Thursday, July 14, 2016

Smart-aleck or ASD?

Research proves that sometimes individuals on the more high functioning end of autism suffer more from depression and loneliness as they get older. This is because they have a complete understanding of almost everything, yet they are not accepted by their peers as much as typical people are. Sadly, one of the reasons they are not accepted as much as their typical peers is because they are "different".
We all have our quirks yet they take quirkiness to a whole new level.

High functioning individuals have a difficult time with language even though they are verbal. Andrew is my very verbal child. No, not every person with autism is non-verbal or have limited language. Fifty percent of the individuals on the spectrum can talk functionally. Andrew is one of them. As Andrew gets older, he is really taking his  understanding of language to the extreme. Everything is taken literally. Once you tell Andrew something, it is what it is...and there is no telling him the opposite. He takes what you say the first time and there is no changing it!

For example, Andrew was walking up to a maze at the fair. Andrew just so happens to be at the beginning of the line. The worker told everyone to walk slowly and not to get in a hurry because he didn't want anyone to get hurt. Wow! Did Andrew ever take this man seriously!

Everyone was telling Andrew to walk faster. Andrew kept saying, "I was told to walk slow and I don't know how slow to walk."

It took Andrew 15 minutes to walk through a 1 minute short maze. Everyone was getting disgruntled with Andrew....the kids in the line...the workers at the fair....the parents around us. Finally, the other kids got smart and went around Andrew. Did Andrew follow their lead? NO! He continued to walk slower than a turtle. In fact some kids went through the maze  a few times before Andrew even reached the halfway point and this is no exaggeration.

The workers were beyond frustrated. Everyone was frustrated but Andrew just went at his own was unreal! You seriously had to be there to understand how slow he was moving. When he was done I told Andrew that he could have walked faster and Andrew said, "The man told me to walk slow and he didn't tell me how slow so I went slow mom."

My point of this is....neurotypical people have a good sense of understanding what is accepted as "slow" The other children involved in this situation  understood slow but had enough common sense to walk at a decent slow pace. Children on the spectrum do not have the understanding of something like this. They have to be explained in detail and shown what exactly a person wants them to do or it is all taken to the extreme!

How does this tie in with depression and anxiety? Easy! As Andrew gets older, his peers won't be as accepting of his challenges. A situation like this could be very easily turned into a bully situation. Sadly, I hear of those types of situation often. What is even more sad, I have heard adults talk about kids who are like this...adults who are teachers...adults who are coaches....adults who work with others with ASD......adults who don't understand ASD. These adults and fellow peers who don't understand think the person with autism is being a smart-aleck.

I thought I would pass along that story to make people realize that maybe they should think before they "judge" a child or even an adult.....they just may have an ASD.

1 comment:

  1. He's so great. I can picture him just enjoying it regardless of anyone.