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 ;)
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