I have Aspergers. So do 3 of my 4 children. It affects us profoundly, but also is a part of who we are. I would not have them any other way. They are bright, thoughtful, and just the most sweetest people in the world. And I don't just say that because I love them, but their teachers often tell me they really enjoy having them in their classroom. We are all born with this overwhelming desire to please and be needed. This gets us into trouble sometimes. Since we can be extremely naive, we don't often know when we are being used. When we find out, usually as a result of being "thrown away" it is such a devastation, that the neurotypical world can never understand. Even my husband, who so desperately wants to and my former therapist who claims to just can't. I don't expect you to, but I thought I'd give you all a glimpse into what can happen that can rock our world on a daily basis. Please keep in mind, I am not complaining about anything anyone has done. So if you see yourself in any of these scenarios, don't feel bad. if it sparks a bit of understanding, great. If it helps your future encounters with people who may not be diagnosed with Aspergers, but show some of the characteristic, then I will be extremely happy
One of the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers is a singular some say obsessive interest. We become very very knowledgeable about that subject. Mine of course is Computers (and now also Aspergers). I spend an inordinate amount of time on my computer. I am never without my pocket PC. Until yesterday, I had 12 computers. I gave one away to my best friend for her birthday. There is that need to please. I had 9 Windows machines and 3 Macs. I bought the Mac, just to learn about it. Now I have converted and am writing this on my I book at my daughter's house in Phoenix. Yes I took it with me. I got my son's crippled laptop in order to fix the screen. I don't know how YET. I have a copy of the operating system Linux just to learn it. I taught myself everything. My formal training is as a nurse. I really don't like being a nurse, but I love the vast amount of medical knowledge I received. See what I mean. Along with that interest, is the lack of understanding we have that all people wouldn't love to know all about our favorite thing. As you can see I spent quite a bit of time telling you about my computers. The problem with this is that most people, don't share my level of knowledge, and some are quite embarrassed about their inability to understand them. So when I used terms that they don't know, they think I am trying to show off, or embarrass them. They think I am so interested only in myself and shy away from me. All I want to do is tell them the great thing I just learned or have just mastered. Since they have no idea how hard it is, I don't get the "great job, that everyone likes. It's been that way all my life and my children are facing that now.
Have you ever been in the class room with a kid who just can't get something. He has trouble learning to read or something expected for his grade level. When he finally makes that break through, his parents and teachers worked so hard for, he gets tons of praise, rewards, maybe a new bike, or money for each B or A on his report card.
While we are inside studying and fighting the distractions from loud noises and cars passing, or lawnmowers and weed eaters, This kid is outside playing. When the tests are passed back, we get yet another 100 and not a word is said. No "great job." It is expected. We haven't pleased the teacher, our parents, our peers. In fact they seem to hate us for "blowing the curve". I once came home with my report card with 2 H's (a grade higher than A given only for honors courses) three "A's" and a "B" in Gym. Believe it or not, I got punished for the "B" in gym.
Sometimes we know more than the teacher, especially in grade school. My daughter will often blurt out with a correction for the teacher. She honestly thinks she is helping the teacher, much like someone proofing a manuscript. Instead of the "thank you" she is expecting, she gets disciplined for being a brat. My son has such a thirst for knowledge that when the students are restless in spring or near the end of the day and start wiggling and talking, he will yell at them to shut up so the teacher can continue. If teachers are precise with their directions, he will spend hours on a report putting in much more information that what is actually required, especially if it is history, which is his special interest. "At least 5 paragraphs" becomes 5 pages. I have had to pull my veto power as a mom, to make him stop so he can go to bed. Of course he doesn't finish on time. Since he wants to please the teacher, he panics not knowing what to do. I have to get him an extension. Sometimes I can't convince the teacher that he didn't wait until the last minute to start on it, and he is faced with turning it in unfinished or late. This is torture for him. I once got told, "it's not fair to the other kids". I even had problems with a note from his doctor. I could spend pages and pages recounting that incident. We changed schools.
My daughter's special interest is Poke'mon which, at least, is age appropriate. It gives her such great joy. She write all sorts of stories about them. After a while one of her teachers said she should stop writing about Poke'mon and write about something else. I will have to admit to agreeing with her, I hadn't realize that this was Katie interest, it had been dogs, and I didn't know it had changed. They sometimes do. Katie couldn't understand why. She was doing all the requirements for the paper. Sentence structure, spelling, conflict resolution were all correct, so why couldn't she write about her favorite subject. We suffered through quite a few melt downs before I realized what was going on, with the help of her doctor.
Well my grand daughter is getting bored with her toys so I will finish later
Thanks for listening