A Question for all Aspie Parents

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Registered: 04-05-2003
A Question for all Aspie Parents
10
Thu, 09-18-2003 - 11:47pm
Is this something unique to my 9 year Aspie or does anyone else have this?

Jordan cannot transfer the same action from one situation to the same situation the next time. For example we eat in this same pizza place for the past 9 years. We have to clean up after we eat. It's the same routine every time (something I though he thrived on). After we are done eating, he asks the same question, "What do I do with my dirty stuff?". When I say to him "What do you think you should do with your dirty stuff?", he says "If I knew, I wouldn't have asked you." He's dead serious. Mind you we've never had anyone clear off our table when we were done eating, it's always us. It's like each experience is a complete picture, not a continous movie, so he doesn't build on his experiences and carry forward.

Does anyone know what this is called, if there is a name for it? It drives me crazy. I know he's not pulling my leg because he's really confused. He's done it to my parents (with equally shocked reactions from them), so I know it's just not me.

Leenie

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Registered: 07-11-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 7:46am
I don't know the technical name for it, other than maybe 'dissasociative occurances', but yes, I see it here with my Aspies too.

DH has his routines that if interupted will cause him to litterally shut down completely. We have learned the hard way that being home in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday is incredably hard for him. BUT, everytime it comes time to clean the swimming pool he can't remember what needs to be done. He's only done it every week for the last 4 years, the same way everytime. But he still comes and asks me or my partner Scott what needs to be done. "Skim the top, add chlorine, clean the filters, and sweep the bottom and sides." we say. and he'll respond "How much clorine should I add?" HELLO! "3 scoops." we say, to which he responds "3 scoops with what cup?" GRRRRRRR "The one that's in the clorine bucket." And he does that with other things too.

Oh hey, ya know what? It just occurred to me that this is probably the same thing as the homework issue, just in a different venue. I say that b/c I was about to mention ade's problems with getting her worksheets done. That, and she constantly askes when we ar going to have school.....it's been from 1pm to 6pm for 3 years now, but everyday she still asks. sigh.

And dgm does it too but she has a different twist. She can't remember other people's rouitnes to save her life. She is constantly asking me when I am going to go grocery shopping for bulk items. Every weekend I go, and every Tuesday or Wenesday she asks If i'm going that day. "And who is going to watch the kids for me while you and Craig are both at work? AND how am I supposed to get there if you have the car?" She'll say "Oh, well, I just thought that Scott might be over today and he might take you." Again I point out that I still wouldn't have a babysitter, but it never sinks in. "I go shopping on the weekends, Grandma." "Oh.". But the next Monday we'll have the same conversation, word for word.

I have to keep reminding myself that the wording in the DSM-IV is "seemingly inflexable adhearence to non-functional routines..." with an emphisis on 'non-functional'. If DH misses his daily entertainment from 9pm to midnite he litterally starts to twitch. THIS is a non-functional routine, the 'normal' world won't come to an end if he misses his computer game, card games, or movies, but he acts like his will. And if Jade doesn't get her morning orange juice she wigs out and handflapps all day long. It doesn't matter that we have 4-5 different juices in the house at any given time, if we run out of O.J. Jade falls apart, other juices are fine for lunch but not for breakfast. Eva swears she'll die without her Ovaltine before bed (okay, so Jade agrees with her). There are lots of things on her diabetes boost list she can have to get the sugars she needs to carry her through the night, but ONLY Ovatine will keep her from dying. (She does a great death scene btw, lol, very dramatic little actress). All these things are non-functional, but they simply can't live without them.

The swimming pool on the other hand will turn into Lake Swampy and attract things like West Nile carrying miquittoes if it's not cleaned regularly though. And can DH remember how to do it? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooo. LOL, you're not alone. I'll grab the snacks if you grab the gas card and we can all go crazy together. LOL.

