Category: communication differences


This is an ongoing frustration for me being an NT dad & husband. I’m kind of old school in a lot of ways. Dealing with my kids is definitely something that I keep jumping back to my old ways of thinking, (before I found out my wife and kids were Aspie’s.) With.

It frustrates me having to explain everything I say to them. I’ve never liked having to explain my reasoning and motives for every little thing. Especially to kids. I mean I’m the dad right? Shouldn’t “Because I said so” be sufficient reason for a 9 year old?

And shouldn’t  “because I want to”, or “because that’s the way I’ve always done it” or “just because” be enough reason for why I do things? I’m a grown man after all…(my teenaged six pack of a stomach giving way to a man sized 3 liter of a stomach is proof enough of that right?)

But these are things I daily have to remind myself of. My kids and my wife want to and need to understand reasons and motives. They can’t just grin and go with it, because without understanding, they feel lost and sometimes adrift. And though we all feel that way sometimes, my wife and kids really are effected very differently when they feel like that.
This may seem strange to other NT’s and sometimes it may feel like Aspie’s are control freaks…but it’s not really true.  Sometimes it’s just that since their reasoning isn’t the same as ours, they feel extremely disconnected from us because they can’t understand why we’re doing what we’re doing and why.

This causes feelings of panic, anxiety, loneliness and isolation. And confusion! My kid can’t understand WHY he gets  recess taken away when he forgets to have us sign a paper. “But I did my homework assignments !” But getting that paper signed was an assignment too…”But it’s not LISTED as an assignment!” (Even my wife has problems with that one).

So every day I have to take a deep breath, even grit my teeth when necessary…and remember…it’s not insolence…it’s not defiance…it’s just them being them. ..the way they are…and though I would spare them the difficulties they are going to have of I could..I wouldn’t change them for anything.

Today Monkey Boy got home from his 3rd day of school. We asked if he had any homework, to which he replied yes and we promptly took out his school agenda where he has to write down his daily homework assignments.

Now let me just say, we knew this was going to be an issue this year, because last year he had a pre-printed sheet with his daily homework assignments on them. This year he has to write down his daily assignments himself. So he said that he wrote down each assignment for each subject where the teacher said they should go.

Warning sirens went off in my wife’s and I heads! We opened up his agenda, and sure enough the words reading, math and social studies were all written down in the apparent proper slots….there was just nothing else there!!!

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Now my wife and I had read a few days earlier the things they sent home as penalties for not doing homework, etc. and I knew that if he did not do his homework he would be penalized and then we’d be having a whole different conversation with both him and his teachers.

So I grabbed his agenda in one hand, and my wife in the other and said we have to go see if their still there. We went to his school and met with his teacher. We explained the difficulty he had last year, told them to please go talk to the teacher he had last year. We gave them the low down on his literal mindedness, and how he has difficulties switching gears or tasks and the dangers of interruptions…we described his melt downs and described possible triggers and responses to the meltdowns and tried to reinforce the fact that they were not tantrums.

The teachers were very attentive and listened to us (seemingly). Time will tell how effective these conversations were. But hope springs eternal. I hope all you other parents of ASD kids have good luck this year.

This JUST now happened!!!

We let Aspie Teen sleep in since I was home today. My wife usually gets him up the same time she get’s up to bring Monkey Boy and Tantrum Tot to school/daycare, which by that time I’m already at work. I wake him up and tell him to come down and take his Adderall first thing, since we don’t like him taking it too late In the day.

He comes downstairs, walks into the dining room/office where she is typing away and says “Why is Dad home?” She flips out, complaining about his coming in the room and yelling first thing in the morning. He didn’t yell really , what really happened is that he interrupted her and she can’t take interruptions so she lashes out angrily when interrupted. However, even though this has happened to him a million and one times already, he still can’t process that she doesn’t like being disturbed/interrupted and she can’t control her reactions when she is interrupted.

THEN he asks if he can drink his Monster Energy Drink with his Adderall. Wife flips out, “I told you before…NO…you can’t take those two together, it’s not good for you, your heart gets palpatations NO…he goes in the kitchen in his sullen way and takes his medicine. She goes into our room to start getting ready for her doctor’s appointment and he goes and sits on the sofa and puts his finger in his mouth looking all the world like a dopey kid who’s just been given a sedative. (He DID just wake up after all). I told him take your finger out of your mouth before I take a picture and post it online! He responds by saying I’m biting on my finger to wake me up. (HOW that makes ANY sense is beyond me.)

Wife comes flying out of the bedroom (our master bedroom is on the ground floor), “Don’t give me that…I’m not going to let you sleep in when Daddy’s home anymore! You never act like this when I wake you up first thing in the morning when he’s at work”…to which he replies “I wish you would, it’s easier for me to get up earlier than when I sleep in. ”

Now my wife heard a “tone” in that….which apparently to her was disrespectful. In her head, she’s doing a nice thing letting him sleep in. And when she points it out to him, he answers with indifference to her niceness making him seem ungrateful. (which happens with him quite a bit). However, HE can’t control his tones any more than SHE can accurately interpret tonal values and inflections due to their Aspie-ness.

So she says to me, “Tell him why I’m upset…to which I reply “I don’t know why you’re upset…why are you?” I then have to play mediator and point out the following: (now I’m admitting here that I was very sarcastic and WAY over exaggerated the delivery of the following), “YOU are upset because you think he’s being ungrateful to you being nice. HE can’t help the fact that he doesn’t understand what is you mean, any more than HE can tell that his tone makes him come across ungrateful anymore than YOU can accurately detect his tone because HE’s an Aspie and YOU’RE an Aspie and neither of you can help what you’re doing! Now neither one of you talk to me for a half an hour!!

