Find Out What Jen Finds

My journey on the spectrum of life … and the lessons I learn along the way …
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about Excuses: Reasons to Celebrate!

  • May 24, 2010 9:52 pm

I recently started a list on my phone called ‘Phrases that totally worked.’ I add to it whenever something surprisingly effective comes out of my mouth for the first time without my having a whole lot of forethought. Most are in the Parenting category. When I see it has ‘worked,’ I often go through shock & awe, and then pat myself on the back and pray it works the next time. Here is my favorite so far:

“Stop making excuses and follow my directions.”

This resulted in immediate compliance with NO lingering foul mood. I know! I had to inconspicuously pick my jaw off the floor and replace the ‘I’ve Had It’ adult-whine posture with a more confident ‘That’s Right…I’m the Boss…and I Totally Plan to Say Smart Stuff Like that all the Time cause I’m Smart and all’ stance.

I realized The Elder had reached a developmental milestone!

“…children master a variety of alternative strategies for resolving conflict. They can cajole the adversary, use bargaining, suggest compromise or cooperation (like turn-taking), and redirect conflict through humor.”

The School Years: Psychosocial Development – Social Problem-Solving Skills. The Developing Person Through The Life Span – (Berger)

So what’s the big deal? All 1st graders have mastered the art of manipulation, right? Yes! It’s ‘normal’! Yay! I haven’t decided if I’m more excited about his being developmentally on track or about his finally catching up with his nonverbal abilities!

For so long The Elder didnt say anything longer than 2-3 word phrases and only when prompted (and re-prompted). If he needed to initiate communication, it was physical and completely unrelated to his desire or need. For example, instead of pointing to a drink if he was thirsty, he would strip naked or throw his glasses across the room. It was as if he was fed up that no one was attending to his mental request after repeatedly thinking it. ‘Come on, people! If I’ve telepathically tried to connect with you once, I’ve done it a thousand times. It goes in my ear and out your ear! What do I have to do to get heard around here? Sheesh.’

When he was finally verbal, I heavily relied on listening to everything he would say in order to fully understand his triggers. And after some super-sleuthing, it would often fill in the gaps of why past meltdowns occurred. It was fascinating to finally learn the Reasons for his behaviors.

“How children think is as important as what they know.”

The School Years: Cognitive Development – The Legacy of Piaget. The Developing Person Through The Life Span – (Berger)


His Reasons were always literal (raw is more accurate) and logical (tho not obviously connected). While the former is to be expected, his logic far surpasses his age level. When he was 3 he tested beyond Kindergarten (he actually beat the test because it ran out of questions). At 4, his age equivalence was 11 years, 9 months. Because of this, I think there were a lot of unfair expectations for him to be more pragmatically mature. That discrepancy has been hard to parent, especially before awareness, but I imagine it is even harder to have.

Because of early intervention and inclusion, I think that gap is closing as he practices conversational skills. I noticed that his barrage of Reasons became Excuses when I, The Mom, couldn’t find an underlying connection between his words, body language, and past experiences. The usual and oh-so-confusing ‘complacent’ or ‘defiant’ reactions would then be displayed with integrity.

Do you know how freeing that feels? My brain gets to put the magnifying glass down more often…at least until adolescence…knock on wood…

Parenting with Aspergers

  • March 4, 2008 8:46 pm

I came across this post. I wanted to post an excerpt here. It is good to be aware of this, for me with The Dxd Hub, but also for my blogfriends who have adult spectrum suspects in their lives. (that sounds devious…MUAHAAAA!)




The Asperger’s profile

Your partner may have Asperger’s syndrome if he (or she) has most or all of the following traits. Does he . . .

  1. Have difficulty interpreting body language and facial expressions?

  2. Have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm because he takes everything in a very literal way?

  3. Struggle to maintain friendships?

  4. Become withdrawn and seem to be uninterested in others, appearing aloof?

  5. Have poor social awareness and find it hard to imagine how his behaviour impacts on other people?

  6. Love routines and get very upset if these are broken?

  7. Have an intense and all-consuming special interest or hobby?

  8. Have sensory difficulties? Is he oversensitive to touch or smell or noise or to a particular taste (people with Asperger’s have a very limited diet). In some cases, there can be an undeveloped sense.

Adapted from the National Autistic Society website: www.nas.org.uk

So now I am digesting. And researching, again, and came across this list from a Conference in 2005 given by Dr Tony Attwood:


The Parent with Asperger’s Syndrome

Characteristics
• Knowledge of normal childhood abilities and the parental role.
• Perfectionism.
• Regimentation.
• Anger.
• Abuse.

Child’s Perception
• Lack of affection, understanding and support. (Aloof).
• Criticism not compliments.
• Embarrassment in public.
• Fear of the parent’s mood and not to antagonize.
• Fear of the ‘cold’ touch of affection.
• Disagreements between parents.
• Parent has a monologue on their own problems.
• Intolerance of noise and friendships.
• Egocentric priorities.
• Favoritism.
• Feeling a nuisance.
• Desire to leave home or move inter-state or abroad.

Child’s Reaction
• Seeking affection and approval.
• Hatred.
• Escape using imagination, solitude, alternative family.
• Choice of partner.

Issues
• Recognizing the disorder in a parent.
• Resolving past issues.
• Explaining the person to other family members.


Number one, I wanted to journal on this because I need to be aware of the potential effect having a parent with ASD can have on my own children.

Number two, I wanted my siblings to reflect on how we grew up and the perspective we had of my parents. I have given both parents lots of resources and they have bought books themselves to educated themselves in regards to The Elder and his ASD. I debated on whether or not I should even air this laundry out on my blog, but a few months ago, one of my parents said this to me, “I don’t know….maybe I have Aspergers too.” It was a statement that I haven’t forgotten and have made observations on my many trips home to SC. After reading this article…I wonder myself. Not that it would make a difference now that I’m an adult and not even in the same state as my parents…but it sure would explain some things and would also make some things easier to forgive.