I asked son "What does Autism mean to you?"

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Dec 25, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I saw this question in another forum and so I asked my son. This was our conversation.
    I asked him, "What does autism mean to you."
    He shrugged.
    I asked again and he rolled his eyes, like "Mom, please..."
    I said, "I really want to know."
    He then said, "It means I think differently."
    I asked how and he said, "Like everyone wants to have a girlfriend, but I don't."
    I asked why and he said, "Because I need to be alone sometimes."
    I asked if a girlfriend means he'd have to always be with her. He said, "Too many problems."
    Trying not to laugh, I asked, "So I guess you don't want to ever get married."
    He said, "NO!" (lol)
    I asked about his homecoming date, the girl who is such a good friend of his. He said, "We decided it was just a dance and we're not going out."
    I asked if that's what he wanted and he said, "Yes."
    I asked if he wanted to go to college, and he said, "No. It's boring."
    I asked what he wanted to do when he grew up (he's 15 1/2). He said, "Drive. And work in a videogame store."
    I moved on and asked if anything was hard for him and he said, "Talking to people. I don't know what to say. I can hardly talk to my friends." (I could see he was uncomfortable as we visited at Christmastime. He did not speak much and acted more "autistic" than usual, not making eye contact and sort of trying to not be noticed. He does have a group of friends at school. They eat together, but rarely see each other outside of school.
    I asked if it bothered him to be different and he shrugged and said, "Not usually."
    I asked if he liked "regular" kids or "differently wired" kids and he said, "It doesn't matter."
    Autism for my son means he will probably live pretty independently with assisted help and a roommate. If he doesn't get a nudge from somebody he will not bathe or brush his teeth or bother to wear clean clothes. And he may just play videogames all day and not do much of anything else, except go to work. I don't believe he will have a high-powered job as I don't think he can multi-task well, but we'll see. As of now, I don't think he will have the "normal" goals of wife and kids. I just can't see it, but we'll see. It's totally up to him. Autism means he will forever be naive. Street smarts this young man will never have. But he WILL be a happy, productive, loving person who everyone adores. They already do. It's interesting to watch them grow up. He wasn't able to talk until age 5 or potty until 5. He is doing so well!
    This was a copy and paste of my answer on another forum so if some of it is redundant (I've shared it before) that's why.
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Success comes in different forms, different ways of life. Ultimately, it boils down to what makes you happy, satisfied, fulfilled. And no matter what that is, if your son finds that, he will be successful in his life.

    I had naive and romantic ideals of how my children would be and what they would grow up to become. I'm slowly learning to adjust to the reality that my parental fantasies are likely to be very different from what my kids eventually end up doing in their lives. I just want them to be happy and secure, and I'm recognizing that those two needs can be met in so many different ways.

    It's so great that your son is doing well and has come so far! He may suprise you one day and find someone to love and have close in his life. That may not happen until he is much older, but it still may happen.

    And for what it's worth, his lack of awareness with hygiene, love of video games, and microscopic social circle sound very much like my difficult child 1, who doesn't seem too bothered by his "specialness" either ;)
  3. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I'm working to get difficult child 3 heading towards a career in IT, especially if I can get something to do with computer games and writing them. Another option is to steer him towards any computer-based photographic work, such as Photoshop or what is to come afterwards. I'm thinking of getting his help next tie I have en editing/layout job to do, to see how he manages it.

    Our kids have their weak areas but they also have their strengths. I've found that both my boys gravitate to people who are similarly wired, and when these friends get together it's fascinating. The loyalty they have for one another is wonderful. difficult child 3 has good friends in his drama class, as well as good friends who are NT but very bright and much younger than him. In fact, we've just got back from the beach where we met up with a young girl who is NT but borderline genius; her mother came with us and we all sat and talked while the kids played in the water. The girl showed us a spot in the water where the current runs deep and fast, the tide was on the run in and she had found where you can play "Poohsticks" with your body in the current. Swimming against the current was like having your own lap pool, the current was so strong.

    The sort of kids who discover these things are very much needed in our society, in many different niches. They do not have to be good with other people, as long as they are keen observers and skilled, meticulous recorders of data.

