The lighter side to raising a child with Asperger's

My little boy Drake, is the most unique character I know. Drake was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome a few years ago and while yes, this provides for many challenges, it also provides a unique view on life. I want to share some of the lighter side to having a child with Asperger's, maybe if you have challenges like his in your family, you'll be able to see. See that life is hard sometimes, but it doesn't have to always be.
Enjoy! Jessica

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In a world of black and white

I've often heard people with Asperger's described as seeing the world in black and white. When I say black and white I don't necessarily mean color-wise, it's more of a right or wrong, like or dislike, yes or no description. I've been thinking about whether this accurately describes Drake's view of the world as well. I think the answer might be yes.
For example:
Drake is loud. He's loud when he talks, he's loud as he lopes through the hall, he turns his D.S. up quite loud as well. I mention to Drake that he needs to talk quieter and he whispers, I ask him to walk quieter and he tiptoes, I ask him to turn down his game and he silences it. It doesn't matter if I tell him he doesn't need to whisper, or tiptoe, or turn his game all the way down, that is his automatic response.

As most people with Asperger's, Drake has limited interests and can become quite obsessed with his passion of choice. He loves anything Lego, Pokemon, or Mario/Nintendo related, it's very hard to get him interested in much of anything else. He'll only read comic strip type books (like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Capt'n Underpants) or Pokemon guide books. Drake is at an age where he needs to be aware that there are so many other great and exciting things out there and learning about them too is where you gain knowledge. His teacher won't let him bring comic strip books for his Silent Sustained Reading and I'm trying to encourage him to read some classics instead. I sent my copy of "Around the World in 80 Days" with him today and we will be taking a trip to the city library with all of them soon. I'm not saying that Drake wouldn't be perfectly happy to read science books or whatnot instead and that's fine too, I just would like to encourage him to read other things as well. It's hard to become a well-rounded individual without being exposed to many different things.

I've also noticed that his opinions tend to be "all or nothing" in character as well. He classifies things without any shades of gray. Things are either believable or not in his opinion and that has been very hard to convince him otherwise. This makes for some interesting discussions on religion as well. I was trying to explain the reason for Christmas about it being a celebration of the birth of Christ and all I got from Drake was, "That is if you believe in that religion, I think the meaning of Christmas is the spirit of giving." He's right of course in a way and honestly I wasn't expressing any views on religion at all, I was just explaining the reason the holiday was celebrated in the first place. I was too tired to try to explain further and will have to approach that subject again later.

Think about it this way though, wouldn't it be easier if the world was black and white? Things wouldn't get complicated and messy they would be just wrong or right. Judgments would easy to make, lessons would be easy to learn. You do this and you die you don't and you live, not this might kill you or not, that might save you or not as well. See what I mean? A simplistic view of the world can be helpful in someways, but since the world is colored in shades of gray I'm afraid it could be more if a hindrance for Drake.