Monthly Archives: May 2010

entertaining ourselves

For many years our Friday evenings have been occupied with either watching Smallville on DVD or on TV.

The season finale was May 18, so we were Smallville-less.  So how did we occupy ourselves on a Friday night.

Muscovy Duck — FL

Park on Lake Harris

May 14, 2010

40 years of waiting, 2 hours of driving, 2 hours of waiting, 30 seconds of praying, and then 1 minute of the most emotional experience in my whole life:  STS-132.  Atlantis

For HM for finishing EMT-B school

Mother’s Day

I got a Kindle!  And ’cause I like old classics, I was able to load 12 free books!  Whoohoo!!

Gillberg’s Criteria

GILLBERG’S CRITERIA FOR ASPERGER’S DISORDER

1.Severe impairment in reciprocal social interaction
(at least two of the following)
(a) inability to interact with peers
(b) lack of desire to interact with peers
(c) lack of appreciation of social cues
(d) socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior

2.All-absorbing narrow interest
(at least one of the following)
(a) exclusion of other activities
(b) repetitive adherence
(c) more rote than meaning

3.Imposition of routines and interests
(at least one of the following)
(a) on self, in aspects of life
(b) on others

4.Speech and language problems
(at least three of the following)
(a) delayed development
(b) superficially perfect expressive language
(c) formal, pedantic language
(d) odd prosody, peculiar voice characteristics
(e) impairment of comprehension including misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings

5.Non-verbal communication problems
(at least one of the following)
(a) limited use of gestures
(b) clumsy/gauche body language
(c) limited facial expression
(d) inappropriate expression
(e) peculiar, stiff gaze

6.Motor clumsiness: poor performance on neurodevelopmental examination

(All six criteria must be met for confirmation of diagnosis.)

When Logic and Emotion Collide

An essay written by my non-aspie daughter about 3-4 years ago.

When Logic and Emotion Collide:
My Life With An Aspergerite.

Michael was always the smartest person I knew…if I ever had a question about math, or science, I asked him before I asked Mom and his word was The Absolute Fact. Both Michael and I were home schooled, so we interacted with each other a lot. I always knew he was different; he was so smart and yet had trouble in social situations and couldn’t get a joke to save his life. Then one day my mother took me for a long car ride. She explained to me that the reason Michael was different was because his brain was “hardwired” in a different way. That hardwiring was called “Asperger’s Syndrome.” She went to great lengths to make sure I understand that there wasn’t anything wrong with him; it was just that God had made him different from the majority of people on this planet.
Sometimes it has been difficult to live with a person who sees the world so differently from me. I am a very empathic, very emotional person who often (admittedly more than I should) prefers to feel instead of think. Michael has very simplistic views about emotions and of course one of the main things about Asperger’s is a difficultly responding to emotional situations “correctly”, so as you can probably imagine, we butted heads quite frequently.
A humorous example involves handkerchiefs. In addition to Asperger’s, Michael also has asthma and allergies. Hankies are a staple of life for him and he always has one with him. Being very emotional, I cry easily. Old movies and etiquette guides have instructed Michael that when a woman is crying, it is polite for a man to offer her his handkerchief as a way of expressing his concern for her emotional well-being. Therefore, a sniffle or a sob in his presence is accompanied by the withdrawing of a hankie from a pocket. In his mind, he has just followed the very simple, logical, almost mathematical formula of emotions. Crying sister + my offered handkerchief = comfort.
Problem. I wash his hankies. I knew exactly where they have been, what they have touched and I most certainly do NOT want it to touch my face. And, however much we might wish otherwise, there are only so many ways for an emotionally distraught female to say “No thank you.”
(By the way, we have solved the problem of the hankie by replacing it with a hug…whether I really need it or not.)
But in other ways, being so very emphatic has been helpful in understanding Michael: I am able to put myself in his emotional shoes, to get somewhat inside his head, to understand in some small way how he thinks.
Confusion is about equal, I think. He doesn’t really understand why I frequent discussions that dissect an emotional part of a story, much as I don’t get what is so fascinating about how many nacelles a Vulcan ship on Star Trek has.

The single most important piece of advice I can give to anyone else who has a sibling, relative or friend with Asperger’s is to listen to them when they talk. You might not understand what it is they are saying, or why they are saying it, or why it is important to them, or how you got here from a conversation about cat food, but just listen, nod occasionally and ask intelligent questions. That will do more for them than almost anything else you can do

For Natalie — Aspie Stuff

Natalie — I would love to talk with you.  Here are some random ramblings that came to mind as I read your comment.  They are very random, but hopefully can get a conversation started.

  1. My son was 9 when he was officially diagnosed, although he had some pretty typical symptoms starting early.  If you read the definition of Asperger’s Syndrome I swear his picture should be next to it.  At age 6 struggled through KG.  The academics were too easy, but the social and physical skill set literally tripped him up.
  2. After KG we brought him home for school.  That allowed us to control the environment so that he could absorb as much information as possible in any given field of study.
  3. Tae Kwon Do classes.  Great for developing brain-body coordination.  Gave him a safe place to develop some friendships since there wasn’t much free-time and interactions were based on a common pursuit –the black belt.
  4. Weekly visits to the public library.  Again, limited social interaction with a defined purpose — to get the book!  We used the library to learn to maneuver in crowds before attempting crowds with noise.
  5. MA is very sensory over-sensitive.  Loud noises, erratic motions, and anyone bumping him is a crisis.  So after we conquered the crowds at the library we tried Meijer (like a Wal-mart, only better).  That is about as much he can physically tolerate — even to this day.   Driving is still out of the question due to sensory issues.
  6. MA finds incredible stability in categorizing things.  We make sure he has access to a huge pile of spiral notebooks.  These are filled with all sorts of stuff: superhero comparisons, sci-fi weapons, sci-fi space, sci-fi ships, String Theory, etc.  Lots of seemingly random facts that he puts into order.
  7. One thing his first psychologist helped me understand is that aspies MUST bring order to chaos.  They are compelled to find the pattern in everything around them.  That brings peace and a  sense of well-being.
  8. Some words that are used on his file:  “Does not broadly apply social norms to new situations.  Must be taught what is expected for each new social interaction.”  “Needs significant assistance with routine organizational tasks.”

Whew!  If my daughter says it is ok,  I will post an essay she wrote once about being a sibling to an aspie.

Looking forward to the conversation.

Hans Asperger

Able autistic individuals can rise to eminent positions and perform with such outstanding success that one may even conclude that only such people are capable of certain achievements … Their unswerving determination and penetrating intellectual powers, part of their spontaneous and original mental activity, their narrowness and single-mindedness, as manifested in their special interests, can be immensely valuable and can lead to outstanding achievements in their chosen areas.

Just because I like to stay informed:  New Science article