First , it’s very important to understand the terminology used within the Autism Spectrum. Some people are steeped in the Autism/Asperger world and may already understand these things. Others may have a newly diagnosed child and this may be brand new. Here is a list of terms parents would do well to become familiar with: Glossary of Terms.
Now that we have that out of the way, I have been an Aspie all my life. Even though I have learned to mask much of my Aspie behavior, I am still an Aspie and I always will be. I have a 14 year old son who is also an Aspie. Although he was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD it was quite a few years later before he was diagnosed with Aspergers. My point is that I have been on both sides of that Aspie wall. I have been the misunderstood, misinterpreted, misjudged kid. And I have misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misjudged MY kid.
I thought it might help parents to understand what their students are thinking by sharing some misunderstood Aspie actions and behaviors:
What you are hearing/feeling:
What your Aspie is thinking/feeling:
Avoiding eye contact
I’m not interested in you or what you have to say. Or, I’m too distracted to pay attention to you.
I am listening, but I am too overwhelmed by making eye contact with you.
Avoiding physical touch such as hugs or kisses
I don’t love you so don’t touch me!
I love you, but your touch is too overwhelming for me.
Repetitive sounds, tapping, grunting, etc.
Oh, my gosh that is SO annoying, please STOP!
This makes me feel more connected to my body and calms me.
Insisting on sticking to a rigid routine.
Lighten up! Plans change, things happen. You need to go with the flow.
This makes me feel out of control and overwhelmed. I need to know what to expect. Please give me more notice before you change the plan so I have time to adjust.
Having a meltdown, tantrum, screaming fit.
Wow!! Where did THAT come from?? Calm down kid!
This has been building for hours and maybe days. I have just become completely overwhelmed and been pushed right over the edge. Just give me time to work this out.
Just so you understand, I am not making excuses for any of this behavior or saying that you should not attempt to teach your child to control these behaviors. My intention is simply to help you understand the thinking behind them. So hopefully, after reading through this list and checking out the links included, you now have a better understanding of how your Aspie thinks and tools for helping them to deal with those thoughts and feelings.