by Kris Brobst
This is my first blog, so be a little patient. My blog is more about the experience of living with someone on the spectrum. My daughter, who refers to herself as an “Aspie”, picked the title for the blog. Living with her is sometimes funny, sometimes serious, sometimes sad, and always an adventure. One of the qualities I love most of my daughter’s is her honesty, brutal at times, yes, but honest.
In a world where we spend so much time trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings, we end up limiting opportunities for growth. Our “niceties” turn into roadblocks for growth in relationships, ourselves, and often, our work. Appearance take precedence over substance. We auto correct, digitally re-master, and photo shop out imperfections. We have grown to support a false illusion of the “perfect child/family”
Having a child on the spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, has shown me that there is truth in imperfection.
For example, a few years ago we were shopping at a local grocery store and we were in the 15 items or less aisle. The woman in front of us has a cart full. I see my child look at the sign, look at the cart, and look at the woman. I am penned in-between the lady with the overflowing cart and an elderly woman behind me. I can see my child cycling up. And here it comes.
"Mom, that lady has more than 15 items. I have categorized by color, shape, box vs non-box, frozen, fruit, and vegetables. She still has too much."
1st rule of Autism - Rules and routine
2nd rule - No voice modulation. Loud or louder.
The woman is now glaring at me.
"Mom the rule is 15 items or less it says it on the sign. Of course, it is up in the air so no braille. But if she was blind she couldn't drive a car and she has car keys. Mom why is she breaking the rule."
More glaring and I am really starting to sweat. I try to give my girl the dial down look. I try the refocus technique.
The older lady behind me says something like, “That’s right honey. No respect for anyone else these days."
And then I hear, "Mom why does she think she is more important and can break the rules?"
The lady who was in front is now done. I am pretty sure she will be waiting for me outside.
My child says, "Why did you let her break the rules?" After the initial mortification wore off, I too was left to wonder the same thing.
After safely making it to our car and home. We had a long discussion about appropriate venues for discussing topics. After being on the receiving end of so many “bad parent” looks, it was interesting to see through the lens of the other side.
Today we subconsciously, at times, as a group support behavior because we don't want to be offensive or just prefer to silently fume. In retrospect, all parties survived and maybe learned something too. My girl calls it as she sees it and, perfect or not, it is what is!
If you have any topics you would like me to address or situations you would like addressed, please let me know. Also we have formal support meetings the first Saturday of the month at CICS covering a variety of topics resuming in September. We have informal support group meetings the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Saturdays of the month. You can relax, chat if you want, or ask individual questions. You can follow me on twitter at kbrost2.