      by trillian on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 06:36:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Please be careful (5+ / 0-)

        if your child is on the "spectrum" he may never truly fit in. By trying to force him to you may be setting him up for severe disappointment. For someone as high functioning as your son he may find his own way by associating with people who accept him as he is or who share similar interests.

        He may well adapt to a fair degree, as I have for instance, but if the focus and pressure is too much towards fitting in and he is unable to do so, it could set him up for a rather unplesant fall.

        "crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government" -Thomas Jefferson

        by Phil In Denver on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 06:51:40 AM PDT

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        •  If he finds social networks interesting (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          trillian, Wee Mama, Exurban Mom, miss SPED

          he may enjoy spending effort figuring them out.  I did.  (Romantic relationships were particularly hard to figure out, largely because most people were acting absolutely nuts about them.)

          But once he figures them out, he may decide that large portions of them are really no fun for him at all.  If so, he should certainly be encouraged to not have to deal with them, to the extent possible.

          His girlfriend may be able to be helpful if she really likes him for who he is; having a friend who can act as a translator is often a really good thing.

          -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

          by neroden on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 07:02:03 AM PDT

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      •  Texting is a miracle technology. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Exurban Mom, neroden, Lashe, codeman38

        I'm dating an Aspie with auditory perception issues. Phones cut off frequencies he needs to understand speech easily. (Interestingly, Skype apparently doesn't cut out those frequencies.)

        Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

        by Cassandra Waites on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 08:09:08 AM PDT

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      •  Texting vs. phone calls (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Exurban Mom

        (texting is a godsend for him - much easier)

        Ohh yes. As yet another aspie, I definitely can associate with this.

        I honestly don't think my girlfriend and I would have kept in touch nearly as much had it not been for instant messaging and text messaging-- with my auditory processing issues, I'm constantly asking for repetition, or just smiling and nodding, when it comes to phone calls, which doesn't exactly make for a flowing conversation!

      •  Being aware is only the first step. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Exurban Mom, neroden

        He needs to actively force himself to notice what the other kids wear, where everyone sits at lunch, who does what at recess and then decide what he needs to do to fit in where he wants to.

        It's the deeds and actions to fit in that I've always struggled with.
        Of course I wasn't going to be popular in high school-- being interested in boys, makeup, etc. was a necessary condition of it. These deeds are how one cements social bonds with the popular girls, and I wasn't interested in doing them. I had better things to do.

        Lots of kids are naturals at this and do it without thinking - kind of like how he memorizes stuff effortlessly.

        IMO both NTs and ASDs look bad according to the model we look off of. The ASD looks socially awkward, but the NT looks like a creature of instinct, with too much focus on immediate surroundings and no ability to see the larger picture.

        More to the point, it paints a jaundiced picture of what it takes to be successful in relationships. Monkey-see monkey-do imitation? Sacrificing a large chunk of your emotional and intellectual potential so as to not make others uncomfortable?

        I have always seen the primal need for comfortability as getting in the way of truly satisfying relationships. You could spend your life just making others comfortable; you'd have the "good social skills" seal of approval but you'd miss out on a lot of what really makes relationships and emotions worthwhile. Plus, you're easy prey for prejudice, manipulation, and the herd mentality in general.

        And comfortability is the damned base of the Maslow pyramid of social needs. The very first necessary condition you must meet, is the same one that makes relationship-building such a chore, and can make yourself act patently un-imaginative and un-empathetic.

        Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

        by Lucy Montrose on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 09:22:12 AM PDT

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        •  It really depends (3+ / 0-)

          I should have mentioned my spouse and I both fall on the spectrum ourselves - no surprise there.  We are incredibly lucky to have found each other and it took a long time.  The reality of our lives that is that we can't just associate with non typicals - we are both successful professionals and we have one very NT child.  

          We must go out to dinner with other couples, we must attend cocktail parties, we must have relationships with our co-workers and employees, we must attend family dinners, we must regularly associate with the other parents on the kids' various teams.  Given our druthers, none of these things interest us at all.  I'd rather have a root canal.  We also have zero interest in fashion, make up, haircuts etc.  But I have worked much harder to learn NT skills than my spouse has and it has paid off.  I don't do it to make others feel more comfortable, I do it because it is in my interest to look professional. I do it so that these social situations are less excruiating for me if I can fit in at least a little and I do it for my NT child who is acutely aware of all the social dynamics in a room.  I also do it because it has become a sort of challenge, like learning the customs in a foreign land. For my spouse, who has made less of an effort, social situations remain painful and awkward unless we are with someone who wants to discuss a topic that interests my spouse and can do it at my spouse's level - and how often does that happen?

          So we work at it - even simple things make a difference.  For years my spouse would never introduce me to co-workers at a party.  First because the idea just doesn't occur- the social cue that prompts such behavior is missed completely, and second because my spouse usually does not know the names of co-workers or employees, even those of long standing.  So we've worked out a convention, my spouse introduces me(after a loving pinch to the butt) knowing that I will immediately stick out my hand and say my name, in which case the person almost always responds to me with their name - problem solved.

          It is weird to realize that I have to think hard and have a strategy about how to handle such a common occurence, but I do and it does make a difference in the quality of our lives and I want my son to have the tools to do the same.  If he chooses not to use them, that will be his choice.  

          Give me government-run healthcare over Wall Street-run healthcare anyday...

          by trillian on Tue Jul 28, 2009 at 10:13:03 AM PDT

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