International Asperger Syndrome Day
Do you remember how you felt the first time you saw a negative number or a derivative? How your brain tried to understand what it was about, to find a use for something so strange, so “useless” and difficult to understand?
I tend to think that this is how a person with Asperger Syndrome feels like every time a new social interaction come across.
Asperger Syndrome is a developmental disorder characterized by difficulties in social interaction and non verbal communication.
Lots of words to describe a group of people that understand the world in a total different way as non Asperger people do.
Their daily life feels the same as moving abroad to a different country, with a different culture and a different language. “Lost in translation all the time”. Gestures and non verbal communication don’t mean anything to them, words are understood the same way as they are said: no jokes, no similes or hyperboles allowed. It is like the talker would have a different language than the listener, but if you are not aware of it, you would not know.
Even though they seem exactly like any other person, they do not act like it is expected. They don’t need to be cured, but it can be helped.
The same way you learn how to understand mathematics in school, they can learn how to behave in the society we have built.
And they do it as we learn any other subject at school, by analyzing, repeating and doing.
Social skills sheets are used to set rules for everything in their life: how to play with other children, going to someone’s house for the very first time, queuing for recess, how to behave when someone annoys or bullies them.
Everything affects them in a different level as it affects the rest of the population. The noise made by children playing around could be like being inside a discoteque and the beginning of the Spring could sense like being inside a perfume bottle.
At the beginning the world around them is something difficult to follow, decipher, remember and understand, just the same way it happens when you have to remember the table of 9, but with practice it starts to be easier to handle and they are able to blend with the other kids in class.
This is also the reason why the love routines: when you are new in a city, you are always worried to try new ways to go home, just in case you will get lost and worried. Taking the same path everyday, no taking risks, makes them feel safer and content.
But they have also many positive things: they are very affectionate and caring, even if sometimes they do not know how to show it to others; they know a lot about specific things they like; they never lie, being sometimes extremely sincere and above all they are very brave, dealing every day with unexpected situations, people that do not understand them and plenty of stimulus flying around.
So now you know. If a child (or an adult) around you behaves different as expected, if it does not make eye contact or replies the wrong answer to a question, maybe you are in front of an ‘Aspie’.
Just remember to explain everything very carefully and with simple words, without similes or jokes. Be patient, repeat and smile. They feel the same that you feel: love, surprise, sadness or happiness and there is nothing wrong with them. They just see the world in a different way than you do.
And as an image says more than words (at least to many of us), I let Arthur to explain a little more to you:
I have always believed that the first step for helping and respecting other people starts with understanding. That although we all are different, we have the same right to be happy. I want to make this world better one step at a time.
And you? Do you want to help?
Happy mum of two boys, always looking for the bright side of life.
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