Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spazzing Out in Public, The Need to Teach What is Socially Acceptable

Most of the time you would think there is nothing different about MJ and that he is just a typical 9 year old boy. But then other times, it becomes terribly obvious that something is, how should I say, a little off.

I don't know what it is, but it seems like being out in public places or at social gatherings just sets him off. It's like he's a wind up toy and someone just let him go wild. He starts spinning and dancing and waving and running in circles. We'll be talking to others as he paces around in circles around us. He'll start talking really fast or popping up in the middle of your conversation with spurts of "that's weird!" or "that's crazy!" and it starts to get a little on everyone's nerves.

Now, I love MJ and he is a great kid, Asperger's and all, but why is it that when he gets around others he goes so wild? Maybe we have just gotten used to his fast pacing and figiting and loud comments at home and haven't cared to stop him. It's not as if he is being bad or anything. We call it being a "spazz".

So, do we try to correct his over loudness, his spinning and pacing around you in circles as you or he talks? Should we tell him he needs to settle down when talking to other people and not talk so fast and long about one particular subject matter following them around until they are ready to go insane?

OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit, but we really want the best for him and so feel it is in our duty to try to teach him what is socially acceptable in the world.

I've sat him down numerous times as well as made comments to my husband about how you need to give and take in a conversation. I try to tell them you can't pace around everywhere when someone is talking to you. First off it is rude, and secondly it will drive them crazy or make them dizzy! I try to tell them that they need to get a feel for the conversation and give the other person a chance to talk or even change the subject after a while. Talk about different things. Don't follow a person around talking endlessly when they are working. It is hard though. MJ doesn't understand why all of this matters. My husband, the older, more experienced Aspie, tends to accept these social rules (outside of our house) and mellow out a bit more in social settings although he still doesn't understand why it makes any difference.

That is the funny thing with Asperger's. There are so many social rules and norms that have to be taught when they may never be understood. You just need to do this, I tell them. And they always question me why. Just because. I guess there really isn't a good reason. Really, why can't people just be themselves in the world today? Someday maybe they can, but for now to succeed in the world and be accepted by peers, they need to fake it.

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