Archive for March, 2013


The kid who knows who Stanley Kubrick is: Dreaming Big.

I was reading blogs, trying to find other blogs on Autism etc. to follow when I came across this. This post challenged me…and I’m afraid to say…shamed me.

A few weeks ago, Aspie Teen came to me begging to look into some websites and programs he could download so he could create anime based music videos. Unfortunately, he started asking when Aspie Baby was in full havoc wreaking mode,  Aspie Mom was in full  I’ve had enough mode, Aspie Monkey Boy was in full swing from the chandelier mode and I was in full Dear God I’m going to hurt someone mode…so I told him I’d do it later. Now Aspie Teen is the type that later means ask every 5 minutes until you do it. (A trait I’m positive he inherits from his mother).

I completely shut him down. I looked at the system requirements, and what would be involved. Unfortunately at this time my wife’s computer was the only one who could handle it and no way is Aspie Teen using moms computer to do this, as all Aspie Teen seems to need is four seconds with a pc until 4000 viruses are downloaded. One of his prevelant special interests is anime. Which isn’t so much of a problem once you’ve limited what sites he can go to watch them and strictly lay down ground rules for what is appropriate since there are some sick perverted anime’s out there! Luckily Aspie Teen is very trustworthy and obedient if not exasperating.

I told him that we couldn’t do it, that we couldn’t risk the damage to mom’s pc which is where she does her school work, blogging and writing from. I explained the system requirements and that source videos for him to use would open up her pc to risk of infection by viruses and hackers. His answer was simple. Buy him his own pc to work from. One big enough and with strong enough firewalls enabled to allow him to proceed unhindered. Great…my kid thinks I’m made out of money.

This was the absolute wrong answer he could have given at that time. Money in our house is always tight. This was shortly after Christmas too which meant I was REALLY behind the ball at the moment. His answer was a good solution, just not a practical one. Unfortunately, he could not understand the money issue, nor was I in a very patient mode to explain it. Nor do I like explaining this issue to my kids. For me, not having the money to meet my family’s needs is a personal failure. As such, I don’t like having to talk about it, let alone explain it.  Now we do ok…we are no where near as poor as I was growing up. The rest of my brothers and sisters think I’m rich (which I asssure you is not the case), because I own a home and two cars. My kids have toys and tech…food in the house (which could be a blog all by itself). But rich we are not.

At any rate, he persisted to the point where I shut him down cold. Enough. Dad said no. Sorry but that’s it. (paraphrased). I saw the light in his eye dim, his head hang low and his shoulders slump as he walked away. Never to mention it again. I failed. Big time. Was my reasoning sound…yes…was my my stance justified…completely…was I the best communicator and messenger in this instance. Big Fat No. I destroyed his enthusiasm and probably his faith in me to meet his needs. I felt about 2 inches tall and wished someone could step on me and end my guilt and misery.

So when I read this blog, I was shamed. Inspired to do better, but shamed. I applaud this mom’s ability to encourage her son. I hope to one day be able to do as good as she did. So I encourage all you NT’s out there with kids/wifes etc. on the spectrum. Hold your tongue. Take a deep breath. Hug them….and then calmly give your answer. Get outside your comfort zone and forget you ever heard the phrase “because I said so”. Be firm…but remember the possible damage you can do with a word. Good luck.

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When my wife was first diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), a few things became clearer to us. Like why she has difficulty with accomplishing tasks such as cleaning or paying bills on time. And her hyper sensitivity was finally explained which shed new light on the noise levels she couldn’t tolerate and the cleaning supplies she couldn’t inhale etc.

And it finally explained my wifes inability to make friends and/or socialize, leaving her lonely and desperately waiting for me to come home each day to interact with.

I had reached out to the local autism advocacy agencies here in our current state, and found out they only offered woefully inadequate services and nothing practical at all.

Counseling and literature is the extent of the services they offer. Woo freaking hoo. I mean those have their place, they do, but let’s explore this a bit shall we?

If Aspies have trouble socializing, then making them go to counseling with a  complete stranger is a bit daft don’t you think?

What reason would they have to go sit and talk to a complete stranger about something so personal? Not to mention, in this case, the stranger was located over an hours drive away, and had no evening hours available, (and what the heck is up with this state and NO ONE wanting to work in the evening or on weekends anyway ??), so a spouse (mainly me), would have to take a day off work to accompany them.

Aspies don’t like interruption to their daily schedules, which can cause panic and anxiety…didn’t the doctors who helped develop this advocacy program take that into consideration?

They offered very little on the whole financial aspect. They offered financial counseling. My wife can PLAN with the best of them. She can design a budget like no ones business. The problem comes when she has to actually execute or stick to the budget.

Again you can talk this issue to death but what about some practical assistance such as people who can actually work with you and pay your bills for you? (using your money of course). They seem to have people to do this for the elderly, but can’t make the jump to offer it to people with ASD. (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

Financial stability can go a long way in helping people on the spectrum keep their peace of mind.

Not having to worry about whether the utilities are going to stay on or not because you forgot to pay them, or double paid one bill (again), and ended up being short for another bill (which happened with surprising regularity in my house), would be of tremendous benefit, and could significantly reduce the amount of stress in an ASD household.

Finances are one of the largest sources of stress in any household, but when a partner/spouse has ASD, it significantly increases the chance for meltdowns, which in my house are to be avoided at all costs.

