Friday, November 28, 2008


I realize I've been telling this story of how we found out about Asperger's, but I haven't really described all the things about MJ that pointed the doctors to this diagnosis. I've talked about his communication issues and his toe walking, but I've only slightly mentioned some of the other things. I guess I didn't mention the other things because these were all just characteristics of MJ. I figured every kid was different, and these were just the things that made him unique. Little did I know that these particular things put him in a group on the autistic spectrum. One at a time I'll explain some of these things.

The first thing I'll describe is transitions.

MJ could not handle any change from routine or schedule.

Sundays the kids go to church class, then to a group room with all the kids for singing time and a group lesson or game. One Sunday in particular they skipped class and had the kids all go straight to the group room to practice singing songs and MJ totally shut down. He sat there and looked like somebody had died--tears streaming down his face. Normally an enthusiastic singer, this time he wouldn't respond to anything or anyone. And why? Just because they skipped class. Another time they just changed the chair arrangement to a circle instead of rows, and he wouldn't talk, wouldn't sing, and refused to do anything. Just because of circle chairs!

At school, there is in day and then outside day for recess every other day during the winter. One day when I picked MJ up from school he was so emotionally upset rambling about how the kids wanted to have in day instead of out day and now the whole week was going to be off and how horrible that was and the world was going to end.

When I pick MJ up from school, I MUST drive STRAIGHT home. Any detours, or errands, or different routes are just too much. He will freak out. Even if we're going to go somewhere fun, it doesn't matter. He can't handle it. Like I know he loves going to the library, but if I get him from school and say we're going there BEFORE home, then he won't do it. I always joke that one day I'll pick him up and say we're going to Disneyland and he won't want to go.

Now, all these things aren't terribly hard to deal with. The teachers at church learned that they need to tell us ahead of time when they are going to rearrange the chairs or skip class. And I knew I had to tell MJ the daily schedule in detail especially if it entailed anything different. Yes, sometimes I needed to take a detour after school or change things around, and I still did them. MJ would have his little freak out, but I could deal with it. I didn't think it was that big a deal, but this was just one of the things I learned MJ freaked out a little more than your average kid.

1 comment:

AspieMama said...

I'm enjoying your blog!

Regarding transitions, I usually have a set "plan" in my mind of how I think that things are going to happen, and I do have difficulty when it is different.

If there's something that I know might be different than I expect, I like to think about it ahead of time to prepare. For example, I was driving home from work, and I knew I had ONE can of soda in the fridge. I had been thinking about it all day, and really wanted it. However, my husband sometimes drinks the sodas :) , so I just told myself, "The soda might be gone when you get home. That's okay; you can just drink some water or juice and get another soda later." That way, I'm not looking forward to it all the way home, so it's not as disappointing. This is a trivial example, I know, but I hope it makes the point.