Monday, February 6, 2012

The Mystery and Wonderment of the Asperger's Mind

Is this really February? Collin playing in the spring-like weather.

I'm desperate to go see the movie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as I've heard the main character has Asperger's. Today, I watched the trailer on the computer. The Aspie boy says, "My Dad said the way I saw the world is a gift. That I was different than everyone else." I thought about the truth in the statement. Aspie kids do have that gift, and we neurotypicals peek into their world with amazement at some of the things they learn so naturally or some of the fascinations they hold so tight. But, with those gifts comes added challenges, something we know a little about lately with our Aspie son.

Tonight, he was having a hard time. Fully exasperated, he blurts out, "You just don't understand. You don't have Asperger's." The words seemed to dangle in the air and I pondered how exactly to respond. I put my hands on his shoulders and gazed into his eyes. I admitted not fully knowing how he feels but asked him to help me understand. A stood waiting for his reply, sort of feeling like a dog begging for morsels of food under the dinner table. As expected, he shut down and went silent. I used to take his silence as obstinate, but now I believe he truly doesn't understand even himself.

So, I listen to experts. I read books. I put together every tiny sliver of information he provides and try to put together the puzzle of my Aspie son. What I know is he's very smart, obsessively interested in reptiles and electronics, sensitive to moisture and change, happy in his bubble of solitude. Apart from that, he's a mystery. Just when I think I know him or can anticipate his behavior, things change and for no apparent reason (to me).

We struggle to know how to raise him. Many a day, I just want to wrap him in bubble wrap and protect him from the challenges of the world. Some days, I think, "If only we were stricter, maybe..." or "He just needs more love, more understanding, more freedom to be who he is..." The truth is we just don't have all the answers, and the answers seem to always change.

We love our Aspie son desperately and know he came to us for a reason. He's changed us like none other and grown us in amazing ways. We'll continue to seek to understand and appreciate his world with each peek he provides.

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