In this state, there is huge business in cleaning services. Yet they offer no help, be it financial or just retaining a company which the state would pay for, that could come once or twice a week to help clean houses for people with ASD. This would/could be a tremendous help to keep order in a home. And if things are kept in order there is less of a feeling of chaos which helps keep people calm. I know in my house, this would be of tremendous benefit to both me and my wife. I’m willing to bet we’re not alone here on this right?

My wife was not diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome until after the birth of our third child. I am forty years young and she is close behind me.  Our oldest is a new teenager chronologically, but that’s about all. He helps his mother with the baby during the day, but housework is not something either  of them can really devote their full attention to during the day.

When I come home after work, and on the weekends, most of my time is spent cleaning. In between trying to make sure I take my wife out somewhere so she doesn’t have to spend all week staring at these four walls again.

Having a cleaning service come in to do some deep cleaning and/or some maintenance cleaning during the week would be of TREMENDOUS assistance in or house. Please tell me I’m not alone in this?

And finally, a program that would pay partially or at least pay for part-time day care for toddlers and infants would be pure gold.

A chance for my wife to write, or straighten up, or rest or be able to go to Barnes and Nobles, to have a grande mocha frappuccino and breath in peace would increase her quality of life one hundred fold!

Any other ideas out there? I’m sure there are so please feel free to share them on this post. I’m actually considering sending something to the governor on this topic. So any thing you can offer would be appreciated.

My Aspie Diner

I originally wrote this post about a week ago, however it was on my kindle fire, while laying in bed half dead. I thought that it had saved as a draft but sadly it didn’t.

My house at dinner time resembles a diner at the dinner rush. My wife and I will eat one dish, Aspie Monkey Boy is in his pizza mode which he’s been on for almost a year now, which means he will only eat pizza like items such as frozen pizza, pepperoni hot pockets, spaghetti with red sauce etc.

Aspie Teen will eat most of what we eat, but frequently will make special requests, or when told what we’re having will request a different item as well. Which quite honestly drives me insane to the point where I want to throw down the pans and walk out of the kitchen, because usually he announces he won’t eat what I’m cooking until I’m halfway through preparing it.

Aspie Baby, who my wife lovingly refers to as Tantrum Tot, is in a hunger strike mode where he won’t eat anything for days other than his milk bottle and Flintstone one a days chewable vitamins, and then all of a sudden will devour and consume the strangest things I’ve ever seen a two year old eat. i.e last might he inhaled fries pork ribs (WTH?) And then if its one of the rare times we actually sit at the
table together to eat, he will climb out of his chair, and sit directly on the table in front of her.

Keep in mind that usually (not always, usually) I’m coming home after working and heading to the kitchen to start dinner because my wife is exhausted from her day of either driving her mother around, and/or watching Aspie Baby and Aspie Teen, while trying to write her book, and home school Aspie Teen.

So I come home and try to do as much as possible to help alleviate her stress which oft times doesn’t reduce too much stress from her because I’ll end up yelling or scolding the kids for being to loud while mommy is trying to relax, or for being the messy monsters that they are expecting me to come home and clean up after them.

So when I go to the kitchen to cook, I feel like there should be one of those spinning wheels with the orders the waitresses clip on it so I can read the special orders I’ll have to make just to get through dinner.

In the immortal words of Flo from Mel’s Diner on the old sitcom Alice, (yes I know I’m dating myself here), sometimes I want to tell the little darlings to”kiss my grits”.

Do they do this intentionally? Probably not…they get stuck in routines. Routines help them cope, even if they don’t realize it, with the constant changing stimuli going on in the world around them.

Its their way of finding/permanence in an ever fluctuating environment.

While it creates more work for their mother and I, its usually much much easier than the contest of wills it would take to get them to eat one meal and take the old fashioned “You will eat what’s put in front of  you or you won’t get up until it’s gone” line. Believe me I know.

I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned in dealing with my Aspie family is that tradition is usually going to be tossed out the window. This is hard for me, being the old school Puerto Rican that I am. But the main thing to remember is that I’m not doing it for me, I’m helping them.

With all that I have to correct them on, and teach them, is dinner really the battle I want to choose to make my stand on?

Whose Line Is It Anyway?

I mentioned before that I am an NT partner of an Aspergirl and we believe that my children are all somewhere on the spectrum.

My 8 year old and I especially have problems communicating with each other. He’s a great kid and is smart as his mother (thank God, they get their looks from me and their brains from their mom).

(that’s a joke there), Somewhere along the line, my 8 year old has determined that when I speak, it’s going to piss him off. No matter what I say, he’s going to argue over what I said, the way I said it and whether or not he has to obey what I said and when he’s going to obey it.

Now being a traditional Puerto Rican dad, my button is pushed from the minute his little voice goes into that tone that just shouts defiance. You all know the one that I mean. It’s a battle not to resort to my mothers slipper throwing habit when his little voice goes into that I defy you mode.  His mother can say 10 words to him after we have a spat and he’s all sunshine again. Go figure.

The funny thing about it hit me today. I’m the one that is supposed to be the great communicator. The one who can reach anyone. My Aspie Wife is supposed to be the one with challenges with communicating people.  But her and my son speak the same language. If men are from Mars and women are from Venus than NT’s are from Jupiter and Aspies are from Saturn.

My children … maybe they’re the missing link. Maybe I am. But in our house, due to the sarcasm and witticisms we use…the communication gap can be quite funny.

 

 

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