Archive for July, 2008

The Aspie is a lover of all rules. It is not enough to just follow them, in some cases, the Aspie feels he or she must create more rules and enforce rules on other people. Usually, the Aspie just feels he/she is doing the right thing because it’s what they learned and due to their impaired Theory of Mind and White Board issues (the way they learned it 1st is the way they will always see it), they can’t see any other way of doing it. Some may be driven because of anxiety of breaking a social norm and desperately wanting to do what is proper.

Still, others suffer from R.E.P.=Rule Enforcement Pissiness.

This phenomena can be explained by the following: Growing up and even as an adult, the Aspie learned that some of his/her behavior and mannerisms were not necessarily appropriate socially (staring hard at people that looked damn fine, telling them they are indeed “too fat,” and then saying, “You wanted to know.” People who cared for the Aspie’s social development (and wanted to protect them from getting their arse kicked) constantly reminded the Aspie of what social norms were and how to follow them. Eventually, most of them got this and were able to at least fake their way through.

However, it was quite unnatural and what was worse was observing other seemingly neurotypical people breaking all the rules the Aspie was so chastised for doing: Being rude, offensive, saying overtly sexual lines, grabbing…well you get the point. “Screw this,” the Aspie thought. “If I have to follow these weird social rules, then I’m going to make sure everyone does.” And off on a mission the Aspie went to help enforce them, being seriously afflicted with R.E.P.

Great careers in administration, auditing, and neighborhood association weirdo who is always seen carrying a yardstick to measure your grass blades and walks onto everyone’s lawn to push the garbage cans to their appropriate distance from curb were launched.

Before these careers, the Aspie had lots of practice in school-reminding the teachers there was still 3 minutes of class left and students should not be dismissed. Telling the college professor she shouldn’t cancel class because the are X number of classes on the syllabus and students are paying for X number of classes. Maybe even going to the dean to complain…

It’s important that the Aspie realize it is not about themselves changing. They should continue living their life according to their rules and it’s probably healthier that they do. This rule adherence is more than likely responsible for the Aspie achieving in areas where they excel such as science and other protocol following callings.

R.E.P. is not fatal, yet downright annoying, but can be alleviated once the Asperger learns or at least partially learns that everything is not black and white. This can be accomplished by having the Aspie exposed to different people and environments, giving explanations of why things can have more than one solution, etc. A 4 year stint at a nice liberal arts university might help in this process as the Aspie can observe many people who have different rules, and are either creating their own rules, changing rules, or even downright disregarding them.

This will result in the Aspie realizing that yes, there are shades or gray. Either that or they will run off to join a priesthood/nunnery as reactive therapy.

#4 Special Interests

Written by SAPL on Monday, July 14th, 2008 in Hobbies and Special Interests.


foetusized

If you happen to be in the company of the Asperger and he or she has not told you about their “special interest,” it won’t be long before you find out and once you do, they will never shut-up about it.

Special interest, otherwise known as the “big interest,” can be explained by experts as Aspies having an “encyclopedic knowledge,” of certain information. Special interest range from computers to history to sports facts to porn (see, some Aspies really aren’t that different from neurotypicals) to horses to you name it. The special interest probably developed at a very young age and the Aspie has devoted lots of time reading, researching, collecting, or doing whatever it takes to learn more about the topic. He or she has also taken turns driving various individuals nuts talking about the special interest-from family to teachers to friends and even total strangers who don’t have the audacity to walk away.

It’s important that the Aspie create an environment where the special interest can be pursued. This includes making a strong presence during family vacation decision meetings where he or she can ensure the family is visiting a city which includes museums, shops, and other places where the special interest can be fostered.

The urge to chase the special interest can pop up anywhere. For example, if a husband and wife are sitting at the dinner table at (insert special or important person’s home-boss, in-laws, etc.) the following conversation might take place:

Aspie Spouse: Hey,___, can I use your computer for a minute?
Host: Sure, it’s right over in the other room. Forgot to send some emails to the co-workers before you left work?
Aspie Spouse: (looking at watch) No, I’ve only got 15 minutes left to bid on a rare CD on eBay! (the rare CD being of part of his music collection of 100s).

Note: Although this might incite a dirty and embarrassed look from the neurotypical spouse, the pursuit of the special interest will not be hindered provided the host has paid the DSL bill and the cat hasn’t broken the computer.

Big life decisions must be planned around the special interest. When choosing a home, the Aspie is faced with tough choices. Pay more for the home with the 2-car garage so that 1 garage can be used for the special interest? Although they have 2 children, a 4 bedroom home is necessary for extra storage for the special interest collection. If they are “accidentally blessed” with another child…well…children should learn to share now shouldn’t they?

#3 Marriages To People From Other Countries

Written by SAPL on Monday, July 14th, 2008 in Marriage and Dating, Socialization.

