Thursday, October 29, 2009

Check out my articles on

Hi everyone, just wanted to let you know I have been offered a job as the Asperger's and Parenting Examiner for a local online news website. I've added a sidebar that lists the latest articles I've written. I will continue to maintain this blog to share our personal experiences and ideas about Asperger's, but if you're interested in more of the how to, basic info, or possible experiences with Asperger's, then check me out at the Salt Lake City under Family and Parenting. You can see my page here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

His Obsession? Knowledge!

From all the things I've read and heard, Aspie's are supposed to have some sort of obsession with something. There is usually some subject, toy, game, or sport that people with Asperger's are obsessed with. This is the thing that they will talk endlessly about not seeming to notice when the other person is bored or has lost interest.

With my boys it is interesting. While Thomas seems to have had an obsession with piano, maps and atlases, my husband--computers, but I never really figured out what obsession MJ had. It seemed like his obsessions would change week to week.

Like one week all he wants to talk endlessly about is science experiments, but then the next couple of weeks it's medieval times, weapons, castles, knights, and more. Then another week it is rocks and minerals. Later on it is storms and weather. Or this last week it has been every single detail about fencing. Seriously, he will spend a week telling me every single detail about the "topic of the week" as I call it, and he will follow me around going on and on and on. What are the rules? What are the positions? What are the points? What do they wear? He will let me know everything and by the time he is done I feel like some sort of expert in the subject matter that week.

I've found it very interesting that he has never really had one great obsession like all these books or doctors describe. Why is that?

Well, the answer finally came this past week. We were in a meeting with the school principal and the school's psychologist, and I was mentioning this to her. It seems as MJ has been very bored all this year and keeps asking me when he is going to learn anything new. I've been concerned because he has been coming to me telling me he didn't understand why everything was so simple. He felt like he should be learning harder things. I was describing how MJ is constantly seeking out more information and trying to get his hands on every ounce of new material he can. He's focused on the history channel, the discovery channel, or he's reading everything he can about his "subject of the week". She turned and looked at us and said, "No, I think his obsession is knowledge. It seems like he obsessed with learning as much as he can as fast as he can."

How interesting is that? Seriously, I was shocked that I didn't realize this before because it was so obvious. Obvious, but strange to me that someone could have such a broad obsession. Where that leads us, I don't know quite yet, but MJ is destined for something truly great.

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.