By the end of the tirade, we were all laughing which helped diffuse the frustrations which were rapidly mounting! All this Aspie-ness is going to be the end of me one day I swear!

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.

I was reading a blog from Autism Daddy, who is one of my all time favorite bloggers (aside from my wife Aspiewriter of course). On his page he had a link to this post on Autism Parents & the Guilt Factor, which I thought was simply amazing. It was written by Jene Aviram of Natural Learning Concepts.  It is an excellent article that I think all parents and family members of people on the spectrum should read.

Autism Daddy made the point that this writers blog doesn’t seem to be widely circulated, and after reading this article I just thought I’d help in spreading the word around. I thoroughly enjoyed the article and hope you do too.

This paragraph especially got to me:

4. Acceptance
On asking adults with autism “What’s the single piece of advice you would give to parents of autism spectrum kids?” the answer is almost always a unanimous “Unconditional love and acceptance.” For just a moment, view your child’s perspective. Almost every action gets corrected. Almost every behavior is modified. Method of play is considered inappropriate. Self stimulatory behavior is often halted. Your child is constantly being told to think, talk and act in a way that is foreign to his inner nature. It can’t be easy to keep one’s self esteem intact. I certainly advocate teaching as many skills as possible to help your child function in life. However, it’s essential your child knows you believe he is perfect just the way he is. It’s simply unfortunate that others might have difficulty understanding him. Your child should intrinsically know the reason he’s learning new skills and altering his behavior is not because you want to change him, but because it will help others relate to him, grant him acceptance and allow him to lead a more productive life. The next time you feel guilty about not correcting your child’s behavior or mannerisms, remember that delighting in your child’s unique qualities is just as important as teaching appropriate actions.

I tend to yell at my oldest a lot. He automatically reaches the end of my patience from the word go. It’s not because I’m frustrated with him…it’s because I’m so frustrated with me…because I can’t teach him things that will help him NOT be teased, or NOT be ridiculed.

As a child I was never the one who fit in. I was the poor kid in second-hand clothing who had no idea what was going on in the world. Most of the time I didn’t have a TV, I wasn’t allowed to go to movies, trick or treat, go to parties (not that I was ever invited), participate in school activities or after school activities etc. etc. I hungered for acceptance, did things that I thought would get me that acceptance only to find out I was being used later on. I was the one everyone teased and who never fit in.

I never wanted my kids to have to go through that, and it was my job to teach them things to make sure that never happened. My kids however, are harder to teach. Every time I see my oldest, and try to teach him something, he doesn’t get it. Or can’t stop concentrating on the things he’s pondering to receive it. Our communication is blocked, not by language or understanding but by blocks I can’t understand or circumvent. My frustrations aren’t with him…it’s with my own failure. Luckily my kids still seem to love me. Sometimes those little acts of love they show me comfort and teach me much more than I think I’ve ever imparted to them.

This is why when I read this post I had to share it. If even one other person besides me gets something from it, it was worth it.

“They” were wrong.

This is an excellent post I found. Had to share it. Will comment more on it later.

Enjoy

Mark

I truly enjoyed this post. One I liked her stance on her kids privacy. I don’t agree with it 100%, but still I admire the points she made.  I admit to not thinking of this topic from her perspective before.

Two: I understand how the health care professionals got it all wrong. All those people examining her kids and completely ignoring what her concerns were. We have been through the exact same thing. One specialist even went so far as to tell my wife, it’s all in your head…your symptoms are made up!  And this was a specialist…(we have since come to find that a very well respected doctor in our community and him were good friends, to the point where the specialist gave the other doctor’s wife a horse! But when the doctor’s wife went to the specialist, she went for one visit and never went back because of the way she was treated by him.)

If you have suspicions, that what you or your kids are going through is autims related,  gather you facts! Do your own research! Go into that office armed forearmed with foreknowledge. I admit that I was beginning to lose hope of ever finding out why my wife had the issues she had. I had honestly NEVER heard of some of the things she was complaining of, like hearing the filaments in the lights or smelling the trash from outside when I couldn’t smell anything, or needed sunglasses everywhere.

I remember reading The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and thinking WOW this girl sounds like my wife and watching Bones and saying hey that reminds of you, when Dr. Brennan was interacting with Agent Boothe.

When she showed me her research on Aspergers Syndrome we KNEW…we had found it! Getting the healthcare profession on board was another chapter….but in the end she got the doctor that mattered most on her side. Now, knowing what we do about Asperger’s we can SEE it developing in our children. We can see their symptoms and how they are displayed and KNOW what they are.

Today we had a VERY encouraging pair of meetings, first with the teachers in his school, and second with the director of special/gifted services in the school district. The results, is that the school is starting the necessary steps to have my 8 year old evaluated and we started the process to have my 13 year old evaluated, and got information for some people in our area who sponsor evaluations for our 2 year old.

I am very encouraged. But for those of you who are still struggling in this area…gather all your research, and show it to your doctor. Go to your school board, (not the school, but rather find out where the faculty of your school districts are located and go directly to them yourself with your research).

Don’t take no for an answer. Keep perservering. It’s ok to have your doubts too…so make sure you’re convinced. If not, keep researching and either still your doubts or choose to keep looking. But don’t let anyone discourage you.

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