    Or there's BF2 - he has a job where he pays games all day. OK, he IS in retail, he works in a store where gaming is played, he supervises and moderates the games. School holidays are his busiest times at work, he only gets time off outside school breaks. So he goes to work, and plays Warcraft. Then he comes home, and plays Warcraft to relax. He got the job because he knows the game so well. They love him there because he is so good at knowing the game and also painting figurines (which he loves to do). He buys the figurines wholesale, paints them for the shop. He then claims the cost of the things he buys against tax. He gets the fun of painting them up AND gets a tax discount to do so, because it's work-related.

    There are always niches somewhere for kids like ours. I got difficult child 1 onto disability as soon as he was old enough, I will do the same for difficult child 3. But there are often a lot of supports aimed at getting our kids into the workforce somewhere, or even into a useful unpaid occupation (for Diversional Therapy purposes).

    Are there any local autism groups in your area? Or general disability groups? You might find something for him like our drama class. I know there are other disability things in our area, including soccer for young people with disabilities. Or he could join a club for people with similar interests - I know socially he would be nervous of this, but if he gets a chance to share with people stuff on the things he loves (and they love too) then it might help him socially.

    It's good that he sees himself as "differently wired" rather than flawed. You've done a good job there.

  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Marg, my son isn't at the academic levels your kids are. He is in 9th grade and was tested and is around 5th grade level. He does well in school and tries hard, but he's not advanced. He was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, but recently Aspergers. Not all Aspies can live independently, and I'm ok with it if he can't completely do it. As for love and marriage, right now he doesn't WANT that, and I sure don't want to nudge him toward a life he isn't interested in. If one day he changes his mind and it happens, then it does. But that's something he may not ever warm up to. He likes to have people to talk to--to a point. But I can really see how having somebody around too much would crowd his space. Maybe a female Aspie would work...lol. He is still youngish--impossible to predict the far future. I have three other kids that I see and one grandson--they are all typical. I can handle one who is "wired differently!" He is just a wonderful young man, but he will never be able to take a leadership role at work and take charge. Somebody is going to have to tell him what to do and, he'll do a good job, but he's not a self-starter. Job Services will probably have to place him, and that's ok. He'll enjoy anything he does if the people think he is doing well and working hard. Although he can "pass" at a familiar place like school, it is VERY obvious he is Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) when he is around people he doesn't see as often. I can't see him doing well in retail where he'd have to talk to people a lot. So we'll see. He is a pretty typical Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) adult--high funcntioning, but not one of the brainiacs ;)
  5. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    My oldest decided he wanted to be an air craft mechanic at age 12 and lived his high school "career" with that goal.

    When someone asked my youngest if HE was like his brother and knew what he wanted to do in life, he responded "Be one of those people that at age 50 live in their parent's basement and play video games all day and call into talk radio."!!!

    He works, but he'll never be in a "high power" job either. He can't handle the pressure or cut-throatness of it. He's looking at being a nurse or vet tech. We know he's not cut out for a four year college away from home.

    He's yet to have a date. Yet he's outgoing and loves to volunteer. He just has a hard time relating to peers.

    He's who he is.
  6. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    MWM, what I was trying to say - he will find his level. difficult child 1 isn't working at anything too brain-powered, but the furniture company loves his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as it applies to furniture sanding. He does the job fast and thoroughly, better than anyone else, because he is so meticulous. So difficult child 1 spends his days permanently placed in the sanding booth. I hope he doesn't stay there all his life but for now he's happy that he's valued for a job well done.

    He will find something, and find companionship. The good qualities that go with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in its many forms, will see to that. But yes, it will take longer and he will need more support along the way.

  7. compassion

    compassion Member

    Maurarite, The furniture company appreciating your son's Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) remiinded me of difficult child and the Humane Society. She is fast, loyal, willling to work hard and gifted with animals. She volunteers now and they want her to fill out a regular application.
    I agree, focus on strengths. I try not to compare.
    She has many of the traits listed :persevering, loyal. When stable, she wants to follow rules. She will do same thing over and over. Compassion