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Re: ADD Asperger Syndrome

Re: ADD Asperger Syndrome2011-01-18T20:20:49+00:00

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Some additional thoughts…

I was just thinking about Dr. Jain’s videos on “doorways,” and realized something about roles in relation to Asperger’s as well.

“Roles,” or “acting” is often referred to as a practical “way of life” for those with AS, far more so than those without it.

Roles are extremely difficult for “Aspies” to adopt, given their extremely strong self-identity. “Self” (as in the “Aut” in Autism), is what Autism is all about, as I’m sure you know. I can only speak from my own experiences, and not for everyone on the Autistic spectrum. My experience, especially when much younger, was that playing roles was kind of like pretending to be somebody else, not who I really am, always in favor of other people’s expectations of me, rather than being “honestly” who I am.

At my age, and after a great deal of experience and learning, I’ve come to understand that these roles aren’t necessarily as I used to think (as in, the roles are “not me”), but are, rather, extensions of me, or different “versions” of me. That took a long time to learn and accept though. As a child, a teenager, and into my early thirties to mid thirties, that seemed impossible to accept. It seemed “untrue” to me.

I remember feeling very strongly I was always being asked, or even demanded, to be someone other than who I really was.

I have a son, twelve now, who is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and ADHD, and has had an IEP at school since he was nine. His IEP has included allowances for one on one help with his school work. This has entailed a few different para-educational workers to help him out over the years. I asked him recently what he thought their job was.

His answer was “They think their job is to fix me.”

When I asked him what he meant by that, his answer was, “To change the way I do things, change my personality. Change who I am.”

I think we know what they are really trying to do is help him understand that at school, he needs to play a role. The role of “student.” Obviously, from his answers to me, he doesn’t understand that playing certain roles, and behaving differently in different settings, doesn’t necessarily mean his core being has changed. To him, his behaviors ARE his core being.

Having come from the same outlook myself, and having taken so long to learn to understand the subtle difference between changing who I am and changing my behaviors, or taking on various roles, I can strongly identify with his view point, while at the same time know that view point isn’t quite accurate.

The problem is, I know no other way to learn this than from extensive experience, because that’s how I learned it. Nobody really taught me this. That said, I’ve no clue how to help him understand what I’ve learned, but I sure do hope to figure out a way to help him in this regard. I would love to be able to give all of my kids the advantage I never had, of learning and understanding these principles earlier than I did.

I was FORTY before I began to grasp these things! Needless to say, that’s a lot of years fumbling around like a blind man in a crowded club. Man I hope I can help them grasp this kind of stuff early enough to equip them when it matters most, in early adulthood, instead of middle age like me!