Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nods, Hops, and Jerks

Have you ever seen the show on ABC called Boston Legal? It's a rather interesting show about a group of lawyers that all have different personalities and quirks. One in particular is a lawyer who has Asperger's named Jerry. Now, he doesn't have it in real life, but he plays the role pretty well I think. I'm sure it's a bit exaggerated, but it all plays out to see how someone can truly be successful in life even if it means making certain adjustments.

Why I bring this up, is if you have ever watched the show, the character Jerry has all these little quirks about him. One thing in particular is that he always has his hands plastered to his legs, even when he walks. Now, I've never seen anyone with Asperger's do that, but it's the other things that opened my eyes a bit when I started noticing things MJ was doing.

On the show, Jerry makes little sounds or grunts in reaction to things, and often he'll do a little head jerk or a full out hop to show his approval for something. Now, I've always watched this show and just thought he was cute and funny, and I loved to see how the world could get used to a guy that didn't play by the same social rules as everyone else.

Anyway, I started noticing little things that MJ was doing throughout the day that was a little "different". MJ has a lot of problems as far as communication. It takes him a little bit longer to process things, or get his thoughts in order before he answers a question. Also, sometimes it all comes out in jumbled spurts because he has so much he wants to say but his mind can't organize it in time with his mouth. I started seeing when I'd ask MJ a question and he was going to respond approvingly, that before he could make the words work, he would do this little nod or jerk of his head. Often too, he would almost do this little hop in his chair.

He would do this all the time, little hops, nods, and jerks I call them. I found that I could communicate a lot faster with MJ by reading his body language through these nods, hops, and jerks, than to wait for an actual verbal answer.

Interestingly enough, when we met with the teacher starting his 3rd grade year at the end of the first week, she had already picked up on him doing this, although I had to explain to her what it meant.

I don't know if all Aspies have these little things they do. I know they are not a "tic" as some kids can get, because it is not something uncontrollable or like an eye twitch or something else that is habit forming. It is like this is a part of MJ.

I know some Aspies display different physical actions a little differently than an average kid would do. MJ tends to wave his arms around a little too much when listening to music or watching something intense. As always, I talked about how MJ walks around on the tips of his toes. And doesn't walk smoothly, it's always kind of with a spring in his step.

My husband has always done this sort of stress relieving thing I'm guessing where he's spasticly exploding his fingers out of a balled up position and I know that is not normal, but I still love him.

There are all kinds of little things here and there, and it has never really been a big deal. Only recently have people started to come up and ask me "oh, does he do that because of his Asperger's?" And that is always a weird question for a person to ask someone. But I suppose as he's growing older, his differences are becoming more pronounced.

1 comment:

Linda Kinnaman said...

I am new to blogging and was excited to find so many different communities but especially your blog. My 7 y/o daughter has AS and has recently developed this odd hand twitch when she is thinking. She used to wave her hands about when she talked but now shakes her hands like she's trying to get excess water off after washing. She also hops when she is very excited. The other "ism" that she has is when she runs freely in a large open space, she kind of bobs her head up and down as if she is trying to duck under a tree branch while running a top speed.

I find these quirks just a part of my daughter's personality but worry that peers will not be so forgiving.