My Creative Voice

Trying to add value, make sense of what's coming next and keeping things going in the same direction.

>He Looks Me in the Eye

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>I keep looking for info to understand my boy. I’ve read the technical books. I’ve signed up for websites. I’ve attended the Walk for Autism. I’ve traded emails with a parent whose child was suspected of having Aspergers. But so far none of these methods has offered an insight to how my son functions. How he feels about things. How he might perceive the world. Then I read John Robison’s book “Look Me in the Eye”. The title immediately caught my attention as we had spent years saying the same thing to Thomas accompanied by two fingers directed at our eyes so he had a visual. Initially, we just thought he was being rude when he wouldn’t look at us. We thought we were raising him properly. As Mr. Robison alludes to in his book, people who don’t look you in the eye are generally perceived as shifty or up to no good. Seeing how we started our little “eye training” at the age of 1 1/2 or so, it’s doubtful Thomas was up to serious trouble. However, the fear of him growing up to be a future juvenile offender was in the back of our minds.

Since then, I have learned that this was Thomas’ way to cope with stimulus. We joke now that we were inadvertently engaging in IB therapy before we even knew we needed it. He does, however, now for the most part look people in the eye when he meets them and during conversations. He has to gaze avoid now and then but hell, so do I depending on who I’m speaking to and the state of their breath.

My son is easier to speak to now. He can express more about how he is feeling or how someone makes him feel. He is quite expressive and is free from the monotone, inflexionless voice that can characterize most Asperger people. He is funny. He loves to tell jokes although the ones he makes up are for his sense of humor only. He loves to tell stories about his day or what he saw on TV. He is very empathetic to all types of situations. I mention these things because before reading Mr. Robison’s book, I did not appreciate these characteristics. I did not appreciate that these things can be difficult for most Asperger’s to master. I’m hopeful that we have done all we can to help him avoid some of the social pitfalls that Asperger kids can fall into. He gets bullied occasionally. He is perceived as weird or odd by some people. But overall, the feedback is that he is a polite, caring, nice little fella who is welcome in most people’s homes. That’s more than I can say for some of the little buggers on the playground.

My boy causes stress. My boy causes grey hair. My boy causes shouting and upset. In other words – he is “normal”. Whatever that means ….

Author: Elizabeth Plouffe

Writer, communicator, entrepreneur, tea enthusiast (bordering on fanatic) who enjoys helping others connect. Cookbook reader, cottage lover, book devourer (apparently I make up my own language too) and seeker of the ambition to exercise.

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