Thursday, August 16, 2012

Your Kid Is Defective

Why does he act like that?

Doesn't he know that's inappropriate?

Haven't you taught him any manners?

Doesn't he have any self control?

What's wrong with that kid?

There is nothing wrong with my child. There is something different about my child.

My child often lacks impulse control. My child doesn't like to be touched by anyone over age six, unless perhaps they are related to him, and even then it's iffy. My child has difficulty making eye contact with and talking to people he doesn't know. People he doesn't know includes people he's seen hundreds of time but has never spoken with. My child doesn't understand what is and is not socially appropriate without it being spelled out for him. He is well socialized, but does not pick up on social cues. They don't mean anything more to him than astrophysics means to a three year old.

It isn't that my child doesn't notice what's going on around him - it's that he notices every single thing that's going on around him and is trying to process it all at once. Imagine taking note of the ticking of the clock, the murmur of people in the other room, the color and texture of everything within your visual field, the piece of lint on the shoulder of the person you're speaking with, the feel of your clothing on your body, the temperature of your feet, the temperature of your arms, the way the seam of your pants is hitting your legs, the fact that your eyes are feeling dry, and myriad other things while trying to listen to what the person is saying to you - and while not being able to read any emotions or facial cues, therefore having no clue how that person is feeling toward you. It's not an easy task.

My child works every day of his life to learn what comes naturally to most of us. 

Kids with Aspergers and other autism spectrum disorders aren't defective. They are kids learning to navigate life with all its seemingly arbitrary and sometimes quite silly rules and customs. 


No comments:

Post a Comment