You've heard the textbook definition of Asperger's, "A pervasive developmental disorder ...distinguished by a pattern of symptoms rather than a single symptom. It is characterized by impairment in social interaction, by stereotyped and restricted patterns of behavior, activities and interests, and by no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or general delay in language. Intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity, restricted prosody, and physical clumsiness are typical of the condition."
but I want to tell you what it means in our life.
It means a lack of self-regulation. for my 7 year old. Going from 0-60 in intensity in about five seconds. Not being able to police herself and her reactions. Hit and/or scream first, ask questions afterwards. It means 24/7 monitoring her choices and constantly teaching her better ones. This includes teaching her to know her bodily reactions, her adrenaline levels, her anxiety.. (Incredible 5 Point Scale, How Does Your Engine Run?)
It's not being able to be patient, at all. Needing something right now. Think: toddler parenting. If the need or want is important enough to verbalize than it must be taken care of RIGHT NOW. Or else.
It's speaking in a sing-song voice, breathy, with no support from the diaphragm. Sounds very toddler.
Needing routines to go "just so" and when they fluctuate, noticing and struggling. Sunday, we didn't go to church. After church, daughter gets a donut. No church, no donut. She wanted me to drive to the donut store yesterday and get donuts. This caused no end of struggle.
Lack of spontaneous activity. She must have some sort of notice before I just spring things upon her. I always wanted to be the "fun mom" and do spur of the moment things. When my eldest was younger, I used to take her on "Pajama Runs" which was a surprise trip after lights out to dessert, in her pajamas. The youngest would never do well with that kind of diversion.
For my 10 yr old....It's asking a hundred times a day if he can play _____________ or go _______________ or buy _________. It varies, depending upon his current obsession. It can be an activity, a subject matter or a food. No matter what, it is freakin' annoying! He is like a train that is barreling down the tracks, one-minded, a machine. The only way to head it off is to switch tracks completely. As he gets older, this isn't as easy as you might think.
For my 14 yr old, it's being a perfectionist to the point of making herself sick over assignments. She doesn't pick up shades of gray, and it all must be one way, that's the only way it can be seen. There is little wiggle room in her opinion. Some would call this rigid. In fairness, as she gets older, she is becoming a little less...structured in her thinking. It still is on a daily basis. One of her favorite characters is Sheldon, on Big Bang Theory. Coincidence?
It's not only something my children must do. Navigating these waters, these sink-or-swim rapids is often my own journey. And if I am sick, or just not feeling like dealing with red is blue and green is the new black thinking?
Well, it's crazy-making.
I wish that I could say it's always fun, or enlightening. I wish I could say I was a great mom 100% of the time. But the truth is, half the time (and more some would debate) I am just blindly doing what feels right. And, on nights like tonight, when I have been fighting the after-effects of the flu, including laryngitis, I am just...