Peace,

Candes

Avatar for rissc
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Registered: 03-26-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 8:54am
LOL Sounds good:)

We have similar problems with ds. He asks everytime if he can sleep with his door open or use the computer. If I don't answer with a definite yes and instead just nod my head or say "uh huh", he freaks out and keeps asking me until I do answer with a verbal "yes". We did have one moment when he stopped asking to sleep in his sleeping bag on the floor. It really shocked me as he did it without asking!:)

Larissa

Larissa
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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 10:49am
Hi there:

Yup! Same thing happens "everytime" to us with DS as well. If have to tell him where to find the napkins one more time....grrrrr.

I've always thought this was somehow due to DSS's complete "literalism." Since every single detail of whatever circumstance is not the same as the last time he was asked to do something (for example, the fork is on the plate instead of the table when he's asked to clean up) he has to go through the entire set of "rules" again. Each avtivity it's the same thing - as long as EVERY SINGLE detail is the same, we're good to go. If they aren't (which frankly how could they be) he has to be told again what to do. AND - heaven help us if we tell him 3 steps at once.

Haven't you all noticed how good you're getting at saying - "get your shoes" instead of "go upstairs and get your shoes"? Funny thing is, that DSS will go get the shoes, but since I didn't say "and put them on" that has to then be told separately. :-) It's some kind of funny life we NTs lead. They train us gooooood. LOL.

Jackie

Avatar for littleroses
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 1:02pm
It's funny what you adapt as normal. I just thought it was my kid. My 9 year old is diagnosed ADHD, but I strongly suspect she is Aspie. Her 1st grade teacher told me she was flaky because she would tell my dd to put her homework in her folder. She would then put it in her folder, but not put the folder in her backpack. Why is the teacher mad, I put my homework in the folder. She would not do things that others take for granted as being COMMON SENSE. I chalked it up to being forgetful or being an especially goofy kid, maybe even quirky.

So, I wonder also if there is a technical term. Teacher told me she was flaky. We NT's figure it's common sense. I don't know what to call it without it sounding like a negative.

This is going to sound really awful, but I have a dog and I see a lot of comparisons between my daughter and the dog. This is a metaphor, mind you, I know my daughter is human! But, when training a dog, you have to make it very clear what you want it to do. Nothing we do is common sense to a dog. The dog understands over time that this signal means we want this action to take place and then he gets a reward. If we are ambiguous about the signal, then the dog has no way of picking up on our subtleties. I have to make it very clear that I want the dog to sit. Most children, over time, learn to pick up our subtleties, facial expressions, body language but what about the ones who don't? They need to clearly know that you are not happy with certain behavior. Oftentimes, we need to do more than just say it, but need reinforcers like rewards. The dog also needs to learn to do the action in different settings. If you teach the dog to sit only right before meals, he may not associate sitting anywhere else, like at the vet or in the park. Most of us can apply what we've learned to different situations, but my daughter needs to experience it in every combination it could take place. No matter how angry, frustrated or whatever you feel towards your dog, it still doesn't translate into what action you are wanting to take place.

I also know that ADHD, at least, affects the frontal lobe. I am not sure about AS. Since the frontal lobe is the center for our executive functioning, it basically is what makes us human. I think children, in general, are more animal-like because they are continuously developing that frontal lobe over years. Which is why a 2 year old doesn't have the impulse control of grownups. I don't mean, a 2 year old is non-human, but a 2 yr old is still developing that portion of the brain that has evolved for humans over eons for executive functioning. I imagine my ADHD daughter's frontal lobe being impaired and causing her to be incredibly impulsive, difficult for her to learn from past mistakes or predict future consequences. She truly lives in the present. She is unable to prioritize information coming into her head. A cat meowing outside her window gets the same priority as anything else she is doing or experiencing. I have learned to filter it out the background, like most of us do.

