Tag Archive: communicating with autistic people


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.

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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 realized after I wrote the first blog I posted “Decompression: Night & Day Differences”, that I had just posted this with no background, no introduction..nada…of course I thought that my About Me page would be a sufficient introduction, and of course my wife Aspie Writer reinforced that it just wouldn’t do, so I’m writing this intro blog, to introduce you to me,  It’s not a long intro, but here it goes.

My name is Mark, I am a 40 year old Puerto Rican, born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. I come from a family of 7 kids, of which I am the middle child, (and YES I did have Jan Brady syndrome LOL).  I have three boys, Mini Me (Aspie Teen), Mini Me II The Sequel, (Aspie Monkey Boy) and Aspie Baby (Mini Me III The Clone Wars), (I told my wife back in biblical days, she’d be worth much cattle, for giving me three boys), of all whom I truly believe are on the autism spectrum, however finding anyone in this area who will diagnose them has proven to be incredibly difficult. My wife has taken all three of our boys with her to see the doctor who diagnosed her, and though he doesn’t diagnose children, he’s told her from what he sees, we are most likely correct. And oh yeah,  though I’m not on the spectrum myself, I do struggle with ADD, and all the joys that brings, such as having the attention span of toast, virtually no short term memory, and keeping myself pointed in one direction to name a few.

I currently live in South Carolina, due to my job. I’ve also lived in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Mississippi.

If you reached this blog through a  refferal  through my wife’s blog, Aspie Writer, you may have already read one of my posts on her blog; I Married An Aspie, which apparently was a very popular post.

The other day my wife and I were talking about something and I said, See! This is something that I should blog about, from the NT (neuro-typical) perspective! I’m sure I’m not the only spouse of an Aspie that deals with this! That thought stuck in both our heads. There apparently seems to be very little subject matter available for parents who are Aspies’ or NT spouses/partners who are with Aspies or other ASD people. (Autism Spectrum Disorder).

My wife and I have spent many hours talking about matters from her perspective and my perspective. We’ve had frustating moments when we just could not make each other see each other’s point of view. So the other night when this came up, the idea stuck in my head. So here I am, attempting to give us all a voice and maybe, just maybe be a bridge, or a resource to those of us, Aspie’s, NT’s etc. who  need it.

I am reminded of something someone at my job said years ago, “instead of concentrating on how each group is different, I am going to use my voice instead to point to how we’re all so similar to each other.”  It is my sincere hope that you will read the words of my blog and be inspired, be encouraged, or just be reminded that you are not alone, and you are not the only one going through your situation.

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