Archive for September, 2008

Image: Quick Silver on Surfer Village

Ladies, ladies, ladies: This special Asperger People In The News Is For You.

Clay Marzo is a good looking man in Hawaii who loves to surf and will be flashing his Malibu looks in the movie, “Just Add Water.” Funds from the DVD sales will go to Surfers Healing an organization dedicated to fighting autism. Marzo is 19 years young and only recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Like many Aspies, he’s always been drawn to his special interest and has become quite skilled at it. He has been recognized with 3 NSSA National Surfing Titles, a nomination for Maneuver (Surfing, that is) of the Year at the 2007 Surfer Magazine Poll and Video Awards, as well as video appearances in various surf movies.

Surfing does wonderful things for him, just as looking at him might do wonderful things for you.

“Just the feeling to get off the social side of everyone, just go surf and free your mind,” Marzo said.

He reports having sensory sensitivities and although sometimes social situations give him a wipeout, he’s quick to get back on board.

Relevant Things Mentioned In This Post:
Going MIA
The Special Interest
Possible Need For Earplugs

If you’re interested in reading the full stories, just go to KHNL as well as Surfer’s Village.

Images: KHNL

#22 Imitation

Written by SAPL on Wednesday, September 17th, 2008 in Socialization.

trekkyandy on Flickr

The Asperger will often imitate to get through various social situations when they are unsure of how to navigate them using their regular social skills and personalities. This can take on several forms from imitating social gestures, professional and business mannerisms, party talk, or even entire characters, such as “The girl pretending to laugh at the stupid boy’s jokes.”

Do you remember the fast food commercial (it may have been McDonald’s) where a business man walks into the eatery and finds one of his co-workers and says something like, “Oh, hi person at work I don’t really know or care about and I’m just here to get my coffee, but I’m still pretending to be friendly because I need to get promoted,” or something of that nature. There is no better explanation for the Aspie’s need to imitate. Situations call for social behaviors and the Aspie must perform them on cue whether it feels natural or not.

In most cases, imitation is good. If you really told the co-worker at McDonald’s, “I was really hoping you’d call in today. I’m going to have to find another McDonald’s or perhaps a Starbucks so I can avoid running into you,” your unemployment claims would outnumber breast implants in Hollywood.

But imitation can have a very dark side. Adolescent Aspies who imitate, “the bad kids,” will not only find themselves in trouble at school, but looking damn ridiculous as well. Imagine your coke bottled glasses, pocket protector wearing, ant-farmed carrying kid grabbing his crotch (held up by suspenders) and telling the teacher, “I don’t do homework #$%@*, I do your mom.” Point taken?

Bad imitation is scary and even an adult Asperger can succumb to it. Adult Aspies may find themselves imitating people they really don’t like or admire, pretending to take on values they really don’t have, faking emotions that are exactly the opposite of what they’re feeling, and having to recite too many scripted and phony responses.

When this happens, it’s tragic, but all is not lost. The yellow pages can sometimes be all the resources one needs for help and a few phone calls to some great divorce attorneys can quickly help the Aspie regain him or herself and snap out of that generic fog.

#21 Eating Routines And Food Presentation Preferences

Written by SAPL on Monday, September 8th, 2008 in Uncategorized.

Greefus Groinks on Flickr

It’s been said that there’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s. Once the Asperger finds his or her preference for eating the peanut butter chocolate goody, he or she will never eat it differently again. For those of you working in office settings, if you have an Aspie in the office and you know a Reese’s is her favorite treat-offer to buy it 2-3 times for her and watch her as she eats it. She might break the top off and lick the peanut butter, eat the outermost ridges, or take a stab in the middle and leave the ring for the end. Watch carefully and after the 2nd or 3rd time, you’ll find yourself cracking up. Or getting really, really, really weirded out.

Along with Eating The Same Foods Everyday, Aspergers like to stick to eating routines and reliable ways of have their food presented on the plate. That whole, “the kid likes it sliced in triangles and not rectangles,” sandwich thing is no joke for the Aspie. They may even eat in a particular order-green vegetables first, eat clockwise or counterclockwise, no mixing of side dishes, the ridiculous list goes on and on.

This may make for a challenging experience at restaurants when someone who is not as in tuned to the weirdo, or uh, particular eating preferences. If the Aspie is used to his favorite dish with finely chopped cucumbers and it is brought out in big chunks the chef has committed a sin worthy of 2,000 Hail Marys. An innocent waiter may even try to convince the Asperger the dish isn’t suppose to be different than what he received, but the Aspie is no fool! He knows the waiter is trying to pull one over on him in an attempt to get him to shut his mouth and tip well. And so the Aspie becomes even more determined to pursue the case.

“More cornstarch?”

“We don’t use cornstarch. We use potato flour.”

“Different brand of rice?”

“We’ve been using the same rice for the past decade?”

“Different area of the farm the cabbage was picked from?”

“How the #$@! would I know?”

Much ado will take place that involves supervisors, managers, and Prime Ministers if they can take a phone call. Dozens of trips to the kitchen and several conversations with the manager will result in the Aspie finally getting the meal presented in the way he likes–or the meal being dumped on his head, depending on if the waiter was able to sneak in a smoke break.

#20 Correcting

Written by SAPL on Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008 in Socialization.

Vesentico/Sento on Flickr

In the world of Aspergerness, there are usually 2 colors: Black and White. It’s either right or wrong, with no possibilities of shades in between. However, for many Aspies, the color palate can be expanded slightly to allow for times when others forget what color an issue should fall under: That color is red-for correction.

Aspies love to correct, both people and inanimate objects. It is an innate tendency that they attempt to conceal though numerous methods-biting the tongue or lip, pretending not to see or hear the mistake, or maybe convincing themselves that there really is another way of looking at it. But sooner or later, a huge volcanic-like reaction will occur in their bodies and minds, forcing them to tell the world just how things really should be.

This is helpful at times. We’d all like to know when there’s spinach on our teeth. If you hire an Aspie as your personal assistant, you ensure you’ll never be in the presence of your future in-laws with an unzipped fly. Ditto for bad grammar, incorrect or twisted facts, mispronunctiations, and your tendency to strech or leave out parts of a story. “There aren’t 12 monkeys at the zoo. Three of those are actually chimpanzees.

A tender moment between a couple can quickly be ruined by the Aspie’s need to correct. “You’re eyes are as blue as the sky,” will quickly be followed by, “The sky is more cyan than regular blue. If you think my eyes are cyan, that’s fine, but blue isn’t the best descriptive word if you’re going to be using the sky as a simile.” This same partner was rebuked last week for writing a love letter rife with spelling errors that the Aspie circled in red and returned.

A lover who finds him or herself in this situation can be redeemed by the all time symbol of couple apology and makeup: Buying a gift for the Aspie partner. Red pens and white out make good stocking stuffers as well as books containing titles like, “Myths Uncovered,” “Secrets Exposed,” and “The Truth About,” as they give the Aspie the reassurance that you agree upon the core values of any good relationship: trust, love, and a strong sense of telling each other and the rest of the world how everything that comes out of their mouths or is written by their hand is completely screwed up.

If you’re an Aspie and think something in this post is amiss, please correct it by saying something in the comment box.

Site Navigation