Monday, October 26, 2009

Acknowledging your Inner Aspie

Today I once again pondered then genetic links with ASD. Every once in a while, I peruse the genetic links and question where Munchkins particular brand of autism reared its head from. It would be very easy to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of her blatantly aspie father, but I have to acknowledge my inner aspie too...

I have had numerous conversations with other parents of children on the spectrum and have come to the conclusion that we are all on the spectrum somewhere, with varying degrees of quirks and symptoms. Our children just have more quirks and difficulties that perhaps we as parents have.

As I sat driving up to see a friend this afternoon, I reached back several times with my hand to scratch the back of my neck and it was only when I went to rip the label off my new top, that I realised I have several tops at home with the signature two holes at the neck where I have yanked the label from the top when the sensation became intolerable and couldn't wait til I could delicately remove the offending fabric by unpicking the stitching... Ummm... interesting... I started to think deeper about what other quirks I might have.

One common trait that keeps emerging when talking to other parents is a resistance to change. We like to think that we are fine with it, but only over the weekend, Facebook changed its format once again and there was uproar about it! We don't like when we have to find our way again, we like consistency. Many of us found school years uncomfortable, felt out of place. We seem to have a routine of certain rituals we perform, from activities we do to the predictability of perhaps a Chinese on a Friday night. I personally cannot sit in the sitting room with the curtains all crooked or caught up behind the chair that sits at the window (my teenagers seem incapable of pulling them straight, preferring the yank and leave as it falls option), pictures not straight or a lack of symmetry can ruin my concentration until I am compelled to straighten the offending article... All of this though can been seen as typical behaviour. The one thing that makes me question my own aspieness though is my love of technology...

Is it normal for your pulse to quicken at the sight of a new brochure with electronic gadgetry advertised? I seriously feel my heart start to race as I step into a shop which stocks the latest gadgets and computers. I feel content stroking the keys of a computer keyboard and practically purr when taking a new object of my affection home... I HAVE to have the latest contraption that has been released, even if it means saving like crazy to get it. My favourite toy has to be the iphone, which fits perfectly in my hand, the sleek black casing smooth to the touch and the screen so sensitive you could almost blow on it to change page... What doesn't surprise me is that Munchkin seems to have inherited my obsession with all things electronic also, and would do any task set for 5 minutes on my iphone. What does surprise me is the ease in which she finds her way around the menus at her tender age. Her father also has an obsession with electronic gadgets so it makes sense that she has the love of them too... Apples and trees come to mind!

There was a great post recently on the Irish Autism Action Blog which included a link to online tests by Simon Baron-Cohen which would give you an indication of how strong your inner aspie actually is... Have a go and see how you score ;)


Jen said...

Oh dear, you could have been writing about me lol. I like routine, resist change, hate to have my sense of balance or symmetry offended (hate the alfa romeo with the number plate off to the side!!). Love my gadgets, esp my laptop, and anything computery. I kind of like my own company too, I am perfectly good company for myself :) Great post xx Jen. (ps, I have a stitch unpicker if you want a lend)

Anonymous said...

great blog petunia. iv noticed a few small things bout myself. hav to have alot of things in pairs or things have to be even.
my biggest one is how hard it is for me to make eye contact. i hav to look just behind someone and focus on that. must try that test lol

Lisamaree said...

While I have a lot of Aspie traits I feel they have helped me a lot in life. Being obsessive compulsive might cause problems, but being hyperactive means I get a lot done at the same time - useful when you are a working parent. I'm also very thick about human behaviour, and it means you don't feel held back. When people are trying to politically manoeuvre around you, you don't notice and just plough on successfully as it happens.
Conversely I can be a really good quiet observer. in that peripheral way that our kids have. It's just when they start acting up that I get confused.
And oh my god, how much do I love my iPHONE!! xx

Petunia said...

I omitted to mention in the original post that one of my major quirks at this time is my attraction to the indicators on my car... I changed it a while back and discovered that the new one has the perfect pitch tick tock and have found myself leaving the indicator on far longer than necessary when the roads are empty to fulfil my sensory need for this sound :)

Thanks for the comments girls, I will definitely have to invest in a stitch picker Jen! I tried long and hard to resist the iphone til you told me Lisa "if it were legal, I'd marry mine!"... hehe xx

Casdok said...

Our quirks make the world go round!

Jean said...

Love this post petunia...really tickled me!!! I have so many red flags I'm at risk of being invited to live in North Korea

Elaine Caul said...

Great post Petunia! Can relate to the itchy labels in clothes thing, obsessively cut the labels out of my clothes before wearing them. Just love technology as well, I'm a classic nerd in real life! xoxo

Kim Wombles said...

Great post! I did the Baron-Cohen tests (the AQ, the Sytemizing Quotient and Empathising Quotient back in June and put them on my blog;

I've always said and have it on Detritus, that what do you expect when geeks and nerds with issues marry?

Well, the answer in our family turned out to be three very wonderful, challenging, quirky children who need some extra help navigating the world because of sensory issues and unique ways of processing the world. :-)

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