Anyway, I hope this isn't misconstrued. I don't think my daughter is an animal or less than a person, but the analogy helps me to better communicate with her. My AS dd is also fairly rigid in thinking. I was so angry when the teacher told me my 9 year old was flaky. I know a lot more than I did then though. It has been frustrating over the years to live with someone so literal. It's hard to tell a 9 year old how to do every single thing when you are expecting her to have caught on by now. It must have been more frustrating for her, I imagine.

Thanks for bringing this up. I like having something like this to think about as you can tell by my long-winded post!


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Registered: 03-27-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 1:29pm
EXACTLY!

I train and show horses for a hobby and I have often told people that they are the most perfect autistic being in the world.

They need everything to be "just so" in their worlds or all sorts of things happen. And, when I show one an obstacle and it spooks going in one direction, I can help it get over the fear and learn what do do around that obstacle. But, when we approach it from another direction - although it is exactly the same obstacle, we have to spook all over again and start at square one.

My DSS gets along VERY well with the horses.

It's an interesting train of thought!

Jackie

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Registered: 07-11-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 5:27pm
Bwhaaahahaha!! LOL. My DH has been saying for a long time that Aspies are like like dogs. Of, course, in his mind, dogs are a higher quallity of being than most hominids. He also sees them as his peers...oh wait, that's cats.....cats are peers, dogs are children, lol. Don't worry, I think that all of us have the made that connection at least once in our carees as Aspie-a-holics.

Peace,

Candes

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Registered: 07-22-2003
Fri, 09-19-2003 - 11:18pm
Everyday when Seth gets up for school it is like he is doing it for the first time. After he eats, he has to be told to go brush his teeth and wash. After he is done he will go lay on his bed or play on the computer if you don't tell him to go get dressed. Then after that you have to tell him to put his your socks on. If you don't, he will wait until it is time to walk out the door before he will do it. Seth, by the way hates to have clothes on other than his shorts, I believe this is a sensitivity issue associated with Aspergers. As a result he will delay getting dressed as long as he can get away with it. Conversly, he will strip off everything as soon as he is home. Then he will toss it on the floor and if he needs to go back out he will get something out of his dresser. He goes through clothes like my daughter used to when she was a teenager, lol. We have also found recently that Seth performs much better when going to a social gathering, and this even means things like visiting family members, if he is told before he arrives, exactly what is expected of him behavioral wise. His tendancy to be brutally honest, literal, matter of fact, and void tactfulness, has led to some embarassing comments and situations if you don't.
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Registered: 07-11-2003
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 5:58am
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OMG! Do I know THAT one! One of the reasons my aunt currently can't stand me is b/c last year Jade was looking at her and said "Me, my mommy, and my little aunties (my sisters) are all skinny. How did you get to be so fat?" My aunt insists that Jade acts like that b/c I neglect her and refuse to teach her manners.

And another time Jade told my dgm (dearest grandmother....who's 80yo) "Daddy just said you were as old as dirt. But I don't think so, aren't you older than that?".

We've had some very LONG discusions with her on what tact is and when to excersize it......lest we here more comments like "That baby's not very pretty. My baby sister is prettier than that." (said to a proud new first time mom in the supermarket)

Peace,

Candes

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-22-2003
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 11:13am
Yes, one of my favorties. We live in an apartment complex that has a shopping center right next to it. Seth saw a man pushing a shopping cart that belonged to one of the stores and shouted, look, that man stole a shopping cart! Stop Thief! Being a police officer myself I had to try and explain to Seth that a person simply pushing the cart is not evidence that he stole it. Plus if he did steal it then shouting it out like that may prompt him to beat you to a pulp. Seth has that oppositional thing going so you can't say anything, good, bad or indifferent, that does not prompt a contrary remark from him, so it seems like a no win situation sometimes.
Avatar for littleroses
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Registered: 03-28-2003
Sat, 09-20-2003 - 12:34pm
I was reminded of a funny saying I heard:

"If a seven year old says you're ugly, you probably are."



It was something like that. Learning to deal with social sensitivities is something I still am working on myself, being NT.