Thursday, 7 July 2011

Educating Oneself!

I have been on a quest to seek further information on Aspergers.  I have joined parent support groups and am reading what I can.

Apparently there are a vast amount of prominent people that have/had this.  I say apparently as I do not know for sure, and there would be just as many people that will vehemently deny that these people have/had any disorder as those that suggest they do/did.  So please don't quote me on this....   

Nevertheless, just assuming the various sources suggesting they have/had this are correct then some of them are:

Bill Gates, Einstein, Jane Austen, Marilyn Monroe, Virgina Woolf, William Shakespeare, Alfred Hitchcock, Darwin, Mozart, Beethoven, Edison, Mike Tyson, Woody Allen.  To but name a few.  

If this is the case, then it proves that it can really go undetected.  Individuals that display behaviour types typical to those with Aspergers are often labelled as being disruptive or hyperactive (Mike Tyson).  Others are described as geniuses or brilliant (Einstein).  However these labels may have been given without ever looking at the underlying reason why these individuals may not be functioning (if they were not) as what society decides is the so-called 'A Typical' person.

My philosophy is 'Seek to Understand Before Seeking To Be Understood'.  As such I am trying my best to understand this.  I now get that due to Aspergers (undiagnosed) sometimes those that have this are unable to control impulses.  Even when they know something is wrong their body feels compelled to do so.

I have learnt that those with AS do not always know how to respond to certain situations (age appropriate of course) and shut down as a result.  Or alternatively they may focus on something they are more comfortable with.  This can result in them talking about something irrelevant in a conversation.

I have learnt that they are usually trying to deter being the focus of attention and prefer to escape. 

I don't know if this is even relevant to my child, but I do know that I have to provide more structured guidance as opposed to expecting natural developments to drive his successes and understanding.

I love him even more and now just watch him in adoration.  Not that I didn't love him exponentially before, I just feel like - ok I am getting it.  I can relate to him better. 

I have ways to go and I know this learning experience is going to be life long.  However I have noticed a difference in my behaviour already.  I realised this morning that scolding him is not my first approach.  I give him options as opposed to my way or no way.  He refused to go to the bathroom before school.  As opposed to fighting with him I asked if he preferred to use my bathroom.  He said yes, went immediately and we were all ok.

Regardless of whether he has AS or it is just a matter of time that he shows me the depth of his greatness.....I will talk to him as opposed to at him, I will reason with him, nurture him more and endeavour to be how I think I need to be to suit his needs as opposed to mine (clean up his toys with him rather than shout at him for messing up his room for the 10th time that day).  This will enable us to function better as a family. 

I feel a sense of relief.   I also realise that our children are little people and these simple things can be applied to any child regardless of their individual challenges, especially when seeking cooperation.  I know our journey has just begun, but I feel hopeful that it will be a great adventure.  I'll keep you posted!

Man I love that kid!

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