It is known that many Aspergers, especially in the U.S.,  marry people from foreign countries. This may be due to several reasons. Many countries do not have the same social rules and thus these rules do not get in the way and the social “awkwardness” does not occur when dating someone from another country.  People from countries other than America will often attribute an Asperger’s social differences to cultural or simply don’t care. Whatever the reason, it is important that the Aspie recognize this early on and, like every other social mountain they might have to climb, learn to how to successfully work around this difference.

Dating and marrying a foreign person can be an exhilarating and satisfying experience, but like any relationship, it must be taken with caution. For example, some Asperger men or maybe even women place personal ads inviting foreigners to come to the U.S. for love, marriage, and hopes of a family. However, not all of these individuals are looking for love and some socially naive Aspies learn the hard way that they were taken for a green card ride.

Once an Aspie male or female learns of the advantages of intercultural love, he or she should jump right on it and waste no time in finding love. No stone should be left unturned, no opportunity missed. Take as many foreign language classes as possible in high school or even college. Join culture clubs, both for learning about the world around you and checking out the European hottie down the street from you.

While still living at home with the parents, encourage them to host a foreign exchange student, preferably multiple, and all of the particular gender you are interested in. You might even try to convince these exchange students it is “custom” for the exchange student to marry the son/daughter of the host 5-10 years down the line, much like arranged marriages in other countries. Say it was written in the exchange contract and approved by the school. Heck, say it’s the law-do you really think 16 year olds have bothered memorizing every one before they came over here?

#2 Going MIA At Social Gatherings

Written by SAPL on Sunday, July 13th, 2008 in Socialization.

The Party’s Getting Started!

1/2 Hour Later…

It is a misconception that Aspergers do not like to socialize, probably created by some of the idiots who get annoyed at Aspie traits that are in fact just different. Aspies do socialize-they just don’t require nearly as much of it as neurotypicals do. That being said, when many Aspies come along for social gatherings-birthday parties, reunions, etc., they will spend a few minutes chatting then quickly move on to something else that sparks their interest and is usually a solitary activity, otherwise known as Going MIA At Social Gatherings.

The solitary activity may range from catching up on a work or personal project, reading the latest Journal of American Medical Association to catch up on the latest statin information, surfing the internet, etc., etc. It’s not that the Aspie is trying to be rude and shun everyone at the party-it’s simply that they do not have a need to do any more socializing and pretending to do so will only result in boredom, irritation, etc.

Neurotypical friends and family who don’t realize the Aspie doesn’t have the same level of social need as they may mistakenly coax or even demand the Aspie stop running away and socialize more. They may make it a point to invite them to 2x as many social functions after they realize how the Aspie behaves, thinking the Aspie simply needs “exposure” or “practice” in being more social. This can result in numerous reactive behaviors from the Aspie, ranging from creating excuses to being downright rude to guest because they feel they are “forced” into situations and words and feelings are being put into their mouths (“I don’t have a social phobia…I am not shy…I just don’t care for it”).

Sooner or later the Aspie gets smart and learns to use these “forced socialization” events to their advantage, such as agreeing to go the the friend’s party for obtaining her MBA just because they know the friend has a NICE CD burner in the upstairs room where they can burn the latest live Radiohead concert mp3s. Or, they might think to themselves, “Oh, they own that cool dog. He’ll be great to play with.” Food is always a motivator for everyone, Aspie or neurotypical, and good grub may be worth a thousand small talks to some.

In summary, Aspies like socialization, they just don’t need as much of it as neurotypicals do.

#1 Making Lists

Written by SAPL on Saturday, July 12th, 2008 in Organization.

List Courtesy of Tada lists
tadalist

List making is the one of the most preferred methods of organizing for Aspies. The typical Asperger guy or gal may spend a lot of time making lists, lists of lists, list of when to make more lists, list of how to organize lists, and so forth.

List making is one of the hallmark traits a neurotypical will give when describing their Aspie friend, family member, or partner. Usually, this is done in a negative way-as if there is a problem with making lists.

Like many other traits the Aspie possesses that may irk his/her neurotypical company, list making is just another way the Asperger organizes his/her life and makes him/her so efficient at doing the things they do so well.

There may be a few times when list making is taken to the extreme. For example, in an episode of Seinfeld, George made a list consisting of “Crib Notes,” in ink on his palm in order to remember how to impress his new romantic interest in bed. “Crib Notes,” on the hand are NOT good lists, and any Aspie (or neurotypical for that matter) should avoid or at least try to reduce making this type of list as much as possible.

Finally, if there was any evidence to show how good lists can be, we only have to look at one very powerful figure in biblical history. That’s right, Moses. He took a simple list, 10 items, and wrote this on a stone tablet. Yet this great organizer performed feats that most neurotypicals and Aspies both could only dream to do.

So the next time an Aspie is questioned or criticized about list making, he or she should remember: Can this person put up with people for 40 years in a hot desert? Are they able to separate seas? If list making puts the Aspie in the company of anyone who can do this, then it’s certainly not a bad habit at all.



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